Czech Ombudsman presented to representatives of state authorities his recommendations, which he formulated at the end of last year on the basis of an extensive survey of EU citizens living in the Czech Republic. Most of the recommendations are focused on areas of work and employment. Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček noted to the workshop participants that if state institutions translated his recommendations into practice, it would improve conditions for all foreign workers, not just those from the European Union. Ombudsman considers this topic particularly important in the context of the arrival of large numbers of people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Foreigners are a vulnerable group on the labour market, for example, because of their lesser knowledge of the environment, language barriers or generally less stable backgrounds in the host country. The Ombudsman's research has also revealed, for example, that the feeling of discrimination in the area of working life is related to the level of knowledge of Czech. EU citizens fluent in Czech were less likely to feel disadvantaged compared to their Czech colleagues even when Czech was not a prerequisite for their job - for example, if they also spoke English with Czech colleagues when working in an international team.
Although the research focused on the experiences of workers from the European Union, people coming from third countries likely face similar problems.
The Ombudsman reccommends that Czech authorities, with whom foreigners most often deal, should improve communication and, for example, regularly update their Czech and foreign language websites with information for foreign workers. Officials who regularly meet foreigners should be able to communicate with them. Ombudsman points out that although Czech is the only official language in The Czech Republic, officials can hold general basic communication in another language as well and, for example, explain to a foreigner what form to fill in, what documents to submit or what will happen next in their proceedings.
According to the Ombudsman, the role of the State Labour Inspection Office (Státní úřad inspekce práce) is crucial. It should, according to the recommendations, focus more on checks on equal treatment of foreign workers, continue to check illegal employment and also inspect employment agencies.
Representatives of ministries, the Prague City Hall and inspection authorities such as the State Labour Inspection Office (Státní úřad inspekce práce), the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (Česká obchodní inspekce) and the Czech School Inspection Authority (Česká školní inspekce) discussed the recommendations at a seminar at the Ombudsman's Office on Wednesday. They agreed that the topic of employment of foreigners and conditions for them is really urgent at the moment. Therefore, this should be matched by state financial support for activities related to the integration of foreigners at all levels - from work of the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy within the Ministry of the Interior, to language courses organised by, for example, regions, to education or employment. Ombudsman will continue to monitor the implementation of his recommendations.