European Commission extends Temporary Protection Directive
Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, over 7 million Ukrainians have fled to other European countries. Most of them are staying in neighbouring countries. Over 80,000 Ukrainian refugees have been registered in the Dutch Key Register of Persons (BRP). On 4 March 2022, in response to this influx of refugees and to guarantee the same standards and rights to people fleeing Ukraine in all EU member states, the Council of the European Union implemented temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine under the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD). The temporary protection under this Directive gives refugees from Ukraine the right to accommodation, medical care, work and education. On 14 October, at the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, the Commission announced that the temporary protection under the Directive will be extended, unchanged, for a period of one year.
Temporary Protection Directive
The Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) gives refugees from Ukraine the right to accommodation and medical care in the Netherlands. It also gives minors from Ukraine the right to attend school and allows Ukrainians to work here.
The temporary protection under the TPD was due to stay in effect until 4 March 2023 and will now be extended for another year. Therefore, the temporary protection will in principle cease to apply after 4 March 2024. If the Commission proposes this, the Council may in future decide to extend the temporary protection for a further year. The temporary protection will end when the maximum duration has been reached or at any time before this date if the Council establishes that the situation in Ukraine permits a safe return.
Eric van der Burg, State Secretary for Justice and Security:
‘I wholeheartedly support the extension of the Temporary Protection Directive. As there is no end in sight to the war, we will need to keep providing sanctuary to refugees from Ukraine. By already announcing the extension now, the Commission offers clarity on the temporary protection status in the EU not only to the refugees, but also to member state governments and other parties involved, such as businesses that would like to continue to employ Ukrainians. I welcome that.’
To whom does the TPD apply?
In the Netherlands, the TFP applies to Ukrainian nationals who left Ukraine after 26 November 2021, as well as Ukrainian nationals who had been in the Netherlands for a longer period before 27 November 2021 (e.g. because they were working here and could not return home safely). The TDP also applies to certain non-Ukrainian nationals who fled Ukraine: third-country nationals with a permanent residence permit in Ukraine and those with a residence permit in Ukraine who enjoy national or international protection. The Directive also applies to family members of these third-country nationals.
Since 19 July 2022, the TPD no longer applies to third-country nationals with a temporary residence permit in Ukraine. These persons where staying in the Ukraine to work or study there. If they were registered in the Dutch Key Register of Persons (BRP) before 19 July 2021, their right to protection will end on 4 March 2023.
Third-country nationals to whom the TPD will cease to apply after 4 March 2023
On 4 March 2023, the right to temporary protection under the TPD will end for all third-country nationals with a temporary residence permit in Ukraine who were registered in the BRP before 19 July 2022. At present, approximately 6,600 third-country nationals are registered in the BRP. This includes persons who will continue to fall under the TPD after 4 March 2023 and those to whom the TPD will cease to apply after this date. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is currently reviewing to which third-country nationals the TPD will no longer apply.
To prevent that the group of third-country nationals to whom the Directive will cease to apply after 4 March 2203 places a further burden on the asylum system, there have recently been discussions with the parties involved, such as the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V), the Dutch Council for Refugees and the IND, to create an action plan for this group. A significant percentage of these third-country nationals are nationals of safe countries who have a relatively small chance of being granted asylum. Partly in view of this, it is being considered to deploy a targeted remigration policy whereby these persons will be given support to enable them to voluntarily return to their country of origin before 4 March 2023. The feasibility of implementing such a policy in the short term is currently being reviewed with the DT&V. In addition, the Dutch Council for Refugees has been asked to inform this group about the termination of their temporary protection status and the possibilities for them to return to their country of origin, to submit a residence application or, if they wish, to apply for asylum. The IND is working on detailing the process for handling these asylum applications, given the current pressure on the asylum system.