The law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in regard to an armed conflict in the territory of that country, adopted on March 12, defines the rights of Ukrainian citizens who came to the territory of the Republic of Poland after 24th of February 2022 due to armed conflict in Ukraine.
First of all, it should be borne in mind that the regulations of the above-mentioned act replace the general provisions on assistance to foreigners under temporary protection on the basis of the decision of the Council of the European Union of March 7, 2022 stating the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Art. 5 of Council Directive 2001/55 / EC of 20 July 2001 and resulting in the introduction of temporary protection as regards citizens of Ukraine. The polish special aid act does not apply to other foreigners who flee the conflict area. For some of these people, the relevant provisions will be those contained in the decision of the EU Council. The standards contained in the Council’s decision will apply to third-country nationals who had a long-term residence permit in Ukraine and who came to the territory of the Republic of Poland in connection with the war, as well as to third-country nationals who cannot return to their country of origin. The decision also covers family members of third-country nationals. It should be noted that third-country nationals who were staying in Ukraine at the time of the outbreak of the war for a short time, e.g. on the basis of a tourist visa, etc., will not be able to take advantage neither of the provisions of the Polish special act nor of the decision of the Council to legalize their stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland.
The special assistance act applies to Ukrainian citizens and their spouses, regardless of their citizenship. This is a restriction in relation to the decision of the EU Council, which orders that all members of the immediate family should be treated like Ukrainian citizens. Pursuant to the Polish special act, the cohabitant of a Ukrainian citizen will not be covered by it, however the provisions of the Council’s decision will apply to such a situation. The special assistance act applies only to Ukrainian citizens who entered the territory of the Republic of Poland after February 24, 2022. It does not apply to persons already residing in Poland in the scope of legalization of stay. Citizens of Ukraine who stay in Poland legally, and whose period of validity of a visa or temporary stay would end after February 24, 2022, receive an automatic extension of their legal stay by 18 months. One should have in mind, that no new documents will be issued in regard to automatic extension.
Citizens of Ukraine have been granted the right to stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period of 18 months, from February 24, 2022. After this period, these persons will be able to apply for a temporary stay up to 3 years.
In order to be able to use benefits such as health care or 500+, Ukrainian citizens will have the right to apply to the commune office for a PESEL number. In the case of minors, the application will be submitted by legal guardians, parents or persons who actually care for them.
The scope of assistance for war refugees coordinated by the Voivode will include:
– providing all-day collective meals,
– providing transport and journeys to places of accommodation,
– provision of cleaning and personal hygiene products and other products.
The Act does not specify in detail the scope of assistance to be provided under the above-mentioned points. The voivode may entrust the performance of tasks to local government units or social organizations. Purchases of goods and services in connection with the implementation of the above-mentioned tasks may take place without the provisions of the Public Procurement Law.
Natural persons and other entities may be granted a cash benefit if they provide accommodation and food for war refugees. The cash benefit will be paid upon request and will last for 60 days, with the possibility of an exceptional extension.
Ukrainian citizens will be able to work during their legal stay, the only requirement is notification by the entity entrusting the work to the local labor office within 14 days from the date of commencement of work that the work has been entrusted. The unemployment benefit will be granted on the same terms as Polish citizens. Additionally, citizens of Ukraine will be able to set up and run a business on the same terms as Polish citizens, provided that they obtain a PESEL number in advance.
Other benefits granted to Ukrainian citizens on the basis of the special act:
– the right to family benefits,
– state aid in bringing up children – only if the children are also in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
– good start benefits – only if the children are also in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
– family caring capital, only if the children are also located in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
– co-financing the reduction of the parent’s fee for the child’s stay in a nursery, children’s club or with a day carer, only if the children are also located in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
– the right to medical care.
Direct financial aid in the amount of PLN 300.00 will be granted to every citizen of Ukraine who receives a PESEL number. The aid will be paid by communes.