Unemployment benefit now available to NON-EU citizens

Recently, there has been a significant update in the practices of the labour office. This update is aimed directly at expats, namely at people coming from the countries outside the EU, holding either an employee card, a blue card, a research residence permit or a residence permit of an internally relocated worker.

This change of practices comes from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs’ new regard to an EU legislature supporting internationals who are looking for a job in the EU. The key component is that it gives them a great advantage.

If you fit into one of the above-mentioned categories, and are unlucky to lose your job, you may now apply for a registration as an active job seeker at the labour office. And, even more importantly, for the unemployment benefit. Naturally, you have to meet the standard criteria to be eligible, but, thanks to this change of practices, you can get monetary support from the state, which was not possible until recently.


Unemployment benefit: what is it?

Unemployment benefit is a temporary state subsidy for currently jobless foreign nationals who were previously employed or self-employed in the Czech Republic for a required period, are actively looking for a job again, and meet the criteria listed below.

The criteria the people need to meet are:

  1. A valid residence permit – an employee card, a blue card, a research residence permit or a residence permit of an internally relocated worker
  2. A history of economic activity in the Czech Republic with health and social insurance paid – 12 months in the last two years (the 12 months don’t need to be subsequent)


How much you can get and for how long you can be supported

Establishing the amount of your unemployment benefit works in the same way as for Czech or EU citizens and their family members. It depends on the reason stated in your termination agreement. It oscillates around 45-65% of your previous monthly salary, or stops at a maximum of 22 790 CZK a month (half of the official national average), whichever is lower.

However, unlike the amount, the length of support differs from the EU system. It depends on the validity of your residence permit while being unemployed. Therefore, employee card holders can only be supported for up to 2 months (as they have exactly 60 days to find a new job), blue card holders will be supported for up to 3 months and research and internal relocation permit holders will be assessed individually, as the length of their support depends on several factors. If your residence permit expires sooner, the monetary support will also be shorter.


When and how you should apply

You should apply as soon as you lose your job. Do not hesitate, do it as quickly as possible. You apply at the local labour office either in person (for Brno, make an appointment here) or via data mailbox (do not forget though that all documents containing a stamp or a signature of a third party need to be officially converted into the system through CzechPOINT).

The list of needed documents:

  • 2 forms: Žádost o podporu v nezaměstnanosti and Žádost o zprostředkování zaměstnání. You can either download them in advance or find them in hard copies in the lobby of the labour office for free.
  • your national ID or passport
  • proof of your residence in the CR. Nationals from third countries should bring their valid residence cards.
  • your Czech account number, in case you want your unemployment benefit sent directly to your account.
  • Termination agreement / notice to your work contract, in Czech or translated into Czech.
  • Zápočtový list / Potvrzení o zaměstnání – a document where your former employer confirms your previous employment. The document should be automatically given to you together with your termination agreement / termination notice.
  • Potvrzení zaměstnavatele pro účely posouzení nároku na podporu v nezaměstnanosti – a document where your employer states your monthly income during the period of the last three months. This document will serve as a basis for calculating your unemployment benefit. It should also be automatically provided by your former employer.

Please, be aware that the processing of your application will take at least a month, maybe more. The money will be sent to you retroactively (=even for the months you’ve been waiting for a decision). However, it may happen that you will not get the financial support for some time. It can even happen that you will only get the money after you find a new job.


Limits of health insurance

You also need to be aware of the fact that, according to our current information, this change has no impact on the law of health insurance. Unless you are an EU citizen or their close family member or you have a permanent residence permit, once you lose your job, you fall out of the public health insurance system and have to prepay comprehensive commercial health insurance, regardless of the unemployment benefit. We will monitor the situation with health insurance and should there be updates, we will inform you.


When you find a new job

Once you manage to find a new job, you are required to immediately inform the labour office and stop collecting the benefit. You should also inform your health insurance provider and re-register back into the public system and apply for a reimbursement of the rest of the money you paid for the commercial health insurance, provided that the contract for commercial health insurance allows you to. You can learn more information about this here.


What the labour office can do for you

The labour office can provide more help beside the financial benefit. They have opened a new service for international workers. It provides individual support in terms of basic career counselling, an overview of vacant job positions, and navigation of the duties and responsibilities you have when unemployed. They can even help you fill out the unemployment benefit application forms. And yes, they do speak English.

For EU citizens, this service is called EURES. You can read all you need to know about it here. For citizens outside the European Union, the same service is known as 3Z Up! Regardless of a different name though, the service works in the same way. You can find the consultants’ contact information here (look for Jihomoravský kraj and the city of Brno).

This is a positive upgrade of state practices, especially now that there have been lots of layoffs. Verify whether you are eligible for the support, and if you find out that yes, do apply at the labour office. Do not hesitate to use the EURES/3Z Up service either, they exist to help you. You don’t even have to be eligible for monetary support to use their advice.

If you want to know more about the unemployment benefit, including a detailed manual on how to apply, you can read our full guide here.

Also, there are some other obligations you have when being unemployed. If you want to know how to navigate residence permits and health insurance, and inform the necessary authorities, you can read about your responsibilities here.


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