Temporary Protection for Ukraine’s Refugees – Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 of 4 March 2022
On the 4th of March the Council of the European Union made a historic decision by implementing for the first time a special safeguard procedure regarding refugees - also known as Temporary Protection Directive. What does Temporary Protection mean in practice, and who can benefit from it, apart from Ukraine's citizens?
Temporary Protection constitutes a specific mechanism incorporated in Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001, on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof.
Interestingly, this solution has never been activated before (even in the case of refugees from Syria or Afghanistan).
However, current situation in Ukraine, which was triggered by a military conflict, resulted in a mass escape of people on an unprecedented scale. Consequently, it is highly probable that the European Union will soon face a massive influx of displaced people from Ukraine, who will be unable to return due to Russia’s military aggression. Therefore, the Commission decided to activate special protective measures to support the refugees.
Temporary Protection - primary postulates
To begin with, it is worth explaining what is meant by the term ‘temporary protection’ and what are its fundamental postulates. According to the clarification included in Directive 2001/55/EC, temporary protection constitutes an emergency procedure that is activated in the event of a threat of the occurrence, or an actual case of mass influx of displaced persons from third countries, who are unable to return to their country of origin.
The aim is to grant an immediate temporary protection for those people, especially if there is a risk that the asylum system may not be able to cope with such a number of refugees without negative consequences that can cause further detrimental effects on displaced persons looking for help and protection.
Temporary protection - possible beneficiaries?
By the decision of the EU legislature, temporary protection will involve Ukraine’s citizens residing in Ukraine, who have been displaced on or after 24 February 2022, as a result of the military invasion by Russian armed forces. Third country nationals who were granted refugee status in Ukraine before 24 February 2022, or benefited from other equivalent safeguard solutions, can also benefit from temporary protection. Furthermore, the Commission notes the necessity to preserve the unity of families, in order to avoid disparate statuses among members of one family. As a result, the temporary protection is activated also for the family members of the beneficiaries encapsulated in the aforementioned categories. They will be covered by temporary protection as long as they indeed resided in Ukraine at the period of time when circumstances leading to the mass influx of displaced people occurred.
In this case, the eligible family members of a Ukrainian citizen (or a person benefiting from international protection in Ukraine) include:
- the spouse,
- the unmarried partner in a stable relationship (if the legislation or practice of the Member State concerned treats unmarried couples in a way comparable to married couples),
- the underage and unmarried children of the person, or of his/her spouse, regardless of whether they were born in or out wedlock, or adopted,
- other close relatives who lived together as part of the family unit at the time of the circumstances surrounding the mass influx of displaced persons, and who were wholly or mainly dependent on a person.
Who else can be covered by temporary protection?
Moreover, the regulations postulated in the decision allow to apply temporary protection to other people, including stateless persons or nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, who were legally residing in Ukraine and are currently unable to return in safe and durable conditions to their country or region of origin. However, it should be emphasized that not every refugee from Ukraine can benefit from the discussed procedure. Under Directive 2001/55/EC, the following persons are excluded from the possibility to invoke the provisions of temporary protection:
- suspected of committing:
- a crime against peace,
- a war crime or a crime against humanity,
- a serious non-political crime,
- acting contrary to the purpo
- posing threat to security in the host EU country.
- ses and principles of the United Nations.
What rights do people covered by temporary protection have?
People covered by temporary protection have numerous rights. These include:
- possibility to engage in employed or self-employed activities,
- access to educational opportunities for adults, vocational training and practical workplace experiences
- suitable accommodation,
- social welfare and means of subsistence, as well as medical care,
- access to the education system for people under 18, under the same conditions as nationals of the host Member State,
- in the event that separate family members enjoy temporary protection in different Member States of the EU, or some family members are not yet in a Member State, they shall be granted an opportunity to reunite in one country,
- application for asylum.
How long will the protection period last?
According to Directive 2001/55/EC, temporary protection is initially planned for a period of one year (although, it may be extended further to 2 years).
As it results from EU legislation, the Member States can introduce the Council implementing decision or ensure an adequate protection provided by national law.
