The Act on Assistance for Ukrainian Citizens
Below we present a comprehensive guide on the situation of Ukrainian citizens in Poland in the current legal status (January 25, 2023). The guide covers the legality of stay, work and access to benefits.
LEGAL RESIDENCE OF UKRAINIAN CITIZENS WHO ARRIVED IN POLAND FROM 24 FEBRUARY
On the basis of the “special act” (Act of March 12, 2022 on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of this country), you can stay in Poland legally for 18 months from February 24, 2022, if:
you are a citizen of Ukraine and you came to Poland legally from the territory of Ukraine in the period from February 24, 2022, in connection with the armed conflict (regardless of whether you came directly from the territory of Ukraine or through the territory of another country), and you declare your intention to stay on the territory of Poland, or
you are the husband/wife of a Ukrainian citizen, and you entered Poland under the above conditions (even if you do not have Ukrainian citizenship)
ATTENTION! This does not apply to: persons with permanent residence in Poland, long-term resident’s residence permit, temporary residence permit, refugee status, subsidiary protection, residence permit for humanitarian reasons and tolerated stay permit.
The above also does not apply to persons who have submitted applications (or declarations of will to apply) for international protection. However, these persons may withdraw the submitted application/declaration. Then they will be covered by the above regulation from the moment of withdrawal of the application/declaration – i.e. from that moment they will be able to stay in Poland legally for 18 months from February 24, 2022 and have access to all benefits related to this status.
If you belong to the above-mentioned group of people, within a maximum of 30 days from crossing the border, you should go to any municipal authority and apply for a PESEL UKR number. Based on the PESEL UKR number, you will get access to a trusted profile that will facilitate many subsequent formalities. In the future, the PESEL number and the trusted profile will also enable you to access an electronic document confirming your identity and residence status.
If you already have a PESEL number, you are still obliged to report to the commune authority within 30 days of crossing the border in order to record your PESEL UKR status in the register.
An application for a PESEL number for a minor is submitted by their parent, guardian, curator, temporary guardian or person exercising actual custody of the child. If, due to your health condition or disability, you are unable to submit the application in person to the commune authority, you can submit the application in your place of residence.
ATTENTION! The departure of a Ukrainian citizen from Poland for more than a month deprives him of the right to stay legally in Poland on the basis of the “Special Act”.
1. CONSEQUENCES OF LEAVING POLAND FOR MORE THAN 1 MONTH – UKR STATUS
After the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard provides information on the departure of a foreigner covered by the Act for a period longer than 1 month, the “UKR” status assigned to the assigned PESEL number is automatically changed to the “NUE” status, i.e. the status of a foreigner who is not a citizen of a European Union Member State or a family member EU citizen. The change of status will therefore be a formal manifestation of the practical loss of rights resulting from the inclusion of a special act.
This change will also be made after providing information about the possession by a Ukrainian citizen of documents excluding from the scope of the Act (residence permit, international protection, etc.) or about submitting an application for international protection.
However, the UKR status may be restored if the person who has been assigned a PESEL number confirms that their stay outside Poland did not last longer than 1 month.
If the foreigner’s departure takes place within the Schengen area, then the status change may take place on the basis of a statement after departure for a period of more than 1 month, submitted by the person who was assigned a PESEL number or a person representing him. This solution seems to make it possible to practically resign from temporary protection in Poland for persons who, after receiving a PESEL number in Poland (with the marking UKR), would like to use this protection in another EU country.
The above statement should contain: name, surname, PESEL number, country and date of departure, type of departure and a declaration of the veracity of the data contained in the application and a clause reading: “I am aware of criminal liability for submitting a false declaration”.
In the case of departure from Poland through the external borders of the Schengen area, the change of the UKR status may also take place on the basis of the above declaration. Then the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard ensures the possibility of verifying the date of departure.
The provisions also provide for the possibility of re-granting the UKR status as a result of arriving on the territory of the Republic of Poland from the territory of Ukraine in connection with military operations conducted on the territory of that state. Then, this entry should be documented or registered in the register of Ukrainian citizens who came to the territory of the Republic of Poland from the territory of Ukraine in connection with military operations conducted in the territory of Ukraine, kept by the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard.
