For more detailed information on resettlement to the Czech Republic, a full country profile can be viewed here at Know Reset.
The Czech Republic officially started its resettlement programme in 2008 through a pilot resettlement programme for approximately 35 Burmese refugees from Malaysia. Around 40 refugees have since been resettled to the Czech Republic every year.
This resettlement programme is managed and implemented by The Department for Asylum and Migration Policy within the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic in close cooperation with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (‘UNHCR’) and the International Organization for Migration (‘IOM’).
Cases are selected on the basis of “in-country selection missions” as well as paper applications (dossier). Dossier selection relies on submissions by UNHCR, especially for cases submitted under urgent or emergency priority and if there is not enough time to prepare an in-country selection mission.
The legal framework for resettlement in the Czech Republic is similar to the one regulating refugee status in general. It is set down in Act No. 325/1999 Collection of Laws on Asylum (‘Asylum Act’, latest amendment entered into force on 1 January 2011). Article 12 of the Asylum Act states:
Refugee status shall be granted to an alien if it is established in the proceedings on the granting of international protection that the alien:
a) is persecuted for exercising political rights and freedoms, or
b) has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, sex, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion in the country of which he/she is a citizen or, in case of a stateless person, in the country of his/her last permanent residence.
Under the Czech Asylum Act, eligibility criteria for refugee resettlement could also be based on other specific humanitarian factors, such as: seriously ill persons, children, and women at risk.
Family Reunification for Resettled Refugees
Cases of family reunification are dealt with under the general family reunification provisions applicable to refugees who have been granted refugee status in the Czech Republic via its asylum procedure.
Under the Asylum Act, those considered family members are:
- husband/wife or partner including persons with same sexual orientation in registered partnerships. The granting of refugee status for the purposes of family reunification in this case is conditional upon continued marriage/partnership at the time before the refugee was granted refugee status;
- the recognised refugee’s unmarried child under 18 years of age;
- a parent of a recognised refugee under 18 years of age;
- an adult responsible for an unaccompanied minor or unmarried sibling of a refugee under 18 years of age.
Family members are granted a long-term residence permit upon arrival, with the possibility to apply for a permanent residence permit after five years of residence in the Czech Republic. Family members can also apply for asylum on the basis of their family reunification with the resettled refugee.
Sources: this information has been taken from official documents as well as the Czech Republic country chapter in the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.