That’s according to Ukrinform referring to the Czech police.
Since the beginning of 2021, a sharp increase has been observed in the inflow of illegal migrants – foreign nationals staying in the Czech Republic without an official permit. This is more than double the last year’s number. In general, police have been recording a gradual increase in illegal migration volumes since July last year. This is due, not least, to the pandemic situation.
Of the total number of illegal migrants, it was Ukrainians who were exposed most often in the first half of the year. Police say 3,088 Ukrainian nationals were detained. The other major groups by nationality were citizens of Moldova, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Georgia.
The largest number of illegal migrants was recorded in Prague, amounting to a third of the total.
Most often, illegal migrants arrive in the Czech Republic by car from Slovakia, claiming during border control routine that they are allegedly traveling to Germany via the Czech Republic.
"Most of the cases concerned foreigners who did not fall under the exception that allows entry into the territory of the Czech Republic in line with the precautionary measure introduced by the Ministry of Health," said Renata Grecmanova, the spokeswoman for the Czech police for foreigners.
Exceptions allowing entry to the Czech Republic currently apply for those traveling for employment or business purposes, as well as to take care of sick family members, while regular tourism is currently banned. In all listed cases, foreigners shall obtain a relevant visa.
"Citizens of Ukraine and Moldova come mainly under the visa-free regime holding biometric passports and remain in the Czech Republic in violation of the protective measures of the Ministry of Health," the police said.
It should be noted that the Czech Republic considers illegal migrants those who come from third countries (non-EU) that are recognized as high-pandemic risk zones, meaning they are banned from crossing in, with certain exceptions.
According to Ukrinform, Ukraine is on the list of such countries.
Unlike most EU member states, Prague has not opened its borders to Ukrainians, despite a decision passed in Brussels.
Thus, if a Ukrainian who has legally arrived in another EU country for tourism purposes then decides to visit the Czech Republic, they automatically fall into the category of illegal migrants.
Therefore, Ukrainians must be aware that visa-free travel across the EU thus doesn’t currently operate in its regular form.