If the entry took place through the borders of Poland, which is the external border of the Schengen area, the re-granting of the UKR status takes place automatically.
Re-assignment of the status may also take place as a result of resubmitting an application for a PESEL number.
The body competent to register the above data is any executive body of the commune.
With regard to the loss of rights under the Act as a result of leaving Poland for a period of more than 1 month, it was also specified that this provision will not apply to persons assigned to perform work or services outside the Republic of Poland by entities operating in the territory of the Republic of Poland.
In addition, it was noted that data on the departure of a person covered by the Act for a period longer than 1 month will be provided by the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard to the Social Insurance Institution, which determines the right to benefits for a foreigner. (Article 1(13)(b) of the amending Act)
All Ukrainian citizens whose stay on the territory of Poland is legal are entitled to work – i.e. both those whose stay is considered legal in connection with entry after February 24, 2022, and those whose stay in Poland is considered legal on a different basis (e.g. they have a temporary residence permit, a visa, etc.).
An employer employing a Ukrainian citizen is obliged to notify the poviat labor office competent for the seat or place of residence of the entity about this fact within 14 days from the date of commencement of work by the foreigner. The obligation to notify does not apply to the employment of a Ukrainian citizen who legally performs work in Poland, e.g. on the basis of a work permit or an appropriate temporary residence permit, and when he has the right to work in Poland due to his residence status (e.g. he has been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection, received a permanent residence permit, a long-term resident’s residence permit, a residence permit for humanitarian reasons or a tolerated stay permit).
The notification is to be made via the ICT system – praca.gov.pl
To ensure the legality of employment of a Ukrainian citizen, it is necessary to meet two more requirements:
The work must be performed for a working time not lower than that indicated in the notification and for remuneration not lower than the rate specified in the notification.
This information, i.e. remuneration determined on a monthly or hourly basis and working time or the number of working hours in a week or month, should be included in the above-mentioned notification.
In addition, a citizen of Ukraine legally residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland may register with the Labor Office as an unemployed person. This also applies to Ukrainian citizens of retirement age, i.e. 65 (men) and 60 (women).
BUSINESS ACTIVITY – to conduct business activity on the same terms as Polish citizens are entitled to citizens of Ukraine, whose stay is considered legal on the basis of the “special act” or on the basis of the act on foreigners (i.e. having a visa, temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit, etc. ). The condition is to obtain a PESEL number.
3. TYPES OF SUPPORT FOR PERSONS COVERED BY THE ACT
If you are a citizen of Ukraine who came to Poland from the territory of Ukraine from February 24, you can receive help, e.g. in accommodation, meals or free psychological help.
For more information, contact the nearest information point for people fleeing Ukraine or one of the hotlines.
You can find many useful contacts here: https://pomagamukrainie.gov.pl/#section1
4. RIGHT TO BENEFITS
Citizens of Ukraine whose stay is considered legal due to their entry to Poland from February 24, 2022 (and their spouses, regardless of citizenship) are entitled to benefits: family benefits, 500+ benefits, social assistance benefits (e.g. benefits, intervention assistance ), Dobry Start, family care capital, co-financing the reduction of parents’ fee for a child’s stay in a nursery. The temporary guardian of the minor is also entitled to benefits and subsidies for the child. These benefits apply under the same rules as in the case of Polish citizens, with exceptions resulting from the “Special Act”.
Applications for the above benefits should include the PESEL numbers of the applicant and his/her child/children.
ATTENTION! Social assistance benefits may also be granted to citizens of Ukraine who reside legally in Poland on a different basis (irrespective of when they entered Poland) and whose family member has returned to the territory of Ukraine. Entitlement to individual social assistance benefits depends on the individual financial situation of the foreigner.
The payment of family and childcare benefits, a good start, family care capital, co-financing of stay in a nursery will be withheld if the eligible citizen of Ukraine or the child leaves the territory of Poland. In the event of re-entry and fulfillment of the conditions entitling to benefits, payments will be made from the month in which they were suspended.
