The amended Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals came into force in Slovakia on May 1 2017. The priority of this amendment is the transposition of European directives governing seasonal employment and intra-corporate transfers of workers. In terms of business immigration, worth mentioning is the introduction of a simplified procedure for obtaining temporary residence for the purposes of carrying out a business involving an innovative project.
As regards seasonal employment, there are two entry systems under which third country nationals may engage in seasonal work. The first is for stays not exceeding 90 days from the day of arrival in the Slovak Republic on the basis of a valid Schengen visa and work permit (or only in accordance with a work permit for third country nationals who are not subject to the visa requirement). Third country nationals are also allowed for to stay over 90 days up to a maximum of 180 days, on the basis of a temporary residence permit issued for seasonal employment. The condition for this type of stay is that the competent labour office in the location where the work will take place approves the work of the third-country national. The amended Act also introduces the option of combining these two systems, which means that a third-country national entering Slovak Republic with the intention of engaging in seasonal employment under a short-term stay permit of up to 90 days has the option of applying for a temporary residence permit for seasonal employment, effectively extending their stay in the Slovak Republic for a period not exceeding 180 days.
In terms of the cross-border allocation of employees within a group of affiliated companies, even before the amendment, it was already possible to obtain a temporary residency permit for intra-corporate transfers. However, this only came about following the transposition of the European directive under which the terms 'intra-corporate transfer' and 'group of undertakings' were defined and specific criteria laid down in respect of the requirements transferees must satisfy. The requirements are:
- A term of employment with the same employer or within the same group of undertakings of at least six months (for managers and specialists), or at least three months (for trainee employees) must have taken place immediately before the transfer.
- Managers and specialists must have the required professional qualifications and experience.
- Trainee employees must have the required university education.
- Employees must fulfill the conditions for exercising a regulated profession (for instance, the ability to repair technical equipment, or to manufacture medical devices).
An application for temporary residence for the purpose of intra-corporate transfer can only be filed at a Slovak embassy abroad. The relevant labour office participates in the process by issuing a statement indicating whether or not the vacancy may be filled by a third-country national. As opposed to the situation where a worker is being posted between two unrelated companies, the labour office does not assess the job market in the case of intra-corporate transfers. Importantly, this means it cannot reject a transfer request for reasons of adverse conditions in the labour market (for example, a high rate of unemployment) or the need to give priority to Slovak job applicants.
In addition to laying down the procedure for temporary residence applications for the purpose of intra-corporate transfers, the amendment introduces the new term 'labour mobility'. Mobility is deemed the transfer of a third country national within a group of undertakings from EU member states for which a valid intra-corporate permit has been issued to an employee to transfer to the Slovak Republic, and vice versa from Slovak Republic to another member state. In these cases, the transferee will not be required to apply separately for a temporary residence permit in the second member state, but will be entitled to legally reside and work in the second member state on the basis of the intra-corporate transfer permit issued in the first member state.
Also worth mentioning is the effort to support business operators whose business plans have been assessed and deemed an innovative project by the Economy Ministry of the Slovak Republic. The decision to grant temporary residence for the purpose of carrying on business involving an innovative project business plan is fast tracked and issued within 30 days, as opposed to the standard 90-day time period. For innovative projects, the proof of funds requirement to support business operations is reduced to 40 times the minimum subsistence income (approximately €8,000, or $8,500) instead of the standard 100 times the minimum subsistence income (approximately €20,000); and, the amount of after-tax profits of the company required for renewal of the residence permit is reduced from 60 to only 20 times the minimum subsistence income (approximately €4,000).
The primary objective of the amended Act is to simplify the mobility of workers transferring within multinational groups of undertakings and to reduce the administrative burden associated with work assignments in several member states. It is expected that this form of temporary residence permit will be widely used, especially in view of the continuing expansion of industrial manufacturing, particularly in the automotive industry.
|Daniel Futej and Dalimír Jančovič|
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