Court Criticizes Czech Visa Applications Filing Practice
Brno, June 8 (CTK) – The Czech Supreme Administrative Court’s (NSS) extended panel said today it is difficult for foreigners to gain a date for the personal filing of applications for visas and long-time residence permits via Visapoint and they often seek the assistance of intermediaries.
The NSS sharply criticised the Visapoint system and the years-long practice of applying for visas and long-time residence permits at Czech embassies, particularly in Vietnam and Ukraine, judge-rapporteur Karel Simka said.
“Those who did not want to use the services of the ‘intermediaries,’ tried to get to ‘Kafka’s Castle,’ into which the embassies turned, using various creative ways,” Simka said.
He was alluding to Prague-born Jewish German-writing author Franz Kafka’ s novel The Castle of 1922, which according to one interpretation tells about an individual’s tragic crash into the incomprehensible bureaucratic machinery.
The NSS panel said it is up to the authorities how they technically arrange the settlement of applications so that they be capable of managing them with reasonable costs.
The system must be based on rational and fair rules and allow continuous as well as subsequent control of possible abuse, the court said.
It said until the system fulfils the required criteria, even applications not presented personally must be considered as duly filed unless the foreigner had the opportunity to turn to the office “in a humanly decent way in a reasonable time.”
The panel dealt with the question of whether a complaint filed by a woman from Vietnam is to be addressed to the embassy, or to the Foreign Ministry.
The woman said the embassy prevented her from personally filing her application for an employee card within the office hours.
The embassy did not want to accept the application because the applicant did not register a date in Visapoint beforehand. The woman claimed, however, that there was no free date.
The court said the complaint should be addressed to the embassy.
In another case, the panel was dealing with a dispute over the power to decide on the rejection of an application for an employee card. It was also filed by a Vietnamese applicant who was unable to get a date for the personal presentation of his application.
The NSS said the decision should be made by the Interior Ministry, not the embassy.
The NSS’s panel was dealing with the two issues simultaneously because it sees the core of the problem in the Visapoint system.
It criticised its weak points in the past already, the same as the ombudsman.
Visapoint was only offering a minimal free time “windows” for the personal filing of applications for a long time.
The NSS says the Foreign Ministry and the embassies in Vietnam and Ukraine were long unlawfully solving the excessive numbers of applications for Czech residence visas.
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