THE RIGHT OF THE SOCIAL INSURANCE COMPANY TO SUPPLY A FOREIGNER TO APPEAR IN PERSON FOR EXPLANATION
It should be noted that e.g. The Social Insurance Institution may summon persons applying for, among others, for family or childcare benefits and those already receiving them to appear in person at the seat of the authority in order to provide explanations. The regulations set the admissible time limit for such a call at 3 days.
The consequence of failure to appear on time is that the application is left unprocessed (in the case of persons applying for benefits) or withholding the payment of the benefit (in the case of persons already receiving them).
If the summoned person appears at the seat of the authority after the deadline, the payment of benefits takes place from the month following the month in which the explanations were submitted.
ONE-TIME CASH BENEFIT – citizens of Ukraine whose stay is considered legal in connection with crossing the border from February 24, 2022 (and their spouses, regardless of citizenship) and who have been entered into the PESEL register, may receive one-off funds in the amount of PLN 300 per person. This assistance is also intended to cover minors. To obtain such a benefit, you will have to submit an application to the social welfare center competent for your place of stay.
MATERIAL BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS – a citizen of Ukraine, whose stay is considered legal, due to entry to Poland from February 24, 2022 and is a student, may apply for a student loan.
5. MEDICAL CARE
Citizens of Ukraine, whose stay is considered legal due to crossing the border after February 24, 2022, are entitled to medical care, including health care services on the terms and to the extent that persons covered by compulsory or voluntary health insurance are entitled to benefits on the basis of the Act of 27 August 2004 on health care services financed from public funds, excluding spa treatment or spa rehabilitation.
In practice, this means that these people will be able to use the services of family doctors in outpatient clinics, specialist doctors, hospitals, reimbursement of medicines, etc. to almost the same extent as Polish citizens covered by the National Health Fund insurance.
6. TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMIT
Pursuant to the regulations in force so far, a Ukrainian citizen who came to Poland due to the armed conflict in Ukraine was to be able to apply for a temporary stay in a simplified procedure (residence card for a period of 3 years) after 9 months of stay in Poland. This solution has been abandoned, so there will be no such possibility, and already submitted applications will be left without consideration.
A citizen of Ukraine enjoying temporary protection in Poland and having a PESEL UKR number may apply, on general terms, for:
– temporary residence and work permit,
– residence permit in order to perform work in a profession requiring high qualifications (Blue Card)
– temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting business activity
If, when submitting the application for a PESEL UKR, fingerprints were entered in the register, submitting the application for the above-mentioned a temporary residence permit does not require personal presence (there is no need to give fingerprints again when submitting the application). However, the voivode may summon the applicant to appear in person in order to submit the original travel document, and if a permit (positive decision) is granted, to submit fingerprints, if it was not possible to place the previously submitted fingerprints in a separate database.
The provisions introducing the above possibility come into force on April 1, 2023.
7. UNACCOMPANIED MINORS
The act proposes to introduce the institution of a temporary guardian for children who do not have legal guardians in Poland. For a minor whose stay has been legalized in connection with crossing the border after February 24, 2022, the court competent for the minor’s place of residence appoints a temporary guardian upon request and ex officio. This is a new institution in Polish law, which is to facilitate the establishment of guardianship over minors.
In the first place, a relative or in-law of the child may be appointed a temporary guardian, but such care may be provided by other persons who guarantee proper care of the child, which will be checked by the court each time. One guardian should be appointed for siblings.
The temporary guardian is to take care of the person and property of the child, but in more important matters of the child, the consent of the family court will be required. Supervision over the activities of the temporary guardian will be carried out by the local government unit at the commune level, competent for the place of residence of the child.
The following persons have the right to submit an application for the appointment of such a guardian:
- Border guards;
- commune head, mayor, city president, mayor, voivodship marshal;
- managers of social welfare organizational units
- representatives of international or non-governmental organizations dealing with providing assistance to foreigners;
- the person having actual custody of the minor;
- other persons or entities as part of their tasks.
Before making a decision, the court hears the candidate for the guardian and the child. The court may summon you to a hearing in any way, e.g. by phone, because it has 3 days to issue a decision from the receipt of the application or the initiation of proceedings ex officio.
