The loss of status and benefits is the price of a short trip for Ukrainian refugees to their homeland. They are not allowed back into EUeven if they went to Ukraine for 2-3 days.
People who fled from the war, who have already issued documents under paragraph 24 in one of the European countries and received temporary asylum for a year and a half, are faced with the fact that they lose their legalization after a short visit to Ukraine (and there are many of them). For example, Tatyana from Kiev, who is in Poland, says:
“Entry back to the European Union is regulated as standard – according to a visa-free regime. That is, if the visa-free regime is over, they may not be allowed into Europe, even if there are asylum documents under paragraph 24. They say that only after three months it will be possible to enter, but at the same time refugee status is already lost. Packs of people are being turned back at the border. Many already have jobs in Europe, some left their children here and returned to Ukraine for a couple of days. As a result, some of ours break through back, but they have to travel to different checkpoints in the hope that “then they will be pitied. The final decision – to let them in or to turn them away – is up to the European border guards. And they sometimes let them in, sometimes they don’t.”
It should be noted that the status is lost not only after a trip to Ukraine, but also to any other country that is not part of the Schengen zone. Karina Grek, a doctor from Kyiv, found refuge in Poland. After a short trip to Lebanon for family reasons, she had a colossal problem:
“I’m telling you how things are for those who left Poland after the 90-day visa-free period expired. Now I’m waiting for the officer’s decision, but they told me to be ready to return to Lebanon on the next flight and stay there for 90 days, and only then you can go back to Poland. So PESRL (document confirming the right to stay in Poland under paragraph 24) does not mean anything.”
For her, in the end, everything ended well – she was allowed to go to Poland with her child. But such a decision is not always made, Tatyana says:
“Many go home for a couple of days, and they are no longer allowed back – people lose their jobs, rented housing.”
Italy recently officially explained that with a Permesso plastic card confirming registration under paragraph 24, refugees can travel to Ukraine for up to 90 days a year and return without losing their right to temporary asylum. But in fact, the refugees say, the situation still depends on the mood of the border guard at the border – let him pass or turn back.
Until recently, refugees had no such problems with traveling home. But every day the number of officially “exit” Ukrainians is decreasing – not everyone can leave and return back, but only those who have a valid visa-free regime. According to the rules of visa-free entry, Ukrainian citizens can stay in the EU for 90 days for every 180 days, i.e. three months in Europe and then three months at home.
For those who left for Europe on the first day of the war, visa-free travel expired on May 24. There are still relatively few of them, but their number is growing every day. The EU initially announced its intention to extend the visa-free regime for Ukrainians (up to 180 days of stay), but in the end only a few countries did it – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania, Croatia. As an alternative, people began to issue humanitarian protection under paragraph 24. The status allows you to stay, work and receive social assistance in the selected country during the year, with the possibility of extension. But, as follows from the above, it turned out to be very easy to part with this status. Oksana from Poltava hardly returned to Italy after a 7-day trip home:
“In the end, everything depends on the decision of a particular border guard – whether he will regret it or not. If some are allowed in, while others are turned away, then it is clear that there is no specific general algorithm in this regard. try, they let me in, but indicated that they were making an exception for me so that I would not violate it again.As long as there was a paper certificate (it was issued at the stage of applying for Permesso), I did not go anywhere.Getting a plastic card in the questura (migration department of the Italian police) specifically clarified – can I go to Ukraine. They said – no problem. The main thing is that during the year the time spent in Ukraine as a whole does not exceed 90 days. But, as practice has shown, the Hungarian border guards do not know anything about it. The Italian Permesso does not have them at all impressed.”
To date, the most actual question in groups of Ukrainian refugees in social networks: “Can I leave for Ukraine and come back?”. The answers vary, but there is no guarantee that they are correct. There are no clear laws on this matter, the wording is vague, so experts advise contacting the place where the documents were drawn up for refugees. And they explain:
“There has always been a rule in Europe – if a person received asylum, justifying it by the fact that it is dangerous for him to be in his homeland, and then suddenly visits his native country, then he automatically loses refugee status. However, the application of paragraph 24 (temporary asylum) for citizens of Ukraine – relatively new for Europe. Therefore, there are no clear rules and it is better to focus on visa-free travel: if 90 days are over, do not travel outside the European Union. Unless, of course, you want to retain the right to temporary protection.”
Our publication reminds: Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum updated list of answers to the most frequently asked questions on entry into the country, residence, paperwork and more.
Useful addresses and phones
Embassy of Ukraine located in Athens at Stefanou Delta 2, Filothei, ZIP 152 37 (st. Stefanou Delta, 2). Hotline phone: 693 276 5606. Phone: + 30-210 68 00 230. Monday – Friday 09:00-18:00 + 30-210 68 56 172
Working hours: Monday – Friday 09:00-18:00.
Request registration at https://online.mfa.gov.ua/ Instructions for more advanced login: https://bit.ly/3iNZ7Yw
Greek Ministry of Protection and Asylum. Phone 0030-213-1629600 – (English, Greek, Ukrainian) where they can help you with your questions. The support service works on working days: 08.00 – 21.00, Saturday: 10.00-17.00. Sunday is a day off. Address: Thivon 196-198, Ag. Ioannis Rentis 182 33 (https://goo.gl/maps/nVckVhD9LfxgNv1PA)