Temporary protection or refugee status? How to apply, what are the differences and how to exercise your social rights in the host countries
Each status has its pros and cons.
Ukrainians who flee the war to the EU countries can apply for temporary protection status or refugee status. We tell you what is the difference between them, and what advantages and disadvantages can be in their design.
What is temporary protection?
The status of temporary protection in the EU was activated specifically for Ukrainians and applies to all EU countries. It is activated against Ukrainians fleeing the war immediately after crossing the European border, and immediately after registration, citizens of Ukraine can enjoy the rights granted by the status.
Citizens of Ukraine and members of their families displaced after February 24, 2022 are entitled to receive it. At the same time, Member States, on an individual basis and at their discretion, can also grant status to Ukrainians who entered before the start of the war, for example, due to vacation, business trip etc.
The European Commission decided to extend it until 2024, and Ukrainians will not lose it, even if they return home for a while, since the situation in the country is extremely unstable.
The Council of Europe has published special guidelines on how Ukrainians can get temporary protection and exercise their social rights, in particular housing, education and labour, for the following countries:
- Germany (https://rm.coe.int/germany-rus/1680a9300a);
- Spain (https://rm.coe.int/spain-ukr/1680a9300f);
- Italy (https://rm.coe.int/italy-rus/1680a9300b);
- Poland (https://rm.coe.int/poland-ukr/1680a9300c);
- Romania (https://rm.coe.int/romania-rus/1680a9300d);
- Slovakia (https://rm.coe.int/slovakia-ukr/1680a9300e);
- Czech (https://rm.coe.int/slovak-republic-rus/1680a92ffc).
What rights does the status give?
A person who has applied for temporary protection status has the following rights:
- the right to reside in the country in which he applied for temporary protection;
- right to employment, which a person receives immediately from the moment of applying for protection;
- access to housing. At the same time, the state does not guarantee housing, but the competent authorities or voluntary organizations can help with it;
- the right to medical care;
- the right to social assistance;
- access to education for children and adolescents.
What are the differences from refugee status?
The list of rights for refugees is similar, and they are granted to a person immediately after applying for refugee status. Refugees have the following rights:
- the right to housing - in most cases this is a bed in a refugee center;
- free food;
- medical assistance is limited;
- the right to free travel in public transport (most countries have already canceled this rule).
However, a person with refugee status in the first 6 months not eligible for employment, even if before that he lived and worked in this country.
Refugee status can only be obtained in the state whose border a person crossed for the first time - and these are countries neighboring Ukraine. Temporary protection can be obtained in any EU country except Denmark.
With temporary protection, a person can freely return to their home country and travel within the EU for 90 days, and with refugee status in the first 6 months it is forbidden to cross the border of the host country, otherwise you can lose the status.
Also, when applying for refugee status, a person’s passport is confiscated until a decision is made to grant him such a status; when receiving temporary protection, documents will not be confiscated.
Temporary protection gives the right to choose accommodation at one's own discretion, with which volunteer organizations are willing to help, and with refugee status, it will not be possible to choose a place of accommodation.
We also wrote about how Europe is preparing for a new wave of refugees from Ukraine, and told that part Refugees in the EU want to be forced to sell property, including in their native country.
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