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Newbie in Prague / Contingency Plan
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stu-00bie



Joined: 28 Jan 2011
Posts: 6
Location: U.S. currently, Prague in March

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:52 am    Post subject: Newbie in Prague / Contingency Plan Reply with quote

Hello helpful denezins of the Czech Republic Job Forums!

I was wondering if any kind people out there could give me some advice about formulating a contingency plan should I find myself in Prague jobless with the 90 day deadline looming over my unemployed head.

My girlfriend and I are taking the TEFL Worldwide Prague course in March and this will be our first time teaching English abroad (we are both 25 years old and we both have degrees). I have heard numerous conflicting assessments of the job market in Prague for newbie teachers and while in a perfect world my girlfriend and I would land jobs shortly after completing the TEFL course I have realized that there is a possibility that one or both of us won't be able to land a job in the city. So this is where I would like to partake in some advice from the knowledgable posters on this forum: What would be a good back-up plan if we can't find jobs in Prague?

My girlfriend and I are not picky on where we want to teach really. We chose to come to Europe rather than Asia because we would figured we would rather take a chance and try and make it work in Europe than never try at all. That being said, if it doesn't work out in Prague, is there a chance we could find a job in one of the smaller cities in the Czech Republic? Brno or Plzen perhaps? If that's not a fair bet than what about in other Eastern European countries? And lastly, if we can't find work ANYWHERE, is going to Asia (China, Thailand, Taiwan, etc) a reasonable alternative?

TEFL Worldwide has a lifetime job assistance program in place for it's graduates and part of me wants to believe that will be enough to find us a job but the cynical side of me wants to have a back-up plan if that ends up not working out.

Any advice would be welcome and would assuredly result in good karma in some fashion or another. Thanks!
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 319
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always good to have a back-up plan. Unfortunately doing the course in March, you are unlikely to find many jobs available when you finish, but I assume you can't change the course date at this point.

Looking into smaller cities in the Czech Republic is probably the best option you have for finding work. Any city with a population over 100 000 is going to have at least a few language schools around, and some of them will be looking to hire part-time teachers, even in March. The real question is which ones will be willing to jump through all the legal hoops to bring on an American with the school year almost finished.

You could find work in Plzen or Brno, but should probably also look into Ceske Budejovice, Jihlava, Olomouc, Ostrava, Liberec, Hradec Kralove and Pardubice. Personally, I'd recommend finding work in one of the smaller cities over finding work in Prague, just because I think the lifestyle is better. Most employers don't advertise, so it's best to just show up in their school with a resume and see if you can talk to the owner.

If your 90 days runs out, you actually have to leave the entire Schengen Zone, which, if you want to stay in Europe, will push you to Ukraine or farther east or south. Wherever else you go really depends on you, and how much money you have on hand. Being in a country dramatically raises your chances of finding work there, but how much time can you spend moving from country to country without any income?
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Sigma



Joined: 07 Apr 2003
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard that recent TEFL graduates have been trying Ostrava and Brno. Apparently, they were able to find some work in Brno. However, I don't know if they had an EU passport or not.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8828
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as Asis goes, there are lots of jobs in Korea and CHina and those are both good places for newbies to start out.
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stu-00bie



Joined: 28 Jan 2011
Posts: 6
Location: U.S. currently, Prague in March

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses, and the link too!

What we will probably do is plan on spending a few weekends visiting the other cities in the Czech Republic during/right after our TEFL course is finished in hopes of landing an interview and then job once we are certified. I think my gf and I would prefer to live and work in a smaller city in Czech. Hopefully the job assistance aspect of the TEFL course will help us out as well.

With all this visa business for Non-EU citizens, does it help to use one of those agencies that aid with the visa process? Do employers work with them often? Will employers be more willing to jump through the hoops for us if we have the aid of one of these agencies/services?

Thank you in advance for your advice!
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 319
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know anyone who's worked with a visa agency, so I can't really give you any info on that. I sent you a pm with some more detailed info on working outside of Prague.
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Chris Westergaard



Joined: 14 Mar 2006
Posts: 208
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not just invest in a Zivno. You'll find work and you'll make your money back in the first 2 months.
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stu-00bie



Joined: 28 Jan 2011
Posts: 6
Location: U.S. currently, Prague in March

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:58 am    Post subject: Zivnos Reply with quote

smithrn1983- Thanks for the very helpful PM, we will definitely be checking out those schools and looking into Zivnos

Chris & smithrn- I'm not too clear on the pros and cons of a Zivno--or for that matter, what a Zivno even is. If either of you don't mind, could you give a brief breakdown of all things Zivno to yet another newb? I would be interested in the cost, obstacles in obtaining one, what I would need to qualify/apply, how useful it is, and any other pros and cons you can think of. I hope that this hasn't been explained on these forums before...but if it has, sorry for the repeat question.

