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More than a third of a million non-EU foreigners now legally reside in the Czech Republic

As of September 2019, about 350,000 foreigners from outside the EU, the European Economic Area and Switzerland were legally staying in the Czech Republic

Prague, Dec 18 (CTK) – A total of 341,496 foreigners from outside the EU, the European Economic Area and Switzerland legally stayed in Czechia as of the end of August, according to the draft national plan for foreigners’ integration in 2020 that focuses on these third-country nationals.

The cabinet is scheduled to discuss the draft, submitted by the Interior Ministry, at its meeting on Monday.

The largest number of the third-country foreigners in Czechia, 140,000, were Ukrainians, followed by Vietnamese and Russians.

Almost two thirds of the non-EU foreigners stayed in Czechia based on a permanent residence permit.

“The fact that most foreigners stay in the Czech Republic permanently can be viewed as positive from the long-term viewpoint in connection with the integration process,” the document says.

It says the numbers of foreign children and students in Czech kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools and universities have been rising in recent years.

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Third-country foreigners’ drawing of Czech welfare benefits is minimal. Last December, it made up 1.5 percent of the overall welfare sum paid out by Czech authorities.

The draft national plan for foreigners’ integration in 2020 earmarks over 48 million crowns from the Interior Ministry’s budget for the integration of third-country foreigners.

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The five crucial areas it outlines in this respect are the knowledge of Czech language, economic and social self-sufficiency, sociocultural orientation in Czech society, relations between communities and the principle of gradual granting of rights to foreigners depending on their gradual acquisition of higher residence statuses in the Czech Republic.

Some of the mentioned integration instruments can also be used by citizens of the EU and people with the international protection status, the document says.

The ministry writes in it that the integration policy preferentially focuses on foreigners in vulnerable positions, mainly women. It emphasises the chances for women to join the integration activities and thus lower the risk of social isolation.

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Furthermore, the integration policy focuses on children and seniors.

There was a total of 566,931 duly registered foreign residents in the 10.6-million Czech Republic last year, which was 40,120 (7.6 percent) more than in 2017, according to the ministry’s annual report on migration.

In 2018, most of the foreigners with residence permit were Ukrainians 131,709, followed by Slovaks (116,817) and Vietnamese (61,143). The three countries’ nationals together made up over one half of all foreigners in Czechia. Third-country foreigners made up 59 percent of foreigners staying in Czechia.

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