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Polish government backs law amendments on Ukrainian refugees, extending protection status

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 1, 2024 9:42 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian citizens who arrived to Krakow after fleeing from Ukraine queue to handle formalities for at the Consulate General of Ukraine in Krakow, Poland on March 14, 2022. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The Polish government approved draft amendments to the law on Ukrainian refugees, extending their protection status until Sep. 30, 2025, in addition to several changes, the Polish outlet RMF24 reported on April 30.

If adopted by the Polish parliament, the amendments will enter into force on July 1.

The EU activated the Temporary Protection Directive in March 2022 after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

According to Eurostat, over 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees are currently registered for temporary protection to legally access housing, find work, and receive social benefits in EU states.

Poland hosts roughly 1 million of them, representing the highest number of all countries.

"We will support Ukrainian citizens who had to flee the war and took refuge in Poland, but we also expect clear and explicit rules. This is all in the act that the government adopted," Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

Apart from extending protection status by the decision of the Council of the European Union from March 4, 2023, Poland will introduce a new status for Ukrainian refugees as well.

Ukrainians will be able to apply for a three-year temporary residence permit with a "previously had temporary protection" note after updating their personal information in a database and filling in the particular form for the province where they live.

The updated law will also introduce changes to the state payment programs for Ukrainian refugees. An "800 Plus" program, which provides 800 zlotys ($197) per child every month, and the "Dobry Start" program with a one-time 300 zlotys ($74) payment for those children who go to school will demand mandatory Polish kindergarten or school attendance.

The Polish government will also establish a 36-month period during which Ukrainian pupils can participate in additional free Polish language classes. Ukrainian children who study in eighth grade will be exempted from the obligatory Polish language exam in the 2024-2025 school year as well.

Other changes in the law are related to the limitation of financial assistance for food and accommodation for Ukrainian refugees. The assistance will be provided on the basis of a signed agreement with the local province or other local government bodies acting on the province's order.

Ambassador: Poland ‘absolutely neutral’ whether refugees stay or return to Ukraine
Warsaw will neither encourage nor prevent the return of Ukrainian refugees to Ukraine, Polish Ambassador to Kyiv Jaroslaw Guzy said in an interview with Deutsche Welle published on March 13. Poland hosts around 1 million Ukrainians who fled from Russia’s all-out war, the highest number of all countr…
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