New expat centre for foreigners in the Czech Republic opens in Ostrava
A new centre providing assistance to foreigners coming to live in Ostrava or the Moravian-Silesian Region is opening on March 2. The Expat Centre will be based at Českobratrská 1888/14 in Ostrava’s city centre and it will be open from Monday to Thursday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.). It will operate as a pilot program for one year. After an evaluation, further steps will be decided.
The aim of the new centre will be to ensure that foreigners coming to work in Ostrava have a “soft landing” there. It will offer assistance in sorting out official documentation and formalities related to life in the Czech Republic. The Expat Centre will be run by the MORAVIAN-SILESIAN INNOVATION CENTRE (MSIC).
It will also set up a “buddy system”: the buddies – mostly expats who have already established themselves in Ostrava – will help new arrivals (and expats who are living here already) to integrate.
“It will be called Expat centrum Ostrava and it will help foreigners to live and work with us —to make use of their education and experience, or to start working in professions that are in demand in the regional market. The staff of the center will also help them and their families find housing, provide health care, or choose leisure activities,” Ostrava Mayor Tomáš Macura said.
Another key activity of the Expat Centre will be to build up a constantly expanding community that will offer services to foreign residents – with partners including companies, official institutions, organizations already offering expat services, expat clubs, universities and other educational institutions, health care providers, accommodation providers and more.
Relevant information will be published on the centre’s website and social networks. Online communication channels will include a blog about life in Ostrava, key information and instructions for new arrivals, an overview of events, expat networking, opinion surveys and a newsletter.
In the pilot phase, the Expat Centre will operate as a point of contact providing all its services in English. The main target group consists of qualified foreign citizens who want to work, study or do business in Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region. Ostrava took its inspiration from Brno, which has a similar center since 2010.
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