Temporary guardians and their charges are entitled to free legal assistance and free civic advice.
The court may also entrust the function of a foster family or the running of a family orphanage to a child who is a citizen of Ukraine and legally residing in Poland on the basis of the “Special Act”:
- a citizen of Ukraine residing legally in Poland on the basis of the “Special Act” and who does not meet the conditions for foster families or those running family orphanages in terms of necessary training.
In care and educational institutions, the limits specified in the provisions on family support and the foster care system do not include placed children who are citizens of Ukraine, residing legally in Poland on the basis of the “Special Act”.
8. INFORMATION FOR UKRAINE CITIZENS WHO HAVE COME TO POLAND BEFORE FEBRUARY 24
On the basis of the “special act”, the legal stay of Ukrainian citizens who came to Poland before February 24 this year has also been extended. However, on different terms.
If the validity of the title of legal residence of a citizen of Ukraine falls after February 24, 2022, the validity of this title is extended until August 24, 2023.
This applies to the following titles of legal residence:
– visa-free travel (biometrics) – stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland is considered legal until August 24, 2023,
– national visa (D) – visa validity period extended until August 24, 2023 (no sticker is placed, visa during the extension period does not entitle to cross the border),
– Schengen (C) visa issued by the Polish authority and visas issued by other Schengen countries – stay is considered legal until August 24, 2023,
– temporary residence permit – validity period extended by law until August 24, 2023
– residence permits entitling to travel in the Schengen area, issued by other Schengen countries – stay is considered legal until August 24, 2023.
If the expiry date of residence permits ob. Ukraine falls after February 24, 2022, the validity of these documents is extended until August 24, 2023. This applies to the following documents:
– residence card
– a Polish foreigner’s identity document
– document “permit for tolerated stay”
The deadline for leaving the territory of the Republic of Poland related to the decision on refusal to extend a visa, refusal to grant a residence permit, discontinuation of proceedings in these cases, withdrawal of a residence permit or a decision terminating proceedings on granting international protection is also extended by 18 months, if it expires after February 24 .2022
The deadline for voluntary return specified in the decision on the obligation to return is also extended by 18 months if it concerns persons covered by the Act and if it expires after February 24, 2022.
ATTENTION! The Act on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens stipulates that the right to work (without the need to obtain a permit) covers all Ukrainian citizens residing legally in the territory of the Republic of Poland, not only those who arrived in Poland after February 24.
It should be remembered that an employer employing a citizen of Ukraine is obliged to notify the Poviat Labor Office of this fact within 14 days of taking up employment (except for the situations mentioned above, in point 2).
As of August 24, 2023, the provisions extending the period of validity of the stay due to the state of epidemic threat will cease to apply. Until then, you will have to regulate your legal situation and make sure that you have a valid residence permit.
The Act also introduces facilitations in the field of continuing studies at Polish universities for people who do not have documents confirming the results achieved, completed internships, etc. Students who are citizens of Ukraine, whose stay has been recognized as legal, in connection with crossing the border since February 24, who have not have the above documents and declare that on that day they studied in a specific year of study in a given field of study and level of study at a university operating in Ukraine, the relevant periods of these studies may be recognized by verifying the achieved learning outcomes.
The rules for verifying learning outcomes are set by the university, which may oblige the student to make up for curriculum differences.
The above facilitations also apply to Polish citizens who studied in Ukraine before February 24, 2022.
10. WORK OF DOCTORS AND DENTISTS
The act provides for special facilities for doctors and dentists from Ukraine. These facilitations apply only to:
– citizens of Ukraine,
– who obtained the qualifications of a doctor or dentist outside the territory of the European Union Member States (i.e. in Ukraine, but also in other non-EU countries).
Therefore, doctors and dentists who are third-country nationals who have fled Ukraine will not be able to take advantage of the facilitations.
Citizens of Ukraine with doctor or dentist qualifications obtained outside the EU will be able, from February 24, 2022, for a period of 18 months (regardless of the duration of the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemic), obtain permission to practice as a doctor or dentist and have granted conditional right to practice in Poland.
