Czech Republic Identifies Citizens from Ukraine and Moldova As Most Likely to Overstay Their Visa

Prague, Czech Republic bridges skyline with historic Charles Bridge and Vltava river in the afternoon

One of the major problems that countries face when they welcome travelers from abroad is that some people often stay well past their allotted visa time.

This can cause a myriad of headaches for the hosting country and could result in some serious legal problems for the person overstaying their welcome.

To a large extent, European Union membership and the Schengen visa system has largely eliminated a lot of the paperwork associated with travel within and between states in the EU.

Yet that doesn’t mean that people don’t still break the rules, as lax as they are, and the Czech Republic has recently pointed to two nations’ travelers as providing it with some difficulties when it comes to Schengen visa terms compliance: the Ukraine and Moldova. Specifically, 1456 citizens from Ukraine overstayed their visas in the Czech Republic while Moldova had 825 people.

The main issue identified with the Ukrainian travelers is that they are not only overstaying their visa but also trying to actively find work in the Czech Republic – something explicitly forbidden by Schengen area rules. This kind of under-the-table employment situation not only robs the Czech Republic of tax revenue but also potentially displaces a Czech citizen or someone else who has the legitimate right to work in the republic from obtaining a job.

The main sectors targeted by Ukrainian citizens include construction and manufacturing, two industries that potentially provide well-paying jobs but which might actually be paying people less than market rate due to status within the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic also noted that the number of people classified as refugees that are using the country as a transit point has increased from 75 to 266. In 2019, the Czech police deported some 7067 people to keep the situation under control but rising numbers have authorities concerned about the near future.

Visas for people from Ukraine were abolished in 2017 and, since that time, some 33 million trips have occurred between the Ukraine and Schengen zone countries of which some 2.5 million were visa-free. The president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is encouraged by these numbers and sees such international linkages are vital to Ukraine’s increased standing in the international order. Ukrainians enjoy visa-free travel or e-visa upon arrival to 128 countries around the world which makes their passport the 40th most powerful out of 105.

Often touted as one of the major benefits of EU membership, the Schengen visa system is one of the world’s most robust interchanges between countries on the planet and provides a model for other regional linkages that are in their nascent stages comparatively. The benefits this kind of access provides to a country in terms of both economic and cultural assets is hard to overstate and it’s one of the major factors behind the expansion of visa-free travel around the world. 

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