Last year, the police identified 5,677 foreigners illegally residing in the Czech Republic, which is 685 more than in the previous year, according to the report on migration and integration of the Czech Ministry of the Interior.
It is the highest number since 2015 and the second highest in the last ten years. More than a quarter of illegal immigrants discovered in the country were Ukrainians, which is traditionally the largest group, according to Czech news portal irozhlas.cz.
Ukrainians have been the most numerous group of illegal migrants caught since 2008, with the only exception of 2015 when a large wave of Syrian migrants arrived in the Czech Republic. Last year, a total of 1,504 Ukrainians, 831 Moldovans, 356 Vietnamese, 323 Georgians, and 271 Russians were discovered residing in the country illegally.
These five nationalities make up about three-fifths of the total number of detained foreigners.
“Cases of illegal stay in the territory after exceeding the period of permitted stay was the primary reason, often associated with employment without the appropriate authorization. Despite the recorded increase in illegal migration, it can be stated that numerically significant routes of transit migration do not pass through Czechia and the overall rate of illegal migration is at a much lower level than during the migration crisis four years ago,” the Ministry of Interior commented.
Most foreigners traditionally stayed in Prague and South Moravia, Ústí nad Labem, and Plzeň regions. About half of the detected Ukrainians were detained in the capital, followed by Pardubice and South Moravian regions.
“Most citizens of Ukraine enter the Schengen area or the Czech Republic legally and exceed the permitted period of stay or validity of the visa,” the Ministry said. Moldovans and Vietnamese were also most often discovered in Prague.
Foreigners who stayed in the Czech Republic illegally were from 104 countries, however, only 3.5 percent of detained foreigners came from the European Union. They were most often Slovaks, Romanians, and Bulgarians. In almost all cases, these were persons who were officially deported and either never left the Czech Republic or returned illegally.
Last year, the number of people detected during illegal transit migration increased significantly year-on-year by almost 40 percent from 75 people to 266. Foreigners came to the Czech Republic mainly through the Slovak and Austrian borders and continued on to Germany. Most of them were from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.