Since the beginning of this year, employers and non-EU nationals have been confronted with changes in immigration rules when seeking work authorization in Slovakia. The changes affect the following points:
* Publication of the shortage occupation list
* Filing time frames
* Processing times
* Validity of residence permits
* Process for reporting vacancies
* Document legalization requirements
* Penalties for illegal work
* Housing requirements
Affected by the changes are those who are currently employing non-EU nationals or plan to do so and non-EU nationals who are working in Slovakia at present or would like to work in the country in the future.
A summary of the Act No. 404/ 2011 on the Stay of Foreign Nationals and Act No. 5/ 2004 on Employment Service can be found below.
So far, the Labour Office has always published the list of shortage occupations once a year (i. e. the list of jobs for which there is a shortage of labor, in sections with an unemployment rate lower than five per cent). This will now be done after every quarter of the year. It will be published approximately within the last month of the respective quarter.
The time frames when filing have also been changed. Instead of 15 business days, employers can now submit applications for Work Permits for specific groups of non-EU employees within ten business days, after having reported a vacancy to the Labour Office.
In some cases, processing times might be decreased. However, to avoid delays employers must be certain that all required documents are provided. The aim of the newly-introduced legislation is to improve immigration procedures also by implementing higher penalties in some instances.
There has also been a change in processing times for certain jobs in Technological Centers. Instead of the usual 90 days after reception of an application for a Residence Permit, the Foreign Police will now make a decision on applications for jobs at Technological Centers within 30 days. However, to really make use of the shorter processing times, employers are required to be stated on the Ministry of Economy’s list of Technological Centers, which is to be published for the first time by the end of January 2019. Moreover, the shorter processing time is also applicable to the Foreign Police, which will now also have to stick to the 30 days after reception of a statement from the Labour Office when regarding shortage professions.
The validity of Residence Cards will no longer be dependent on the passport expiration date. Although the validity can be shortened in cases where housing confirmation is due to expire.
All vacant positions, not only those that will be taken by non-EU citizens, have to be reported to the Labour Office by the employer. In case the employer fails to do so, a fine of up to 300€ can be imposed. If the employer is already required to report vacancies under separate regulations, this obligation does not apply.
Applicants for Work Permits or Temporary Residence Permits for Employment Purposes will no longer require legalized diplomas. When as a non-EU citizen applying for Single Permits or Work Permits, only the highest level of education will have to be legalized and confirmed in regulated professions.
Authorities have widened the monitoring of illegal employment violations from going back two years to now five years, due to the fact that employers require a statement of the Labour Office.
A statement from the Labour Office will be required for applications including Single Permits, EU Blue Cards, Work Permits, ICT Permits and also related renewal applications.
Once an application for a Residence Permit for Employment Purposes has been accepted (Single as well as ICT Permit), the time frame for the Foreign Police to request a Labour Office statement has been changed to seven days. However, it is of importance to be aware of the fact that the Foreign Police will not request a Labour Office statement until all supporting documentation is provided.
Furthermore, the requirements for housing documentation have been changed. Non-EU citizens are now obliged to confirm that the accommodations meet Ministry of Health standards by providing ‘municipality consent’. This is to be done when applying for Residence Permits for Employment Purposes and therefore for both Single Permits as well as ICT permits.
It is of great importance for employers to watch the newly-introduced legislation and review all internal processes. The changes are said to mainly have a positive influence on business and reduce processing times in some sections, in particular regarding jobs at Technological Centers. Due to higher penalties in some instances and especially for illegal work violations it is advised to keep the latest changes in mind.