Czech Republic: Changes to the alien act (Unofficial translation)
On 13 July the lower house of parliament passed a series of amendments to laws governing the status of foreign residents. The amendments are meant to align Czech legislation to the EU regulation on strengthening the security of identity cards and residence documents.
Tightening the conditions for unmarried couples and distant family members
Until now, the Czech Republic did not distinguish between family members and so-called beneficiaries - a category which includes unmarried partners or people dependent on the care of an EU citizen. The interior ministry noted however that this was not common in other countries, and was not justified. The amendments now creates a legal distinction between family member sand other dependents.
As a result, immediate family members retain their rights and will still be entitled to temporary residence card and permanent residence card. However, lawyers note that the position of unmarried couples in which one partner is a Czech or EU citizen and the other is a third-country national deteriorates. They will not have an automatic right to enter the country. At the same time, they will receive residence cards valid for a longer period of time and will not have to prove the purpose of their stay in the Czech Republic.
Foreigners already residing in the Czech Republic will retain their current status.
Monopolisation of the commercial health insurance
Certain groups of foreigners with long-term residency in the Czech Republic do not have access to the public health insurance system and have to be insured by private insurance companies. The current amendments establish that this private insurance will, for the next five years, be provided only by the commercial subsidiary of the public health insurance company VZP. After this five-year period, foreigners would be able to choose among different private insurance again. Critics of the law, including the health ministry, the Czech Insurance Association and the Czech Chamber of Commerce, warn the move would create an unacceptable monopoly which would be in conflict with EU law, Lidove Noviny daily informs.
Rejection of an amendment to include children of foreigners in public health insurance
Some 12 000 children are among those not eligible for public health insurance. An amendment by several MEPs to ensure that all children of foreigners with long-term residency have access to the public insurance, however, was rejected. Only the amendment covering newborns up to 60 days of age was approved.
See the full amendments here.