MPs Nod to Tough Sanctions for People Smugglers in First Reading

Based on the new legislation, up to eight years in jail would be faced by the smugglers who would expose a higher number of persons to inhuman or humiliating treatment. Photo: Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan at a press conference, February 15, 2023 via

Prague, Feb 22 (CTK) – Tightening of the sanctions for people smugglers and facilitation of the Czech stay and employment conditions for selected groups of foreigners are the aims of the draft amendment to several laws, including the asylum law, which the Chamber of Deputies approved in first reading yesterday.

Apart from the five-party government coalition, the legislation was supported by the senior opposition ANO movement, while the opposition party Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of Tomio Okamura failed to have the draft returned to the cabinet for reworking.

The bill will be discussed by the lower house security committee, the deadline for which has been set at one month instead of the usual two.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (Mayors and Independents, STAN) said the bill, if passed, would make the crackdown on organised migration more effective. Based on it, up to eight years in jail would be faced by the migrant-smugglers who would expose a higher number of persons to inhuman or humiliating treatment.

Based on previous court decisions, a higher number means seven people at least. As a result, the amendment might help prevent further migrant waves coming from Asia and Africa, Rakusan said.

On behalf of the ANO deputies, the bill was supported by ANO shadow interior minister Jana Mrackova Vildumetzova.

“We must tighten the punishment for people smugglers and people-smuggling gangs,” she said, reacting to the government-proposed amendment to the Criminal Code.

Based on it, up to two years in prison are to be faced by foreigners for not respecting Czechia’s decision on their expulsion from the country.

Amendment to the asylum law

The amendment to the asylum law facilitates the conditions for the stay and employment of the foreigners who are holders of blue cards. This amendment is necessary in connection with the EU directive from October 2021, the government says.

Those eligible to apply for Czech stay and performance of a high-skilled job are to include asylum holders and seasonal workers. The blue card holders will also have a better chance on the labour market elsewhere in the EU, will see their pay bracket changed, will gain free access to the labour market after one year and a Czech residence permit will be granted to their family members.

The bill also introduces compulsory insurance of underage children with a long residence permit in Czechia, and cancels the payment of the financial subsidy to the asylum seekers who have accommodation outside asylum facilities.


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