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28. 1. 04

Resolution of the Czech Republic’s Government providing for integration of refugees in 2004

Related link: Resolution of the Government (full text)

State program of integration

Abstract: Stanislav Gross, the First Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior, presented a draft proposal providing for integration of refugees in 2004. The following priorities were set in the area of integration: Czech language training, Provision of housing, employment assistance (retraining).

Czech language training

As per the Asylum Act, the State Integration Program’s language training segment is implemented by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports via a non-governmental, non-profit organization. Language training is provided free of charge and ends with a final examination after which a certificate is issued. The length of the language course is at least 150 hours for group courses and at least 100 hours for individual courses, usually in the course of seven calendar months. Before the course, refugees take an entry test in order to assess the level of their knowledge of Czech and place them in an appropriate course. Because of financial reasons, individual courses are used rarely, only when group courses are not possible.
In the course of training, refugees may stay in private lodgings or in one of the refugee integration centers where refugees stay temporarily based on a housing agreement concluded between the refugee and the facility‘s operator. The agreement is signed for a pre-determined period of time (30 days) with an option of extension for up to the length of the language course. If – in the course of the course – the refugee is not offered an “integration apartment”, the housing agreement may be extended by the operator.
The offer of language training must be made by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports within 30 days after the resolution granting asylum enters into force.

Provision of housing

Based on the Asylum Act, the State Integration Program’s housing provision segment is implemented by Regional Authorities via one-off offer of housing to refugees with government financing. The amount of financing available to individuals Regions is set by the government based on quotas. In 2004, refugees will be able to select from two options. Under option one, refugees will be able to choose a place to live only based on an offer from municipalities of apartments owned by them, as was the case until now. Regions will inform municipalities about the possibility to obtain a non-investment subsidy from the state budget as a part of the State Information Program to:
- Provide housing (CZK 150,000 per refugee-renter and CZK 50,000 per each additional person who has been granted asylum and is to live with the refugee-renter in one household); and
- Develop municipal infrastructure (CZK 150,000 000 per refugee-renter and CZK 10,000 per each additional person who has been granted asylum and is to live with the refugee-renter in one household).
Under option two, municipalities may obtain financial assistance from the Regional Authorities in order to make tenant housing available to refugees by covering the cost, in whole or in part, of renting an apartment by refugees who have been able to find housing by themselves or in cooperation with non-governmental, non-profit organizations. The municipality will cover the rental cost based on an agreement between the owner of the apartment and the refugee as well as on an agreement to cover the net rental cost between the municipality and the owner. The apartments may be owned by municipalities, individuals or legal entities.

Employment assistance (retraining)

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is expected to propose specific programs to support employment of refugees. As a part of the first activity, which is to be implemented in 2004, staff of Employment Offices will undergo intercultural training in order to better understand the specific communication and other needs of a target group that includes foreigners and refugees. The training will be financed from the EU initiative EQUAL.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs pledged to carry out monitoring of retraining programs focusing on unemployed refugees throughout 2004.

28. 1. 04
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