October 27, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part VI – Prague, CZ
Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross-border searches for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also a relocation.
Since the launch of our ‘Making the Move’ blog in June 2016, we have explored locations across Europe. From Dublin to Geneva, Zurich to Luxembourg, we have discussed the many reasons professionals are choosing an international move as the next step in their career.
Today, we mark the first in a three-part series focusing on the Central and East European region. This week we travel to the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. This will be followed in the coming weeks by Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia.
Welcome to the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is a sovereign state located in central Europe. It is boarded by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east, and Poland to the northeast. Czechia is one of Europe’s, and indeed the world’s, newest countries having been established in 1993 after Czechoslovakia was dissolved into two countries: The Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Czechia is a is a mid-sized country compared to other European states. It is spread across 78,866 km2 (30,450 sq. ml), which means it is similar in size to Austria and the Republic of Ireland. The total population is c. 10,000,000 with around 7.1 percent characterised as being “foreign born”. The principle ethnic groups in the Czech Republic are: Czech, 90.4 percent or 9.25 million people; Moravian, 380,000 people; Slovak, 193,000; and Roma, 171,000.
There is only one official language in the Czech Republic, which is unsurprisingly Czech. According to the Czech census it is spoken by over 96 percent of Czechia inhabitants. However, English is also widely spoken throughout the country, as is German and Russian to lesser extent. Professionals making the move to the Czech Republic will find it relatively easy to live day-to-day only speaking English; however, making an attempt to learn the local language is always advisable.
The Czech Republic is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, with the Prime Minister as the head of government and the President as the head of state. The parliament is bicameral, with the Chamber of Deputies (200 members) and the Senate (81 members). In recent years, the Czech Republic has witnessed a significant increase in the number of tourists coming from western Europe, North America, and Russia.
In 2004, the Czech Republic became a full member of the European Union. As part of the joining process the Czech government made a commitment to join the Euro Zone and therefore adopt the Euro as its state currency. Although the Czech government continues to assert its commitment to joining the Euro Zone there is no fixed date for join. Czechia continues to use the Czech Republic Koruna as its currency.
The Czech people are known to be welcoming, especially in Prague where Czechia’s tourism is heavily concentrated. Professional’s we have helped me to the Czech Republic tell us that it’s a great place to live and work.
Living and Working in Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, with a population of over 2 million living in the greater metro area and around 1,250,000 in the city centre. Prague is often referred to as the cultural centre of the Czech Republic due to its historical buildings, parliament, festivals, bars, and restaurants.
Although Prague is the largest city in the Czech Republic, this is relative when compared to other capital cities around the world. Spread across 496 km2 (192 sq. ml) it is comparable in size to Madrid, Spain. This means that it provides professionals with a relatively easy commute within and outside of the city centre.
As well as offering an exceptional work-life balance, Prague also present professionals with fantastic opportunities for career development. In recent years, we have witnessed a number of the Big 4 firms invest heavily in Prague and the wider CEE region. This ensures that opportunities will continue to be available in the long term.
Like most European cities we’ve explored, there is a healthy immigrant community in Prague attracting professionals and tourists from across the world. It is therefore highly likely that wherever you come from, you will find someone from your country of origin, making Prague a great choice for professionals looking to make an international move.
The Practicalities: Right to Work
The Czech Republic has been a member of the European Union since 2004. Therefore, citizens of EU member countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to travel, reside, or gain employment in Czechia. If you are a non-EU citizen the process does become more complicated. As always, however, we would like to point out that it is not impossible to acquire a move for non-EU passport holders.
Citizens from countries outside of the EU are referred to as “third-country nationals” and the restriction on their right to live and work are more stringent. If a professional is offered employment in the Czech Republic, the prospective employer must be on the approved sponsors list and must submit an application to the Czech government for the require visa and work permit.
The Practicalities: Cost of Living in Prague
The cost of living in Prague is high when compared to other cities and regions in the Czech Republic. However, when compared to similar cities across Europe it has an exceptionally low cost of living. In addition to accommodation, transport, food, you will be required to pay taxes and health insurance premiums.
The relatively low cost of living is extremely attractive to professionals looking to further their career outside of the larger markets such as London and New York. When living and working in the Czech Republic, one’s largest outgoing is likely to be accommodation. The average cost (per month) of a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre is 14,321.40 CZK (€530), whilst a 3-bedroom in the same location is roughly 27,021.50 CZK (€1000). For those professionals who prefer to live outside the city centre, you’ll find a lovely 3-bedroom apartment/house for about 16,212.90 CZK (€600).
All residents of the Czech Republic are required to pay income tax. This is currently levied at a flat rate of 15 percent on gross income with an additional 7 percent solidarity tax surcharge for individuals making over 48 times the average, which is currently 1,277,846.73 CZK (€47290).
Given the increase in tourism to Prague, there has been a great deal of investment in its public transport services throughout the city. It is also very economical with a monthly, unlimited ticket costing around 540.43 CZK (€20).
Another outgoing will be healthcare. Under Czech law you must be covered if you have a permanent residence or are working for an employer that has a registered business address in the Czech Republic. Healthcare in the Czech Republic is paid for on the basis of contributions from your salary (if you work for a Czech employer), and they are paid to a public health insurance company. Private insurance is of course an option too, and many professionals are members of private schemes.
Concluding Remarks: Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a city that offers Big 4 professionals the opportunity to advance their career, whilst simultaneously achieving an exceptional standard of living. If you’re committed to a move to Prague, or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles available, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.