Czech Republic stops accepting Vietnamese citizens' work visa requests for security reasons
On 18 July the Czech Republic ceased accepting applications from citizens of Vietnam for long-term residency for the purpose of employment and applications for long-term visas for the purpose of running a business. The Czech Foreign Ministry issued a press release about the decision on 20 July.
According to Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD), who has now also been entrusted with managing the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the reason for the move is the overburdening of the Czech Embassy in Hanoi and what he called a security risk. "The reason for adopting this measure is the long-term high number of such applications at the Czech Embassy in Hanoi and its overburdened capacity and also the risks that, among others, have been reviewed by the State Security Council," he said.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the priority for the Czech Embassy in Vietnam currently is accepting applications for residency for the purpose of family reunification. The Czech Chamber of Commerce says it respects the Government's decision.
"We believe the Government will seek a solution that will make it possible to clear up or eliminate the current problems with awarding visas, as was successfully done in the case of the Government program to recruit low-qualified and mid-range qualified labor force members from Ukraine," said Miroslav Diro, the spokesperson for the chamber. Security risks connected with visas for Vietnamese citizens were mentioned at the end of June in the lower house by former Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD), who is currently the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the legislature.
Zaorálek said on that occasion that there is a "bad situation" with the awarding of visas in Vietnam, that the State Security Council had reviewed the matter, and that in his view, Vietnam has become a security risk of the first order. "Vietnam is just organized crime," he told the lower house's Foreign Affairs Committee.
"When I was in Hanoi and Saigon, the Vietnamese apologized to me - the normal Vietnamese - for exporting crime to this extent to the Czech Republic in this way," Zaorálek told the Foreign Affairs Committee. He also said the main problem between the Czech Republic and Germany is methamphetamine production and the Chinese or Vietnamese gangs that produce it.
"The damages caused to the Czech Republic are on the order of tens of billions of crowns, I recall that even [former Finance Minister and current Prime Minister] Andrej Babiš (ANO) was shocked by the value of those losses to the Czech Republic," Zaorálek said. The Embassy of Vietnam objected to those remarks and the Czech Foreign Ministry assured Vietnamese diplomats at the time that they did not reflect the official position of the Czech Republic.
In connection with ceasing to accept applications for work visas from citizens of Vietnam, the Foreign Affairs Ministry reminded the public yesterday that employers' foreign labor force needs in the Czech Republic are now being covered through employment cards that can be applied for by citizens of Mongolia, the Philippines, Serbia and Ukraine. "A total of 24 000 employment cards are being awarded in 2018," the ministry said.
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