Prague - From now on, if you would like to reside permanently in the Czech Republic, you will have to know the Czech language. That's the message the Czech government is sending to foreigners seeking to get residency permits in this country.
Candidates will be asked to show basic communication skills in Czech.
"Tests are not supposed to be very hard, but they should prove basic knowledge," explained Education Minister Ondřej Liška to Czech Television.
The proposal was submitted to the government by Liška and Interior Minister Ivan Langer.
A1 level, basic knowledge
According to the proposal, foreigners asking for permanent residency permit will have to be able to communicate on the most basic level, designated as A1.
"It consists of five basic skills - listening, reading, oral interaction, individual oral and written performance," explained the ministry's spokeswoman Kateřina Böhmová.
In order to complete the test, aspirants will have to be able to use simple phrases to describe where they live and the people they know.
At the same time, the applicants will have to capable of asking basic questions and answering them. An ability to communicate on the most basic level, possibly with the help by a partner if needed, will be also required.
As for writing abilities, a foreigner is expected to be able to fill out government or other forms or to write a simple text on a postcard.
First try for free
The reading section will test whether a participant can understand common vocabulary and very simple sentences.
A more concrete form of the tests will be decided on in June or July.
"The tests will be given starting September. Thus, applications will have some time to study," assured Böhmová. Those who will pass the exam on the first try, will not be asked to pay for the tests.
However, next attempts will cost the participants 1,500 CZK (60 euro).
It is likely that language institutes will be responsible for creating the tests.