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Working in Prague
Find out how to get a job and work in Prague
With its thriving economy, Prague — one of Europe’s most beautiful cities — is an appealing city for many expats. Our guide has all the essential information for those wanting to work in the Czech capital — from work permits, to business etiquette, to taxation and more.
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Employment in Prague
At a Glance:
- The service sector is the most significant in Prague, employing around 80% of the city’s working population.
- English teachers are highly sought after in Prague, in schools as well as businesses where English is becoming more and more essential.
- Although English is widely spoken in cities, locals still appreciate any attempt at speaking their language — opportunities to learn are widely available in language schools.
- EU citizens do not require a work permit for jobs in the Prague, while non-EU citizens need to apply for a work permit before they can obtain their long-term employment visa.
As the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is the major economic and financial center of the country, accounting for roughly a quarter of the country’s GDP. The city’s central location within Europe has made it a popular destination among foreign investors. Most multinational companies operating in the Czech Republic have their headquarters in Prague, as do many of the largest Czech companies.
Another plus for those who are considering working in Prague is the low unemployment rate. In recent years, the Czech unemployment rate has steadily decreased and as of June 2017 was at 2.9% of the total labor force — much lower than the EU-member-state average of 8.2%.
The Main Industries in Prague
In recent decades, Prague has turned from an industrial city to one with a modern service and R&D-based economy. During this process, local businesses have been very successful in attracting both foreign and domestic investment.
Nowadays, the service sector is the city’s growth engine and employs around 80% of the workforce. The most important areas are the financial sector as well as trade-related services. Another increasingly relevant industry is tourism.
The automobile, pharmaceutical, and electrical engineering industries are still important for the city. And, yes, there are still some breweries, too — although their economic significance is marginal.
Which Professions Give the Highest Returns?
Job opportunities for expats exist, especially for those with finance, IT, and business development skills. These are also the fields which boast the highest average salaries: though the average monthly wage in the Czech Republic is 27,200 CZK (approx. 1,200 USD), expats in these sectors all typically earn more.
There are also many opportunities for foreign language teachers in Prague — although the monthly wage here will be closer to an average 25,000 CZK. For more information, check the section on teaching English below.
Prague Job-Search Tools
There are several ways to find a job in Prague. Since multinational businesses are generally the most likely to hire expats and offer competitive salaries, it’s a good idea to start your search there. You could also check your national chamber of commerce or diplomatic representation in Prague for a list of companies from your home country with offices in Prague.
Alternatively, you might want to check out some of the following websites for job offers in Prague:
If possible, consider taking a short preliminary trip to Prague for a couple of days to go job hunting. Depending on the type of position you are looking for, this might be the most effective way to find the right job for you.
Prague: Calling All Language Teachers
As in many other countries, working in Prague teaching English (or another language) is a popular option for those who would like to experience the country, its culture, and its people. In Prague, native English and German speakers are in particularly high demand.
The majority of jobs at private language schools or companies require a degree as well as either sufficient teaching experience or a TEFL certificate. Alternatively, private language tuition can be a profitable line of work.
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Business Info for Expats in Prague
Work Permits for Non-EU Citizens
Other than EU nationals and citizens of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, anyone wishing to take up employment in Prague has to obtain a work permit. The employer has to make the first step by registering the vacancy at the Labor Office in Prague. Work permits are issued only for a particular position and a pre-determined period. The vacancies open to blue card applicants and those for employee card applicants are organized in an online portal.
Processing work permit applications usually takes around four weeks but can take up to two months. Expats moving to Prague to take up employment need to successfully apply for a work permit before a long-term employment visa can be issued.
Work permits for a transfer to a Prague branch of a foreign company are slightly easier to obtain than those for positions at Czech companies. Czech employers are required to prove that a position cannot be filled by a Czech or EU citizen, before a work permit for a third country national is issued.
In addition to regular visas and work permits, the Czech Republic also offers two kinds of long-term permits which serve both purposes: the blue card and the employee card. For more information, please see our article on moving to the Czech Republic.
EU Citizens: Come On In!
Thanks to the free movement of workers within the European Union, citizens of other EU member states do not need a work permit for jobs in the Czech Republic. They are, however, required to register with the local Foreigners’ Police Inspectorate after 30 days.
Those intending to stay more than three months no longer need to apply for the right of residence in Prague, but they are eligible for a certificate of temporary residence should they want or need one. To get this certificate, expats have to prove that they possess sufficient funds to support themselves, have adequate health insurance, and have accommodation.
While working in Prague, expats are subject to Czech income tax. Those who stay in the country for 183 or more days per calendar year are considered residents for tax purposes. Tax residents pay income tax on their worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed only on income sourced from the Czech Republic. There is a flat income tax rate of 15%.
The Czech Republic has double taxation treaties with over 80 countries worldwide. These treaties make sure that nationals from these countries are not taxed on the same income twice.
From Pensions to Unemployment
The Czech Republic has a fairly extensive social security system. It includes old-age pensions, sickness and maternity benefits, unemployment benefits, and public health insurance. Additionally, there is statutory accident insurance.
Benefits are financed through a system of mandatory social security contributions, at a rate of 45% of an employee’s gross salary. Both the employer and the employee must contribute, although the employer bears the bulk of the cost (employees pay 11% of their gross salary, while their employers contribute 34%). For possible exemptions for short-term workers, check the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
Language and Business Etiquette in Prague
The Czech Language
Only around 12 million people worldwide speak Czech — the vast majority of which live in the Czech Republic. Often, Czech citizens will speak a foreign language, the most common being English or German. In fact, if you stay in Prague, it is perfectly feasible to get by without speaking a word of Czech.
In the business world, English is usually sufficient if you work for one of the multinationals in Prague. For positions in Czech companies, however, a sound knowledge of Czech is likely to be essential.
Czech: A Difficult Yet Useful Language
Any attempt at learning their difficult language is generally met with enthusiasm by locals. Speaking at least some Czech will definitely give you a leg-up with your Czech neighbors and colleagues. Also, if you plan to visit some of the Czech Republic’s more rural regions and smaller towns where English is less widely spoken, a basic knowledge of Czech will be helpful.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn Czech in Prague. Many language schools offer Czech classes for foreigners, and private lessons are also available. It is a good idea to ask your fellow expats for references, as the quality of language classes may vary.
Local Customs and Etiquette
When you are visiting someone at home in the Czech Republic, never show up empty handed: it is polite to bring some chocolate, flowers, or a bottle of wine. If you are invited to a formal dinner in someone’s home, it is common to take off your shoes inside the house. Usually, there are slippers available for guests.
Czechs tend to be rather formal and reserved. The public and private spheres of life are strictly separated. Getting to know people may take a while. Similarly, people are rarely on a first-name basis with people who are not extended family or close friends, so always wait to be invited to use a coworker’s or business contact’s first name.
Business Etiquette: Timing Is Key
Business is conducted relatively slowly in the Czech Republic. Initial meetings are often intended just to get acquainted with each other. Only in later meetings, once your Czech partners have had a chance to get to know you, will decisions be made.
To get off to a good start, always be on time for meetings; being late is considered extremely impolite. Appointments should always be made well in advance; avoid Friday afternoons, however, as people from Prague may already be on their way to a weekend at their chata — a cottage in the surrounding countryside.
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