How the Czech Republic welcomes Ukrainian migrants
Читати українською

During the war between Russia and Ukraine, one of the countries where Ukrainian refugees can find refuge is the Czech Republic. The country accepts Ukrainians even with internal passports and birth certificates.

I did not want to leave, and every day I found more and more new arguments why it made no sense to leave my hometown. And, perhaps, I would not have dared to try on the status of a refugee if one day my daughter had not asked me: “Mom, why do they want to kill us?”

I confess, at some point, sirens began to frighten me, especially at night. Then I went into the room to the child and held her sleeping hand. I curled up into a ball and prayed, "if he shoots, then let him kill us together, but not one by one." Escape to the shelter, which was far from our house, was impossible.

And so, the day came when I decided under pressure from loved ones. I'm lucky. I quickly found transport to Lviv. We spent two days in this city with the child, walking its beautiful streets. It so happened that my acquaintance with him happened right now and, probably, for me, he will remain so - motley in its combination of opposite things - a feeling of warm and bright gingerbread with icing, filling with itself, along with the smell of coffee, all the free space. He will remain for me: running, recording stand-ups and interviews in various languages of the world, with huge queues at pharmacies and grocery stores, condescendingly but kindly noting your attempts not to stray in a conversation in Russian, a little gloomy but fatherly kind, substituting your shoulder in difficult times.

Then there was a day at the Krakovets crossing, a crowd, garbage, the death of a man at the border control (the heart could not stand it), swearing, nerves, children trying to entertain themselves even in this situation, volunteers feeding soup and pouring warm tea, fires, blankets, missing suitcases, apathy, tears, despair, fear and hope that all this is a bad dream and just a little bit more and we will go home ...

Why the Czech Republic or what awaits a migrant here

A woman of about 70 years old, a Czech who has worked all her life making flour and bread in a neighboring town and who lives with us through the wall, says when meeting with me that “Putin is cool” and he will have to answer for his atrocities in front of everyone the world. She brings hot soups for my daughter and me from time to time; although I tell her that I cook myself, she says she wants to be at least somehow helpful in this war.

Her grandson spoils my daughter with fruits and cakes, and the mother of a particular child in the playground asked if we had food and needed help. Alice, in whose house we now live, due to her age, remembers the Russian language that she learned at school, but every time she talks to me, she tries to use Ukrainian words, which, as I understand, she now knows on her own.

In the Czech Republic, Ukrainians have been given free travel on public transport, and now it is enough to show the driver of a bus or tram a passport with a Tryzub, and there is no need to unfold it.

On the streets of cities, there are containers where the Czechs bring clothes and shoes, which they are ready to share with the Ukrainians. In addition, huge bales carry toys, strollers, provisions, clothes, medicines, and everything that may be necessary for a person who fled home without anything to help centers for Ukrainians.

In almost every locality, such centers are organized under the authorities. At the same time, many documents, announcements, instructions, and posters have been translated into Ukrainian, and places, where you can get practical or informational assistance, are decorated with Ukrainian banners.

And the Czechs, however, are trying very hard to help. They follow the news. Ukraine occupies most of its information space. They understand that our country may not be the last for Putin. They call him and those who support him fascist and organize a school for Ukrainian children with Ukrainian classes, so they do not forget their native language. Their capital is full of Ukrainian flags, and stickers with Ukrainian symbols adorn almost all state and municipal buildings; Czechs wear badges with the Ukrainian flag and dress in blue and yellow clothes.

Why the Czech Republic or what awaits a migrant here

The legalization of refugees in the Czech Republic was simplified as much as possible. It took me about half an hour to get a visa for a year, medical insurance, a consultation about possible employment and receiving financial assistance from the state. The latter in the amount of 2500 kroons per person can be paid in cash, but you can open a bank account and then the money will be transferred to the card. The second option is chosen by the majority of Ukrainians, since the Czech government allows for the expansion of financial support for Ukrainians who ended up in the country.

I would like to note that, according to various officials, the number of Ukrainians who arrived in the Czech Republic varies between 270,000 and 300,000 people, and the Czech Ministry of Internal Affairs has issued more than 200,000 visas.

Let me remind you that a state of emergency has been declared in the Czech Republic since March 4, 2022 due to the migration crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This decision was made in order to help the government, municipalities and regions quickly and flexibly respond to the needs of refugees and migrants from Ukraine, provide decent living conditions and create an opportunity to quickly adapt to new realities in another country.

An important issue when obtaining a visa is housing. If you have nowhere to stay, you will be offered options. And, of course, you shouldn't expect it to be a high-end apartment, just as you shouldn't expect it to be Prague. Today it is overcrowded, and those who could and wanted to join the program for providing housing for refugees have joined. You may be asked to “turn over” at a school gym, campsites, or other places that have been converted to accommodate large numbers of people.

If you rent a house on your own, you should be prepared for high prices. In the capital of the Czech Republic, the rent reaches 70 - 80 thousand crowns per month (92 - 100 thousand hryvnias). However, for unpretentious employers, there are cheaper offers. It is most profitable to rent not a whole apartment, but only one room or an attic and share housing with other people. This option will cost 3 - 6 thousand kroons (4 - 8 thousand hryvnias). Quite simple one-room apartments start from 7 thousand crowns per month.

In the regions, housing is cheaper. For example, the simplest proposals in the Zlín region - for renting a separate room and cohabitation with other tenants, start from 2.5 thousand kroons per month (from 3.2 thousand hryvnias).