A citizen of Ukraine will be able to obtain permission to practice as a doctor or dentist if:
– has full legal capacity;
– his health condition allows him to practice as a doctor or dentist;
– shows an impeccable ethical attitude and
– has a doctor’s or dentist’s diploma confirming the completion of at least five-year studies, issued in a country other than a Member State of the European Union. During the period of announcing the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemic, these documents do not require legalization or an apostille.
In order to obtain permission to practice as a doctor or dentist in Poland, a citizen of Ukraine who meets the above conditions will have to submit an appropriate application to the Minister of Health.
The granted right to practice the profession allows you to work only in a medical entity. After undertaking such work, a Ukrainian citizen will be obliged to inform the Minister of Health about this fact within 7 days. Failure to inform may lead to withdrawal of consent.
In addition, a citizen of Ukraine who has a permit to practice as a doctor or dentist and has a conditional right to practice these professions in connection with the announcement of an epidemic emergency or state of epidemic will be able to work outside a medical facility intended to provide health services to patients suffering from COVID-19, even after the state of epidemic threat is lifted and the state of epidemic is lifted.
The Act also introduces separate rules for performing work for physicians and dentists during postgraduate internships and for nurses.
11. THE WORK OF TEACHERS
The Act provides for special facilities for academic teachers and researchers wishing to practice their profession in Poland.
A citizen of Ukraine residing legally on the territory of Poland pursuant to Article 2 Section 1 of the “Special Act”, may be employed at a university as an academic teacher without conducting an appropriate competition, if he declares that on February 24, 2022 he worked as an academic teacher at a university operating in Ukraine and has the required professional title, academic degree, degree in in the field of art or the title of professor and appropriate qualifications for the position.
On the same terms (i.e. without conducting a competition, based on a declaration of a citizen of Ukraine), a researcher from Ukraine may be employed in research units and other organizational units of the Polish Academy of Sciences and in a research institute.
In addition, when hiring an academic teacher for the position:
2) university professor
3) assistant professor
a citizen of Ukraine who has obtained the title of professor, academic degree, degree in art or professional title abroad, the requirements for this title may be waived, or
degrees specified in the Law on Higher Education and Science (Article 116(2)).
Moreover, a citizen of Ukraine residing legally on the territory of Poland on the basis of art. 2 sec. 1 of the “Special Act”, may be employed without a competition in the position of a research division at the Łukasiewicz Center or an institute operating as part of the Łukasiewicz Research Network, if he declares that on February 24, 2022 he met the requirements qualifications for this position.
12. THE WORK OF PSYCHOLOGISTS
The act provides for special facilities for psychologists from Ukraine who want to practice their profession in Poland.
From February 24, 2022, for a period of 18 months, psychologists from Ukraine may provide psychological services to Ukrainian citizens residing in Poland, including the provision of health care services in the field of psychiatric care and addiction treatment.
The “Special Act” does not provide grounds for providing such services and benefits by a citizen of Ukraine to Polish citizens.
Psychologists from Ukraine can provide the above services provided that:
are legally residing in Poland (both on the basis of the “Special Act” and other acts) and
have a diploma obtained in Ukraine:
1) uniform studies in the field of psychology or
2) a first-cycle diploma in the field of psychology and a second-cycle diploma in the field of psychology
– completed with a professional title of a specialist in psychology or a master’s degree in psychology.
In addition, citizens of Ukraine residing legally on the territory of Poland on the basis of Article 2 Section 1 of the “Special Act”, may – with the consent of the relevant authorities – be employed as psychologists:
in institutional forms of foster care,
in a day support facility,
at the organizer of family foster care
despite not having knowledge of the Polish language confirmed by a relevant document.
It should be remembered that employment of a psychologist from Ukraine under the above rules still needs to be notified within 14 days to the poviat employment office (with exceptions provided for in the “Special Act”).
13. BENEFITS FOR PERSONS WHO PROVIDED ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD TO UKRAINE CITIZENS
Persons providing accommodation and meals to Ukrainian citizens who came to the territory of the Republic of Poland directly from the territory of Ukraine in connection with military operations conducted in the territory of that state may receive a benefit of PLN 40 for each day of assistance.