As always, many thanks and appreciation for your replies and willingness to help out!
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stu-00bie



Joined: 28 Jan 2011
Posts: 6
Location: U.S. currently, Prague in March

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:16 am    Post subject: proof of clean criminal record Reply with quote

Btw, do we need to obtain some sort of letter from, I'm assuming the local police dept., stating that we have a clean criminal record? I've lurked on this board for some time and remember reading something about that but wasn't 100% sure if it was necessary or not. Thanks again!
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 319
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A zivno, or zivnostensky list, is a license to operate a business in the Czech Republic. The pros of having one are that you can work anywhere for anyone, as long as it's in the line of work mentioned on your zivno (normally language education). If you want to add another line of work to your zivno (say translation) the process is fairly simple.

The downside is that you bear all of the costs of obtaining a zivno and visa. When I was in CR, the total cost was around $400 including the ICO (like a tax i.d. number). You don't pay this all at once; it's spread out over 2-3 months, or maybe longer depending on the circumstances.

The process is 1)Apply for a zivno at the municipal office 2)Take proof of application for a zivno to a consulate abroad to apply for a visa 3)Pick up visa 4)Take visa to the municipal office to pick up your zivno 5)Take your zivno to the regional court and get your ICO.

To get your zivno and visa, you'll need both application forms, letters from Czech landlords saying you can live and/or conduct business on their property (your primary employer should give you these documents), proof of medical insurance (you can purchase this in CR), and proof of 120,000CZK in a foreign bank account. When I was there a credit card was sufficient. I think you also need a copy of your birth certificate.
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 319
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:21 am    Post subject: Re: proof of clean criminal record Reply with quote

stu-00bie wrote:
Btw, do we need to obtain some sort of letter from, I'm assuming the local police dept., stating that we have a clean criminal record? I've lurked on this board for some time and remember reading something about that but wasn't 100% sure if it was necessary or not. Thanks again!


This is from the Czech embassy's website

7. Criminal History Background

An Affidavit confirming that you have never been indicted and sentenced for a felony of any kind.
If you are submitting your application by mail, your signature must be notarized by a Notary Public. If you come to the Embassy in person, you will have to sign the Affidavit here.

In addition:
US citizens: If you have lived in any other country besides the US for 6 months or longer in the previous three years, you are required to submit a Criminal History Record issued by that country.
Non US citizens: You need to submit a Criminal History Record from the country of your nationality.
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stu-00bie



Joined: 28 Jan 2011
Posts: 6
Location: U.S. currently, Prague in March

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks smithrn! I appreciate the replies

Just for clarification, the zivno is commonplace for teachers coming from the U.S.? And the alternative to obtaining a zivno would be that some kind-hearted employer out there would take care of all the dirty work and cost associated with obtaining a visa for you? If that's the case, it seems employers are much more likely to want their potential teachers to just go get a zivno. Is it reasonable to expect that our primary employer would point us in the right direction or help in some fashion with this task? Also, what if we are in the process of obtaining the zivno and our 90 days runs out? Will proof that we are in the middle of obtaining a zivno be adequate to allow us to stay in the country?

Phew, sorry for the barrage of questions. Thanks again for all your help and willingness to share your salty-vet wisdom.
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 319
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stu-00bie wrote:
thanks smithrn! I appreciate the replies

Just for clarification, the zivno is commonplace for teachers coming from the U.S.? And the alternative to obtaining a zivno would be that some kind-hearted employer out there would take care of all the dirty work and cost associated with obtaining a visa for you? If that's the case, it seems employers are much more likely to want their potential teachers to just go get a zivno.


Exactly.

stu-00bie wrote:

Is it reasonable to expect that our primary employer would point us in the right direction or help in some fashion with this task?


Yes, completely reasonable. They usually also accompany you to all the necessary offices, and help you fill out application forms, etc.

stu-00bie wrote:

Also, what if we are in the process of obtaining the zivno and our 90 days runs out? Will proof that we are in the middle of obtaining a zivno be adequate to allow us to stay in the country?


Unfortunately when I left, you could still make a visa run to Germany for the weekend. I'll leave this one for those on the ground now to answer.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9132
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Traditionally, so long as the paperwork's been filed, you should be relatively safe. In reality, on a case-by-case basis, who knows? YOu'd be technically illegal for a short time, but the chances of it being a problem are PROBABLY slim...

I've never heard of a case where someone had paperwork in process and was penalised for overstaying or working without a visa, but technically I suppose it could happen.
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maastricht



Joined: 11 Feb 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Traditionally, so long as the paperwork's been filed, you should be relatively safe. In reality, on a case-by-case basis, who knows? YOu'd be technically illegal for a short time, but the chances of it being a problem are PROBABLY slim...


I'm concerned about the change in jurisdiction from the Foreign Police to the Ministry of the Interior and whether this is going to make it more difficult. I have been researching visa denials but I haven't found enough anecdotal evidence post-1/2011 to make a determination. Hopefully more post-1/2011 stories will appear on the internet.
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