In northern Moravia, near the border with Poland, you can rent an apartment with a decent repair at a price of 2.5 thousand kroons per month (3.2 thousand hryvnias). However, such rooms do not always have furniture and household appliances.

In the Olomouc region, rooms for rent start from 2.5 thousand kroons per month (3.2 thousand hryvnias). A separate apartment or even a house will cost from 5 thousand kroons per month (6.5 thousand hryvnias).

In the region around Prague - it will be more expensive. However, the infrastructure of the region allows you to quickly get to the capital. The cost of renting a room starts from 5 thousand crowns per month (6.5 thousand hryvnias). For the same amount you can find a full-fledged apartment, and sometimes even with a balcony.

In Brno, another popular Czech city, prices are slightly lower. Here you can already find a one-room apartment for 7,800 - 8,900 CZK per month (about 10,500 hryvnias). Although there are also more expensive offers - up to 17,000 CZK per month.

It is best to look for accommodation in the Czech Republic on local websites. However, realtors often place ads there, so you will have to pay additional commissions, and the price probably does not include utility bills.

Why the Czech Republic or what awaits a migrant here

It should be noted that the possibilities of exchanging cash hryvnia for Czech crowns in the Czech Republic are beginning to expand.

For example, in the center of Prague, some exchange offices have begun offering to exchange Ukrainian hryvnias for Czech crowns at a rate of about 100 hryvnias for 60 crowns, according to the most prominentCzech news agency CTK. Other exchangers offered a rate of 50 to 55 peaks for 100 hryvnias, depending on the exchange amount.

According to the current official exchange rates of the National Bank of Ukraine, the exchange rate for one Czech crown is set at 1 hryvnia 35 kopecks. Therefore, for 100 hryvnias, one could get a little less than 74 crowns.

The current official exchange rate of the Czech National Bank determines that 100 hryvnias cost a little more than 75 crowns - this is approximately 1 hryvnia 33 kopecks per crown.

As before, the most profitable is using payment or credit cards issued by Ukrainian banks in Ukrainian hryvnia for cashless payments. Also, some Czech banks, such as ČSOB and Česká spritely, even canceled the commission for withdrawing cash from their ATMs from payment cards of Ukrainian banks.

I note that in the Czech Republic, on Monday, March 21, a special law that regulates employment, social security, and access to medical care or education for Ukrainians came into force.

As a general rule, foreigners from non-EU countries generally require a work permit in the Czech Republic. But the document equates the migrants to immigrants with a residence permit, which means they can look for work directly and do not need to go to the employment office.

Refugees will also be able to register as unemployed. This means they will be provided with advice and retraining if necessary.

Now 342 thousand vacancies are available for a job search in the Czech Republic, of which three quarters are for people without or with primary education. About 13,350 positions are vacant for university students and 23,600 for high school graduates. Eight thousand eight hundred vacancies are in health care and 2,200 in education.

It is known that since January 1, 2022, the minimum wage has increased in the Czech Republic. It is currently CZK 16,200 per month (about 639 euros). However, it should be remembered that the salary in the Czech Republic is divided into three types:

"net" wages - the amount of money that the worker receives in his hands after all deductions, and taxes;

"gross" salary - how much the employee gets before health and social insurance is calculated;

"super gross" salary - this amount contains the "gross" pay + deductions and tax.

On average, employees in the Czech Republic receive about 25,000 Czech crowns (no more than 1,000 euros). But in a small company, the salary is about 20,000 CZK (slightly over 800 euros). Also, the compensation depends on the region of employment and profession.

Why the Czech Republic or what awaits a migrant here

Also important is the question, what are the prices for products in the Czech Republic.

There are quite a few supermarkets and hypermarkets in this country, and the most popular chains are Makro , Globus and Tesco . Average food prices in the Czech Republic:

chicken fillet 400 g - 79.60 CZK (about 104 UAH);

chilled salmon fillet 300 g - 89.40 CZK (about 117 UAH);

pikeperch fillet 300 g - 91.20 CZK (about 119 UAH);

chicken legs 0.5 kg - 64.50 CZK (about 84 UAH);

ground beef 750 g - 111.80 CZK (about 150 UAH);

1 egg - 2.99 CZK (about 4 UAH);

milk 1 l - 15.90 CZK (about 21 UAH);

white bread on sourdough 450 g - 32.90 CZK (about 43 UAH);

rye bread 1 kg - 29.90 CZK (about 39 UAH);

drinking water without gas 0.5 l - 4.90 CZK (about 6.5 UAH);

potatoes 1 kg - 14.95 CZK (about 20 UAH);

tomatoes 1 kg - 79.90 CZK (about 105 UAH);

butter 250 g - 34.90 CZK (about 45 UAH);

sunflower oil 1 l - 36.90 CZK (about 48 UAH);

rice 1 kg - 49.75 CZK (about 65 UAH).

Prices will go up in smaller shops. Sometimes the cost of goods in this case may differ from the market value at times.

Tea on the street will cost about 40 crowns or 52 UAH.

Useful links for Ukrainians traveling to the Czech Republic

Ukrainians can get help in the Czech Republic at this link .

Find out how to find help in the Czech Republic.

Why the Czech Republic or what awaits a migrant here

Prague. The attractions of this city are priceless. A couple of months will probably not be enough to visit all the important places, museums, and theaters. Like there are not enough words to describe how beautiful this city is. But he is lovely to me because he “hurts” even today; looking at how my blue-and-yellow banners fl over his main buildings, I feel he has become a little Ukrainian native. And I'll be back here, sure, when we win.

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