Currently, we are waiting for the acceptance of the Act concerning the support for refugees from Ukraine, which was announced by the government. According to media reports, a proposal for the Act is being completed and should be submitted to the parliament within the next week.
At this moment, there are rules concerning the way foreigners can benefit from temporary protection in Poland. They are regulated by the Act of 13 June 2003 on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland (Art.106). It seems that the regulations that are currently being proceeded will constitute a complement to the ones that already exist. Obviously, with regard to the particular situation that we have been dealing with for over a week.
This naturally applies to the particular situation that we have been experiencing for over a week now.
Unusual times call for unusual solutions. In most cases their introduction is time-consuming and requires considerable investment. It turns out, however, that there are options in Polish law that perfectly match today's extreme circumstances. We are talking about "Poland. Business Harbour", a special program dedicated to among others citizens of Ukraine and Belarus.
"Poland. Business Harbour " - what is it?
“Poland. Business Harbour” is a government program in force from 2020. Initially, it covered only citizens of Belarus, but from July 2021, it can also be used by residents of Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Moldova and Armenia. The program is intended for specialists from the IT sector, start-ups and small, medium and large enterprises. It enables trouble-free relocation of the company to the territory of Poland.
“Poland. Business Harbour” program also includes support in the relocation of employees and their families, including making it easier for them to study in Polish schools and helping them learn Polish.
How does "Poland. Business Harbour " works?
“Poland. Business Harbour ” is a package of solutions dedicated to specialists in the modern technology industry who are considering the possibility of transferring their business to Poland, establishing a start-up related to the IT industry in Poland or planning to take up employment in this industry in Poland.
One of the elements of the package is also support in the form of connecting entrepreneurs with investors and awarding grants for research and development activities.
To use it, one of the following conditions must be met:
- technical education in the field of IT confirmed by a document or documented minimum one-year work experience in the IT industry,
- possession of a document confirming the willingness to be employed by one of the partner companies listed on the website: https://www.gov.pl/web/poland-businessharbour/specjalista-it#.
Polish Business Horbour Visa - what is it and how it works?
One of the many benefits of “Poland. Busines Harbour ” program is the possibility to apply for a Business Harbour Visa. This visa is subject to a special accelerated procedure. Within a few weeks, a foreigner should be able to legally take up employment in Poland or start a business on the same terms as Polish citizens.
The greatest benefits of the Polish Business Harbour Visa include:
- the possibility of setting up a business on the same terms as Polish citizens
- exemption from the obligation to have a work permit during the visa validity period
- the ability to freely change working and employment conditions
- issuing a visa also for members of the immediate family of a foreigner
- freedom to travel to other Schengen states.
How to apply for Polish Harbor Business Visa?
In order to obtain the Polish Business Harbour Visa, it is necessary to correctly fill in and submit the visa application.
– completed and signed application,
– current biometric photo,
– passport – issued within the last 10 years, valid for at least three months from the date of the planned return, with at least two blank pages for visas,
– medical insurance for the period of validity of the visa (minimum insurance amount of EUR 30,000),
– documentation confirming the purpose of the trip:
- if you are an IT specialist – a document confirming your technical education in the field of IT or at least one year of experience in the IT industry and proof of interest in cooperation from of one of the partner companies in the program
- if you are setting up a startup – a document confirming qualification for the Poland Prize program,
- if you run a small, medium or large enterprise – a document confirming your qualification to the program by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.
Need a help?
Based on our many years of experience in cooperation with foreign companies, including companies from Ukraine and Belarus, we offer support in obtaining a Poland Business Harbour Visa. Our assistance will allow you to shorten the visa procedure as much as possible and start your business in Poland in the shortest possible time.
Thanks to us, you will not only learn how to quickly and efficiently start a business in Poland and get support in the relocation of employees and their families. We also offer help in the implementation of the functioning of a foreign enterprise in the Polish market realities, as well as assistance in obtaining numerous reliefs related to the program, such as tax relief for research and development activities or lower ZUS contributions (social insurance).