The benefit is due for the period of actually providing accommodation and meals, no longer than for a period of 120 days, from the date of arrival of a Ukrainian citizen on the territory of the Republic of Poland.
The commune may agree to the application for an extension of the period of payment of the benefit in a situation where a citizen of Ukraine, among others:
has a certificate of disability or degree of disability or a certificate referred to in Article 5 of the Act of August 27, 1997 on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons or has a document confirming the first or second degree of disability issued under the Ukrainian disability assessment system (The benefit is granted for a disabled person, for a person taking care of him/her and for any minor child of these persons); is over 60 (women) or 65 (men);
is a pregnant woman or a person raising a child up to 12 months of age (The benefit is payable for a pregnant woman and for each of her minor children or for a guardian raising a child up to 12 months of age and for all their minor children);
takes care of three or more children alone on the territory of the Republic of Poland (the benefit is due for a guardian and for each minor child);
is a minor citizen of Ukraine who arrived on the territory of the Republic of Poland without the care of a person exercising actual care over him, and a minor citizen of Ukraine who arrived on the territory of the Republic of Poland and before arrival was placed in foster care on the territory of Ukraine (The benefit is due for a minor, for a temporary guardian established for a minor and for all minor children of a temporary guardian).
Citizens of Ukraine covered by the special act can use the help of the Voivode in the form of the possibility of using collective accommodation – completely free of charge for a period of 120 days from the moment of their first arrival in Poland. In the period of 120 – 180 days, a citizen of Ukraine with a PESEL UKR number may use this form of assistance, provided that they contribute to the costs at the level of 50%, not more than PLN 40 per person per day. After 180 days, a citizen of Ukraine with a PESEL UKR number will be able to use this form of assistance, provided that they contribute to the costs. At the level of 75%, no more than PLN 60 per person per day.
Some special categories of people can benefit from free accommodation without a time limit. Applies to:
– people who have a certificate of disability or degree of disability and their guardians
– people over 60 (women) or 65 (men)
– pregnant women or people bringing up a child up to 12 months of age
– taking care of three or more children alone in Poland
– a minor
– people who are in a difficult life situation that prevents them from participating in the costs of assistance
– temporary guardians of minors who came to Poland without actual guardians or were under foster care in Ukraine.
14. INCREASING THE LEGAL PROTECTION OF OWNERS OF PREMISES LENDED TO CITIZENS OF UKRAINE
The Act also provides for changes in the scope of civil law contracts concluded with Ukrainian citizens who came to Poland after February 24, 2022, aimed at securing the owners of premises and reducing the rights of tenants.
In the case of lending a building or part thereof to a citizen of Ukraine referred to above for the temporary satisfaction of housing needs, the provisions of the Act of June 21, 2001 on the protection of tenants’ rights, housing resources of the commune and amending the Civil Code shall not apply to this lending and Article 15 zzu Section 1 of the Act of March 2, 2020 on special solutions related to the prevention and combating of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them.
This means that in this case the rights and obligations of owners and tenants specified in the Act do not apply.
The most important rights that tenants will not have in the case of these agreements are the right to social housing in the event of eviction and the suspension of evictions during the epidemic.
Also, the provisions conditioning the possibility of early termination of the contract by both the owner and the tenant will not apply. Decisive in this matter are the provisions contained in the contract, i.e. if we conclude a contract for a definite period of time and do not include the possibility of early termination, there will be no such possibility.
The tenant’s obligations related to the termination of the use of the premises, such as: refurbishing the premises and making repairs or returning the equivalent of used technical equipment to the landlord, will also not apply.
On the other hand, the owner is not bound by the restrictions related to increasing the rent and the period of notice of the rent.
If you have any doubts about the contract, it is best to contact a lawyer.
Conclusion of an occasional lease agreement with a Ukrainian citizen, whose stay is considered legal under the “special act”, will not require the indication of replacement premises to which eviction may be made, and the submission of a statement by the owner of the premises or a person holding a legal title to the premises on consent to residence of the tenant and persons living with him in the premises indicated in the statement.
