Update on my previous post ‘More problems with Czech Bureaucracy’

Schengen Visa

Schengen Visa - Image in public domain via Wikimedia

As I feared, Anna has suffered the same fate as Karen. Despite going in person to the Foreign Police three times this past week, accompanied by a Czech speaking friend, she has had to leave the country today. She was eventually told that her application for a work permit & residency visa, submitted in Berlin on 21st January 2009, would not be granted because she had exceeded the 90 days she was allowed to be in the Czech Republic as a tourist.

Anna sent me a text/SMS message with this information early on Wednesday afternoon. I rang her straight back and invited her to join Sybille & I for a meal at Grosetto that evening so I could learn more about her experience with the Foreign Police and also say a proper ‘Goodbye’. We had an enjoyable time together and discussed her future plans. She is twenty three and single and has decided to do some travelling rather than return to the USA. Her initial plan is to fly to Croatia (outside the EU & the Schengen agreement) and spend some time on the beach. Whilst being fully in agreement with her plans, we did warn her that she might observe a few things on a Croatian beach which would surprise someone whose upbringing had taken place in conservative middle-America!

Anna also spoke of going to spend sometime in the UK which is something we also encouraged her to do. Not only would she almost certainly find work there as a TEFL teacher, it would also be the best place to re-apply for a work permit & visa to return to the Czech Republic. Whilst part of the EU, the UK is NOT part of the Schengen agreement. Staff at the London embassy of the Czech Republic would inevitably speak English, thus making the application process much easier for her. She has promised to keep in touch and I do really hope that last Wednesday is not the last time we see her.

Having listened to Karen’s story on Wednesday 29th April, two days before she was forced to leave the country, I wrote an email to the TEFL Course Coordinator at the Caledonian School, particularly challenging the clearly inaccurate information regarding work permits and visas for non-EU citizens that was still displayed on their website in view of what had happened to Karen & what was likely to happen to Anna. Much to my surprise, I got a reply the following day.

The TEFL Course Coordinator at the Caledonian School inevitably blamed the Czech authorities. “The Schengen/EU rules have literally been changing before our eyes this spring, and we have done everything we can to make the necessary adjustments.  The problems that we encountered recently were obviously unexpected, and we are extremely sorry for them”, she declared.  However interestingly, today when I checked their website, the wording regarding visas, as quoted in my previous post, had been altered and reduced to, “The Caledonian School has a full-time visa assistant to help you through the process of applying for a work permit and visa (residency permit)”. They do finally seem to have realized that they should not be making promises they clearly cannot keep nor encouraging people to arrive as tourists and weeks later apply for a work permit and permanent visa.

A big ‘Thank you’ to those who commented on my original post. I agree with both Mike and Sher, that many language schools such as Caledonian here in Prague, have a lot to answer for. To their credit, Caledonian did agree to pay for both Anna & Karen’s flights out of the Czech Republic. I suspect that the ‘tax and social security payments’, deducted from their pay packets whilst not yet legal employees, went towards paying for those flight tickets.

3 comments to Update on my previous post ‘More problems with Czech Bureaucracy’

  • Thanks for the continual updates on visas for TEFLers- obviously constant updates is what is needed with the situation there at the moment. I’m not sure that I’d agree with you on the UK tips though. Although there is plenty of TEFL work in the UK in the summer, if she doesn’t have an EU passport it will be no easier to get a work permit there than it will be in the Czech Republic. For Americans, I’d recommend Asia every time.

  • Thanks for the update…I’m really sorry to hear that Anna had to leave also. Karen had told me about her, and though I don’t know Anna personally, I sure wish her all the best in her travels and adventures!

    Yes…I was happy to hear that Caledonia did agree to pay for their flights, but still…something needs to be done about these schools–getting them in line with the laws here. Such a shame and a tragedy for those who are caught in that net!

    Have a great day,
    Sher :0)

  • Andrea

    I’m glad you wrote about this. I am set to take the Caledonian TEFL in August, and I’m getting worried about what will happen after. I’m going to law school in a year and have been looking into this carefully. Have you heard of any Americans who have gotten their visa on time?