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March 06, 2023

Emergency Protection for Ukrainians

Omar Hegazi

On February 24, 2022, the European Council condemned Russian offensive military action in Ukraine because it violated international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. On March 4, 2022, an unprecedented action in the history of the European Community, Decision 2022/382 was undertaken for the implementation of Council Directive 2001/55/EC for the exceptional temporary protection of refugees arriving from Ukraine. The Temporary Protection Directive is the most effective and rapid response to the humanitarian emergency caused by the Ukrainian crisis in the European immigration regulatory system. It is a revolutionary, problem-solving approach within the European immigration regulatory system.

Before delving into specific details, it is necessary to understand that at the European level, the requirements and process for obtaining permanent residence in the Schengen area typically take over ninety days. They are limited and the conditions are rigorous, in terms of the ordinary procedures for obtaining a residence permit and the procedures associated with requests for political asylum. In a nutshell, it is important to note that under normal circumstances, the process begins with a visa application at the relevant embassy, followed by an application for a residence permit for reasons such as: study, work, or family. The time typically required for completing the process may be up to 24 months. Regarding the emergency procedure for political asylum or humanitarian protection applicants, residence permits are issued after a rigorous investigation of the claims and personal profiles of the applicants by a committee appointed by the Ministry of the Interior.

The process to gain Ukrainian temporary protection (emergency request for asylum) differs from the ordinary procedure. This is due to the standardization and simplification of the application procedure for all States of the European Union, which require only proof of Ukrainian nationality. They further proceed without additional investigation, requests for evidence, or examination by the national standing committees for the assessment of asylum applications.

In Italy, as an exemption to existing immigration laws, the state of emergency and the opportunity to apply for a residence permit for temporary protection of Ukrainians are effective until December 31, 2022. For people with limited or no financial means, there is a special reception with authorization to activate additional beds in each municipality. Available places allotted to and financed for Afghan citizens has also been extended to refugees from Ukraine. The Italian legislation that regulates the emergency is provided for by the D.P.C.M. of March 28, 2022, which regulates the extraordinary and comprehensive measures for receiving Ukrainian refugees. The Ministry of the Interior has advised the Italian Immigration and Border Police Service to receive applications for temporary protection from Ukrainians as of March 11, 2022, and to issue receipts of acceptance to them immediately upon submission of their applications.

On April 11, 2022, the Notice for the expression of interest to conduct widespread reception activities by private individuals and associations was published. The aim is to promote and experiment on a nationwide model of reception that involves the hosting of Ukrainian citizens by private individuals, families, and associations. Services offered to applicants also includes career guidance, counseling, and employment support services such as vocational training and retraining programs, with particular emphasis on strengthening the skills necessary for employment and retention of Ukrainian citizens upon their eventual return to Ukraine.

There is also a special basic subsistence allowance of EUR 300 per capita per month and an additional monthly allowance of EUR 150 per child under 18. The benefits will be granted for a maximum of three months from the date of entry into Italy. If the beneficiary finds a job in Italy, he may continue receiving the contribution for a maximum of 60 additional days.

Upon applying for a residence permit for temporary protection, a tax identification number is issued to each applicant by the Immigration and Border Police, in accordance with the existing protocol for International Temporary Protection Directive which automatically identifies the applicant as a recipient of free health care.

Applicants obtain one-year residence permits from the Immigration and Border Police, renewable for another year, thereby allowing them to register with the National Health System and to work or study.

Emergency temporary protection is granted to Ukrainian nationals and their family members who were residing in Ukraine before February 24, 2022; stateless persons and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine who enjoyed international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before February 24, 2022; and stateless persons and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine who were staying in Ukraine before February 24, 2022, based on a permanent residence permit who cannot return to their country or region of origin safely.

    Omar Hegazi


    Omar Hegazi’s practice focuses on international law, immigration, and white collar crimes. He is based in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy and can be contacted at [email protected].

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