What about support after returning from abroad?

Working abroad is becoming more and more popular, especially among young people. But what happens when you return after a few years abroad and want to claim unemployment benefits?

Mladá žena na pohovoru
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Support is paid by the country where you worked

The country of last employment is usually responsible for paying unemployment benefits and other social assistance. Citizens of the Czech Republic working in another EU country are in the vast majority of cases also insured there (we mean, of course, only legal and official work). Contributions to social security, health insurance, pension insurance and unemployment insurance are deducted from gross wages. This participation in the insurance system guarantees entitlement to social security assistance and benefits at a later date. You should therefore apply first to the country where you last worked. Registration, processing of the application and payment of benefits are all carried out according to the laws and customs of that country. At the same time, it isillegal to apply for and receive unemployment benefits in two countries at the same time. You should therefore be covered where you last paid social security contributions.

When you leave your foreign employment, always make sure you have all the necessary documents relating to your foreign employment (i.e. employment contract, termination certificate, payslips, etc.). These documents are necessary for registering with the employment services and for claiming unemployment benefits (if you are entitled to them in that country).

You must therefore apply for unemployment benefits directly in your EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. If you meet the conditions for that country to pay you benefits, you can apply for a transfer of these benefits to the Czech Republic after four weeks of being registered with the foreign employment office.

Tip: If you are a skilled bricklayer, flooring or IT specialist, you may be too small for the Czech Republic and are considering job offers from our foreign neighbours. What about the possibility of applying your trade abroad, for example in Germany or Slovakia, and what you need to do to do so?

How to transfer benefits to the Czech Republic

First, you need to register in the country where you were gainfully employed and then in the country where you want to transfer your benefits. The Czech Labour Office will sort out everything you need to do with the local authorities and submit your application for transfer of benefits. To register with the Czech Labour Office after completing your employment in EU, EEA and Swiss countries, you must request a European form (the so-called U1 form) from the relevant foreign institution. This then acts as confirmation of periods of insurance and employment.

The transfer of unemployment benefits can be granted for three months, with the possibility of extending it for a maximum of three more months.

You are generallyentitled to unemployment benefits in the Czech Republic under the following conditions:

  1. You have had at least 12 months of pension contributions paid in the last two years. However, the required period of insurance is not only acquired through employment, but also, for example, through caring for a child under four years of age, receiving a third degree disability pension, community service of more than 20 hours per week, caring for people with various degrees of dependence, or long-term voluntary service.
  2. You have filled in an “Application for job placement” and applied for support at the regional employment office.
  3. You are not in receipt of an old-age pension or currently in any employment relationship on the date the support is granted.
  4. You are a permanent resident of the Czech Republic.

In this case, you must also submit the aforementioned U1 form, certified by the relevant foreign institution. It must also be the case that you have maintained a so-called centre of interest in the Czech Republic during your gainful employment abroad (the centre of interest is decided by the relevant branch of the employment office).

Tip: Losing a job puts a huge strain on our lives, not only psychologically, but also materially and financially. How should one proceed to reduce the impact of unemployment as much as possible, what is one entitled to in such a situation, and how much unemployment benefit should one count on in 2024?

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Cross-border workers

Cross-border workers, i.e. people who work in a country other than the one where they live, are the exception that proves the rule. They have kept their residence, but only moved abroad for a limited period of time (e.g. their family remains in the Czech Republic, but one member works temporarily in France). At the same time, this is not the only option. They can claim either in the country of last gainful activity or in the country of residence.


A slightly different category of cross-border workers are the so-called pendlers. They regularly commute from one country across the border to work in another country, returning at least once a week to their country of residence. These are usually people from the border areas who commute to Germany, for example, in search of better offers. They apply for unemployment benefits again only in their country of residence, i.e. the Czech Republic. They are not offered any other option.

Tip: We live in the age of the sharing economy. We share apartments, cottages, cars and bikes. Under current laws, however, we can also share employees, although this option is not yet used very much. In our article, we look at when employers can take advantage of it and how to deal with employees affected by such a situation.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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