Phased amendments to the Regulation on reception of displaced persons from Ukraine
When war broke out in Ukraine, a large number of refugees arrived in the Netherlands virtually overnight. As a result, the Regulation on reception of displaced persons from Ukraine (Regeling opvang ontheemden Oekraïne, RooO) was drafted under severe time pressure in March 2022. The RooO lays down rules for how mayors and their municipalities should manage the reception of refugees from Ukraine. Among other things, the regulation sets out the amount of the monthly allowance (for food and living expenses) that refugees from Ukraine receive to support their basic needs.
When the regulation was initially drafted in March 2022, the emphasis lay on the speed and practicality with which it could be implemented by municipalities, because this was a new task for mayors. To that end, it was decided that round figures should be used, along with a fixed amount per person, to be paid out on a single reference date. If a refugee from Ukraine received income from work, that individual would no longer be entitled to receive the monthly allowance.
After three months, the RooO was evaluated in cooperation with the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG). Based on the results of that evaluation, the RooO will now be amended with the primary goal of making it easier to implement and explain the regulation. To make it easier to explain, the regulation was adjusted to bring it more in line with existing regulations for asylum seekers, asylum permit holders and those entitled to benefits. The VNG has scrutinised the proposed amendments for their feasibility. The amended RooO will enter into force in two phases. One portion of the amended regulation will enter into force on 1 December 2022, while the other will take effect on 1 February 2023.
Principal changes as of 1 December 2022
From 1 December 2022, the text of the regulation will be adjusted in connection with a few technical points, such as by improving the explanations of the terms ‘displaced persons’, ‘family’, ‘municipal reception facilities’ and ‘reception by private citizens’.
Another change in effect from this date is that mayors will be able to issue financial compensation for clothing and personal expenses to individuals who are long-term residents of a care facility. The amount of this compensation will be €56.12 per month. Those who perform volunteer work at the reception location may also be eligible for compensation for volunteers in the amount of €14 per week. Advice on leaving the reception facility has been added to the regulation as well. As of 1 December, refugees from Ukraine may temporarily leave their reception facility for a period of no more than 28 days while still retaining their monthly allowance. After that period, the mayor may withdraw the entitlement to financial schemes.
Principal changes as of 1 February 2023
Changes pertaining to the amounts of the allowances will enter into force on 1 February 2023. This will give the refugees time to prepare for the new situation and allow municipalities time to adjust their work procedures and systems.
Mayors may stop payment of the monthly financial allowances for the entire family if an adult member of the family receives income in the form of wages or benefits (such as unemployment or disability benefits). The mayor can also withdraw only a portion of these allowances if it becomes evident that the benefits are insufficient to support the household.
Additionally, the housing component of the allowance that refugees from Ukraine receive when staying with private citizens will be adjusted to €93 per person per month; this applies to both children and adults.
Lastly, from 1 February, a graduated scale based on the size of the family will be applied when calculating the component of the allowance intended for buying food. This means that, the larger the family, the lower the monthly food component will be for each member. These amendments bring the regulation more in line with existing regulations for asylum seekers, asylum permit holders and those entitled to benefits.