Sanctuary for refugees from Ukraine likely to remain necessary for a considerable time

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Netherlands has been providing sanctuary to over 80,000 refugees from Ukraine. According to a scenario report by the Clingendael Institute commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and Security, the war in Ukraine will continue for quite some time. Therefore, the Netherlands will need to be prepared for the continuing arrival of considerable numbers of refugees from Ukraine. In addition, as it is uncertain how the war will develop, only a relatively small part of the refugees will be able to return in the short term. This scenario, along with the European Commission’s announcement on 14 October 2022 that the temporary protection under the Temporary Protection Directive will be extended by one year, means that the Netherlands will likely need to continue to provide sanctuary to refugees from Ukraine for a considerable time.

This will require making policy decisions for the mid to long term that take into account this prolonged stay of refugees. In addition, it is important to give refugees from Ukraine and Dutch society clarity about the long-term policy regarding refugees from Ukraine. This is also underlined by a recent report from the Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs (ACVZ) on the temporary protection of refugees from Ukraine in the longer term. Based on the aforementioned reports, the government has decided that steps need to be taken to encourage more self-reliance and participation in Dutch society among refugees from Ukraine.

Encouraging more self-reliance and participation

Encouraging more self-reliance and participation in Dutch society will enable refugees from Ukraine to work or attend education here, for example. In addition, when Ukrainians are able to earn their own living, they place less of a burden on the Dutch welfare system.

Furthermore, they will be able to use the skills and development attained during their stay in the Netherlands to help rebuild their country when they return to Ukraine.

Examples of self-reliance include Ukrainians finding work more in line with their previous work experience and degrees, while participation in Dutch society could include Ukrainian children attending Dutch education.

In the coming period, the Minister of Justice and Security will together with the ministries involved work on further detailing possible measures to be taken to encourage more self-reliance and participation. More information about this will be provided before the end of the year.