Czech government to tighten benefits system for refugees to discourage welfare tourism

“The refugees will receive food instead of money to discourage people from coming here for money,” claims Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: was, Czech News Agency
Alexandra Kusminova pets her cat, named Mouse, as she sits on a bed settled in a restaurant that was transformed into a shelter for those who are fleeing the war from the eastern region of the country in Dnipro, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

The Czech government intends to tighten the social security system in the country after accusing some individuals of only heading to Czechia to receive refugee benefits, Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said on Sunday.

Due to the migration crisis, the minister wants to ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency. In June, he would like to push through an amendment to the law on refugees from Ukraine. In that case, necessary measures can be introduced without an emergency state.

“The first allowance will be tightened so that people would not abuse it,” Rakušan explained. “The refugees will receive food instead of money to discourage people from coming here for money,” claims Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan,” the interior minister added.

According to Rakušan, the welfare tourism of some people trying to obtain a financial contribution as refugees from Ukraine is a pan-European problem. He agreed with his Hungarian counterpart that immigration officials would preferentially check refugees arriving in the Czech Republic suspected of coming from Hungary and not from Ukraine.

The receiving of the additional benefits will also be restricted and the refugee will have to prove a long-term stay in the country. However, it remains unclear exactly how this will be policed. According to Rakušan, the government will discuss the proposal this week.

The interior minister wants to discuss the extension of the emergency state, which is still in force until the end of May, in the Chamber of Deputies. The government will discuss the request at a meeting in the coming days with deputies expected to vote on the proposal on Thursday.

“If we have a quick measure that responds, for example, to Roma refugees coming to the Czech Republic, and we need to change the rules of operation quickly, then a state of emergency is needed,” Rakušan explained in support of an extension.

The politician said that the government would ask for an extension for a maximum of another 30 days. According to the minister, the relevant law amendment on Ukrainian refugees could come into force in June — the migration crisis could then be handled even without an emergency state. Members of the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party have already announced that they will vote against the extension.

The interior ministry submitted an amendment for comments at the turn of April and May. It anticipates, for example, that Czechia would not issue visas and residence permits to Russians and Belarusians even after the end of the state of emergency.

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