Reception of Displaced Persons from Ukraine (Temporary Measures) Act submitted for consultation

The Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) gives refugees from Ukraine the right to suitable accommodation, help with living expenses and medical care. The sudden vast influx of refugees from Ukraine, coupled with the already existing pressure on the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), prompted the government to activate emergency powers on 1 April 2022. Under these emergency powers, mayors have a statutory duty to arrange accommodation and care for refugees from Ukraine.

Emergency powers are always activated on a temporary basis and for no longer than necessary. Now that the conflict in Ukraine is expected to drag on and municipalities will therefore need to continue to arrange accommodation and care for the time being, the government has decided to introduce legislation to put the reception of refugees from Ukraine on a regular footing. This will make it possible to revoke the emergency powers.

Most significant change

The most significant substantive change in comparison with the emergency powers is that the responsibility for arranging accommodation and care for refugees from Ukraine at the municipal level will be transferred from the mayor to the Municipal Executive. This statutory duty of the Municipal Executives will be restricted to refugees from Ukraine who are covered by the TPD. Given that there is no longer an acute emergency, this duty no longer needs to be exercised by mayors.

Temporary nature

The Reception of Displaced Persons from Ukraine (Temporary Measures) Act will be in force for a limited time only. The government intends to transfer responsibility for arranging accommodation for refugees from Ukraine back to COA in due course. It is as yet uncertain when COA will be able to assume this responsibility again. Consequently, this temporary legislation will expire on a date to be set by Royal Decree, which date will in any case be no more than one year after expiry of the TBD.

Legislative process

The government will consult on the Reception of Displaced Persons from Ukraine (Temporary Measures) Act from 12 December 2022 until 13 January 2023. Following consultation, the proposed Act will be submitted to the Council of State. It will then be sent to the House of Representatives. The Act will enter into force once it has been passed by both the House and the Senate.