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Immigration alert – Temporary protection for people fleeing war in Ukraine

Published: 2022-03-04

Background

The EU Commission proposed on March 2nd to activate the Temporary Protection Directive (2001/55/EC), which would provide those fleeing the war in Ukraine temporary protection in the EU, residence permits, as well as access to education and the labour market. On March 4th, the Council of the European Union unanimously decided to approve the proposed decision and introduce temporary protection for persons fleeing Ukraine.

 

What’s the change?

When the decision, establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine, is published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the following persons will be granted immediate and temporary protection:

  • Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine
  • Stateless persons, and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, who benefited from international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022
  • Family members of the persons referred to above. The following persons are considered part of a family:
    1. A spouse or an unmarried partner in a stable relationship
    2. Minor unmarried children of a person referred to above, or their spouse
    3. Other close relatives who lived together as part of the family unit at the time of the mass influx and who were wholly or mainly dependent on a person referred to above

The persons entitled to temporary protection will be granted residence permits for a duration of one year in any European Union Member State, which may be extended by six months, twice. The Council may also decide to further extend the protection by one year. The protection will be granted to those that have fled or will flee to a European Union Member State as of February 24th. This represents a floor, and each Member State is free to provide a similar right to Ukrainian citizens that arrived earlier.

 

Ukrainian citizens coming to Sweden

Those who are under temporary protection shall receive temporary residence permits in Sweden and they will also be granted work permits, valid for the duration of the residence permit. This should give those under temporary protection the right to accept employment for positions that have not been advertised at the Swedish Public Employment Service or elsewhere. Furthermore, recipients of temporary protection are entitled to suitable accommodation or means to obtain housing, social welfare as well as access to education.

Swedish residence permits granted on grounds of temporary protection will be able to be extended and changed to e.g., work permits without the applicant having to leave the country. Additionally, when switching from temporary protection to a work permit, if the applicant retains the employment that he/she had under the temporary protection, the position will not have to be advertised as no recruitment process has taken place.

The entry ban to Sweden, including requirement of covid-19 vaccination or negative test result, when travelling from a non-EU/EEA country, is still in force until March 31st. However, the entry ban does not apply to persons in need of international protection, as well as other humanitarian grounds, or persons with residence permits in Sweden.

Considering that the Council has declared that the concerned individuals are entitled to temporary protection and residence permits due to the current humanitarian crisis, and that each Member State should facilitate entry into their country as much as possible according to the directive, our assessment is that these persons should also be exempt from the current entry ban and testing requirements for Sweden.

The Swedish Migration Agency has announced that those who wish to apply for residence permits on grounds of temporary protection will have to register at one of the Migration Agency’s offices by presenting a biometric passport or other Ukrainian identification document. They will also have to submit their biometrics and be photographed.

Deloitte actively monitors any development of these matters and this article will be updated.

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