Special Law for people fleeing Ukraine - a short guide
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THE SPECIAL LAW ?
1. Ukraine citizenswho crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border (did not come through the territory of other countries, e.g. Romania or Hungary) from February 24, 2022 and declare their intention to stay in Poland
2.and their spouses, even if they do not have Ukrainian citizenship, but crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border from February 24, 2022 and declare their intention to stay in Poland
3. Ukraine citizens holding the Pole’sCard (Karta Polaka) who left Ukraine due military operationsfrom February 24, 2022 and entered the territory of the Republic of Poland (also from the territory of other countries) and declare their intention to stay in Poland
4.and their spouses, even if they do not have Ukrainian citizenship, but left Ukraine from February 24, 2022 and entered the territory of the Republic of Poland and declare their intention to stay in Poland
The provisions of the Special Law shall apply accordingly to immediate family members ofthe Ukrainian citizenreferred to in point 3. The Law applies on condition that the above-mentioned categories of persons do not have other residence titles issued by Polish authorities, such as: temporary residence permit, resident permit, permanent residence permit, refugee status, subsidiary protection, permit for tolerated stay.
LEGALISATION OF STAY
The stay of these persons is automatically considered legal for a period of 18 months, starting from February 24, 2022.
Persons who submitted applications for international protection (refugee status) may withdraw these applications in order to be able to benefit under the Special Law.
DEPARTURE FROM POLAND
Note: Leaving the territory of Poland for a period of more than 1 month results in the loss of rights under the Special Law.
WHAT BENEFITS ARE AVAILABLE UNDER THE SPECIAL LAW?
1. LEGALISATION –it legalises the stay of the above-mentioned categories of persons.
2. EMPLOYMENT–the above-mentioned persons can legally take up employment without the need to obtain a work permit. Within 14 days of employing a Ukrainian citizen, the employer is obliged to notify the Employment Office about this fact via the praca.gov.pl portal.
3. STATUS OF THE UNEMPLOYED –the above-mentioned persons can register as unemployed or jobseekers, regardless of their age.
4. MEDICAL CARE - the above-mentioned persons are given access to public health care services (facilities marked with the logo of NFZ(National Health Fund)).
5. SOCIAL BENEFITS - the above-mentioned persons may receive specific social and family benefits as well as benefits provided for in the Law on Social Assistance.
6. PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSISTANCE– the above-mentioned persons may seek psychological assistance (ensured by the Mayor of the City).
FIRST STEPS –Personal Identification Number (PESEL)
The above-mentioned persons must first obtain a PESEL number. For this purpose, they should prepare biometric photographs (they might be able to have such photos taken for free) and copies of their identity documents and go to the local municipal office (UrządMiasta). Then they shall submit an application (also available in Ukrainian) along with the photographs, show the originals of identity documents and provide their copies.Theirfingerprints will also be taken. Once an applicant provides his/her telephone number and an e-mail address in the application form, it is also possible to automatically create a Trusted Profile (ProfilZaufany), which facilitates communication with public authorities and makes it possible to handle many official matters via the Internet.
Applications for assigning a PESEL numberon behalf of children may be submitted by a parent, a guardian, a curator, a temporary guardian, or a person acting as a minor’s de facto guardian. Children who are over 12 years old shouldcome to the Office in person.
If the above-mentioned person does not have a document confirming the fact of crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border after February 24, 2022 (e.g. a passport with a border control stamp), the application forassigning a PESEL number should be submitted no later than 60 days from the date of entry.
After 9 months from the date of entry and no later than 18 months from February 24, 2022, the above-mentioned persons may submit an application for a temporary residence permit. A temporary stay may be granted for a period of 3 years.
While granting the permit, the following will only be verified: (1)the granting of the permit does not pose any threat to State defence, (2) the applicant is not entered on the list of undesirable foreigners in the Republic of Poland and (3) the application was submitted on time.
The application shall be submitted to the Voivode competent for the place of residence at the time of submitting the application. The local jurisdiction will not change in the course of the procedure.
A temporary residence permit gives the right to work without a permit.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A PESEL NUMBER?
After obtaining a PESEL number, you can:
1. apply for benefits under the Law on Social Assistance (MOPS (Social Welfare Centre) may or may not grant these benefits)
2.register business activity (CEIDG)
3. apply for benefits under the Law on Social Assistance
4. receive the following benefits (the application may be filed earlier):
a) family benefit
b) parental benefit (if the child resides in the territory of the Republic of Poland)
c) “Good Start”benefit (if the child resides in the territory of the Republic of Poland)
d) family care capital (if the child resides in the territory of the Republic of Poland)
e) subsidies to reduce the cost of a child’s stay at a nursery, children's club or daycare centre (if a childlives in the territory of the Republic of Poland)
- even if you do not have a residence card with the annotation "access to the labour market"
Ukrainian citizens who did not enter Poland directly from the territory of Ukraine (and who do not have the Pole's Card), third-country nationals and stateless persons - not covered by the Special Law:
Foreigners who are not covered by the Special Law, but belong to one of the categories of displaced persons mentioned in Article 2(1) and (2) of the EU Council Implementing Decision stating the existence of a mass influx of people displaced from Ukraine, i.e.:
1. the citizens of Ukraine who do not hold the Pole’s Card and who left Ukraine and entered Poland after February 24, 2022not directly from the territory of Ukraine (i.e. through other countries)
2. stateless persons and third-country nationals who can prove that prior to February 24, 2022they enjoyed international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine, legally residedin Ukraine on the basis of a valid permanent residence permit issued in accordance with Ukrainian law and who are not able to return to their country or region of origin in safe conditions.
- may benefit from temporary protection (under the directive) in accordance with the Law on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland (Chapter 3 of the Law).
Foreigners who meet the above requirements may receive a certificate of temporary protection free of charge. The certificate is issued by the Office for Foreigners at the foreigner’s request. The application can be submitted in person at the office in Warsaw at 33 Taborowa Street starting from Thursday, March 17, 2022.
The certificate is the sole proof of entitlement to temporary protection in Poland and during its validity it certifies the holder's right to stay in Poland. A foreigner enjoying temporary protection may also perform work without a work permit and take up and pursue business activity in the territory of Poland on the same terms as Polish citizens.
A person enjoying temporary protection, to whom a certificate has been issued, shall, at his or her request, be granted by the Office for Foreigners access to medical careand assistance by way of accommodation and meals or assistance in the form of cashbenefits. The aforementioned assistance is granted in the manner and on the terms specified in the Law on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland.