Temporary protection or refugee status?

According to the latest UN data, since the beginning of the war, almost 4 million Ukrainians have been forced to go abroad. Europe turned out to be very loyal to refugees from Ukraine, they were given broad rights and few restrictions. How to register, what status to ask for and what is the difference between them?

Which status to choose

Ukrainians traveling abroad during martial law can issue:

  • temporary protection status,
  • refugee status

Temporary protection

Temporary protection in countries EU provided to Ukrainians for one year. However, it can be extended, depending on the terms of martial law.

Registration of temporary protection in Greece handled by the Migration Service (State Office for Refugees).

But there are countries where these functions are performed by the police or the local municipality.

Ukrainians receive temporary protection automatically after crossing the border. In most cases, only biometric passports are required for departure, and birth certificates for children. However, if possible, you should take other documents with you. However, upon arrival in the country where you plan to stay, you need to register.

What rights does temporary protection give:

  • residence in the country where the protection is issued,
  • legal work is available from the moment of registration (some countries, such as the Czech Republic, allow you to work immediately),
  • health care,
  • social help,
  • education for children and teenagers,
  • it is possible to provide social housing (In Greece, this is still difficult).

A person who has been granted temporary protection may then apply for refugee status if he or she sees fit. The application for refugee status is considered individually, the process can take several months.

Refugee status

Under the UN Refugee Convention, a “refugee” is defined as the legal status of a person who, as a result of a well-founded fear of being persecuted on grounds of race, religion, nationality, citizenship (nationality), membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside his country and is unable or unwilling to avail itself of the protection of that country as a result of such fear.

“Many now during the period of hostilities in Ukraine go abroad. But not everyone agrees to refugee status. After all, this status, in addition to asylum, has certain disadvantages. Therefore, before deciding whether to apply for a “refugee”, you need to weigh all the pros and cons. Each EU country has its own requirements, notes Sofia Bilyanskaya.

Sofia explains the pros and cons of refugee status using the example of Poland.

Benefits of being a refugee :

  • refugee status is done free of charge,
  • free accommodation is provided (a bed in a cell for refugees),
  • free clothing, food, consultation with a family doctor,
  • free travel in public transport and trains (with a Ukrainian passport),
  • free “green card” for car insurance for 30 days,
  • receiving social benefits.

Disadvantages of refugee status:

  • your passport will be taken from 6 months to 2 years,
  • a ban on employment (for 6 months) and studying at universities (in some cities, children can attend kindergartens and schools),
  • refugees cannot open a bank account and activate a sim card,
  • if you apply for refugee status in Poland, it is impossible to repeat the same procedure in another country.

In Greece (as in other European countries) the situation with the status of refugees is similar. However, Greece is in no hurry to give this status, limiting itself to the statustemporary protection.

So the status of temporary protection looks much more attractive, you can officially work and provide for yourself, while you can count on social assistance, medicine and education for children, if of course you can find this job, which is quite difficult in Greece.

However, if the tourist season takes place this year, there will be many places in the tourism and tourist services sector. Without knowledge of the language it will be quite difficult, but in a month and a half, you can learn the basic expressions. For those who know English or other European languages, it will be much easier.



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