15. FREE POLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR PERSONS SUBJECT TO COMPULSORY SCHOOL
Persons who are not Polish citizens, subject to compulsory education or compulsory education, who do not know the Polish language or whose knowledge of it is insufficient to take advantage of education, have the right to additional, free Polish language lessons for no longer than 24 months.
16. THE ACT ON ASSISTANCE FOR UKRAINE CITIZENS AND THE TEMPORARY PROTECTION DETERMINED IN THE IMPLEMENTING DECISION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION OF 4 MARCH 2022
In addition to the Act on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens (“Special Act”) adopted by the Polish authorities, the so-called temporary protection for people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
The decision of the Council of the European Union of March 4, 2022 defines the circle of persons covered by this protection more broadly than the Act on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of this state. Pursuant to this decision, temporary protection on the territory of the Republic of Poland covers:
- Ukrainian citizens living in Ukraine who left in the period from February 24, 2022 due to the invasion of Russia – also those who crossed the border illegally;
- third-country nationals granted international protection on the territory of Ukraine (refugees) who left Ukraine from February 24, 2022;
- family members of the above-mentioned two groups of persons;
- third-country nationals who were legally residing in Ukraine before February 24, 2022 on the basis of a valid permanent residence permit (and are able to prove it), and who are unable to return to their country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions .
It should be emphasized that the Polish act may not limit the right to protection of persons to whom it was granted by the decision of the Council of the European Union.
What should persons covered by temporary protection, who are not covered by the Act on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens, and who want to stay in Poland, do?
These persons have the right to stay legally on the territory of Poland for a period of one year, for which temporary protection has been introduced.
Under the current legal status, these persons may receive from the Head of the Office for Foreigners a certificate confirming the use of temporary protection.
What rights do I have if I am entitled to temporary protection, but I have not been covered by the Act on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine?
In addition to the right to obtain the above-mentioned document, persons covered by temporary protection have the right to legally work and run a business in the territory of the Republic of Poland and to education, also for adults.
A person benefiting from temporary protection who has been issued an appropriate certificate, the Head of the Office for Foreigners provides, at his request, medical care and grants assistance through accommodation and meals or assistance in the form of a cash benefit.
Accommodation and meals can be provided in centers for foreigners.
Foreigners receiving assistance in the form of accommodation and meals are additionally entitled to:
1) permanent financial assistance for the purchase of cleaning and personal hygiene products or cleaning and personal hygiene products;
2) assistance in the form of learning the Polish language and basic materials
necessary to learn this language;
3) teaching aids for children receiving education and care in public institutions, primary schools or secondary schools;
4) financing travel by means of public transport:
a) for the purpose of treatment or vaccination,
b) in other particularly justified cases.
The scope of support provided to a person enjoying temporary protection depends on his/her income. If the amount of monthly income per person in the family of a foreigner covered by temporary protection is higher than PLN 776 (a person running a household alone) or PLN 660 (a person living with a family) per person, the assistance may be provided only in the form of accommodation, learning Polish and basic materials necessary to learn this language and teaching aids for children.
Am I entitled to medical care as a person covered by temporary protection?
Pursuant to the provisions of the Temporary Protection Directive, Poland is obliged to provide persons covered by temporary protection with medical care at least for the treatment of basic diseases and in emergency cases.
Pursuant to Polish regulations, a person benefiting from temporary protection who has been issued an appropriate certificate is provided with medical care by the Head of the Office for Foreigners upon request.
Temporary protection and traveling in the European Union.
Citizens of Ukraine are covered by the so-called visa-free travel.
Therefore, the Member States have decided that persons covered by temporary protection who have already received documents confirming the use of such protection in a given State may move around the territory of the European Union for 90 days within the next 180 days.
Before obtaining documents confirming the use of temporary protection, a citizen of Ukraine may move around the European Union on the same terms if he has a biometric passport. Ukrainian citizens are not obliged to enjoy temporary protection in the territory of the first Member State into which they entered. They can choose where they want to take advantage of this protection.
However, if you do not have a biometric passport and would like to go to another European Union country and take advantage of temporary protection there, we recommend contacting the embassy of the country in question or checking the information available on the embassy’s website.