Temporary protection for Ukrainians in Poland 2023: current rules for refugees
Ukraine has witnessed bloody military actions of the Russian Federation and instability, which has led to a massive explosion of refugees seeking asylum in other countries. Recently, the situation has changed significantly and it is worth considering the current information on temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Read more about the peculiarities of temporary protection for Ukrainians in Poland in 2023
Since February 24, 2022, almost 12 million Ukrainian citizens have crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border. This number demonstrates the serious challenges faced by the Polish government and the Border Guard. Today, there are about a million Ukrainian refugees in Poland seeking asylum and protection from danger in Ukraine.
Temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees in Poland 2023
One of the key aspects of providing security and assistance to Ukrainian refugees in Poland is the system of temporary protection. Temporary protection can be obtained in only one country of the European Union, and in Poland this procedure has its own peculiarities. The main document confirming the status of a temporary refugee in Poland is the PESEL (Pesel Ukrainski) code. This special status entitles Ukrainians to receive social assistance, medical services, employment and education in Poland.
Since March 2023, the PESEL UKR status has become mandatory for Ukrainians wishing to stay in Poland. This eleven-digit numeric symbol contains data on date of birth, serial number, gender, and control digits. It is used to apply to various authorities, receive social assistance, register a business, and identify yourself.
Starting from April 1, 2023, Ukrainians can apply for a temporary residence permit in Poland if they work or have started their own business in the country. It is important to note that refugees from Ukraine now have only 30 days (compared to the previous 90) to obtain a Polish identification code (PESEL).
This new system also allows refugees to cross the Polish border without the need for multiple visa applications. In order to more accurately monitor refugees' departures from Poland, the Social Insurance Office (ZUS) and other municipal institutions will monitor information on the dates of each entry and exit of Ukrainian refugees from Poland. Such a system will help to avoid misuse of financial assistance and ensure effective control over the movement of refugees.
Thanks to these innovations, the legal stay of Ukrainians in Poland has been extended until March 4, 2024. However, it is important for refugees to follow the new rules and procedures for obtaining temporary protection and PESEL UKR to ensure safety and stability in the new country.
Which Ukrainians can legally stay in Poland longer?
According to the amendments to the Polish Immigration Act, there are new conditions governing the legal stay of children and adults who entered the country after February 24, 2022. These changes also apply to the guardians of minors and provide them with the opportunity to stay in Poland a little longer - until August 31, 2024.
This benefit applies to the following categories of persons:
1. Children who are enrolled in preschool as of March 4, 2024;
2. Children receiving compulsory school or other education in Polish or Ukrainian schools, including distance learning;
3.Persons who started studying at a gymnasium, lyceum or adult school no later than the 2022/2023 academic year.
4. Additionally, students who will take the matriculation exam (egzamin maturalny) until September 30, 2024 will also be allowed to stay in Poland. These changes in the immigration law are aimed at facilitating the study process and stabilizing the stay in the country for those who arrived after the specified date.
Is it possible to renew temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees in Poland?
The regulations on the PESEL UKR status for Ukrainians residing in Poland impose certain restrictions and requirements. If a Ukrainian citizen plans to leave Poland for more than 30 days, his/her PESEL UKR status will be canceled and all social assistance payments will be suspended. However, upon returning to Poland, it is possible to restore the PESEL UKR status and receive social assistance by contacting the administration.
It is important to keep in mind that there is a risk of losing the status, especially in cases when a person returns from a territory where hostilities are ongoing. In order to control the movement of Ukrainians across the Polish border, the Social Insurance Institutions (ZUS) receive relevant information from the Border Guard. This is done to ensure transparency and compliance of the PESEL UKR status with the selected criteria and restrictions.
Free education for Ukrainian refugees in Poland
In the new academic year, Poland will continue to have special provisions aimed at supporting Ukrainian students and their successful studies in the country. One of the most important initiatives is the possibility for Ukrainian children to take a final exam in a foreign language, even if they have not studied this language as part of compulsory education. This creates more opportunities for integration and further educational development of Ukrainian schoolchildren.
One of the most significant innovations is the possibility of checking the exams of Ukrainian students by persons who are not included in the register of examiners. This makes the assessment process more transparent and independent.
Ukrainian children enrolled in preparatory classes will not be subject to annual classification if the pedagogical council recognizes that the pupil does not have a sufficient level of Polish language to master education or the scope of educational classes. In such a case, the pupil will receive a certificate of attendance at a preparatory class and the grade sheet will indicate that he/she was not subject to annual classification.
In order to facilitate the education of Ukrainian children, Polish language instruction in individual or group format for up to 15 students will be available in the future. This helps to improve language skills and facilitates more successful integration.
In addition, Ukrainian students with disabilities will be able to be admitted to special institutions on the basis of an application from their parents or guardians. This is aimed at ensuring access to education for all children, regardless of their characteristics.
The deadlines for applying for exams and certificates for Ukrainian students will also be adapted to their needs and capabilities. This will facilitate their successful studies and integration into the Polish educational environment.
To support Ukrainian students and their integration into Polish society, the University of Warsaw for Ukraine project has been launched, which offers free courses in Polish and other foreign languages. This initiative helps to acquire the necessary skills for successful integration and job search in Poland.
Additionally, the languagesupp.org platform, together with the international foundation Save the Children, offers free language courses for Ukrainian children. By registering on this resource, schoolchildren can learn Polish for free under the guidance of professional teachers. This is an important step in overcoming the language barrier and preparing for everyday situations.
Classes are held in small groups, which allows for an individualized approach and guarantees the quality of learning.
In addition, the Clickmeeting platform offers free language courses for refugees who arrived in Poland after February 24, 2023. These courses help students and adults to facilitate adaptation and learning in a new environment.
Medical care for Ukrainians in Poland in 2023
Ukrainians who arrived in Poland after February 24, 2022 and received a PESEL with the status of UKR enjoy the same rights to free healthcare from the National Health Fund (NFZ) as Polish citizens. This is an important step in ensuring quality medical care for Ukrainian citizens in Poland.
To be eligible for free medical care, Ukrainians in Poland need to visit the nearest territorial polyclinic, where they will be given the opportunity to register in the electronic patient register of Poland by providing their passport data and PESEL. After registration, patients should sign a declaration with their family doctor, which gives them access to medical services in Poland.
There are two ways to get a consultation from a therapist in Poland. The first one is to visit the clinic at 8:00 am and make an appointment with your doctor in a "live" queue, and usually, the consultation can take place on the same day. The second way is to come at any convenient time and make an appointment with your doctor on the next available day, which can take up to a week.
In the Polish healthcare system, there is a practice of obtaining a referral from a primary care physician, such as a general practitioner or family doctor, before accessing specialized doctors. This is done to optimize the process and distribute patients between doctors.
However, it is worth noting that Ukrainians may have to wait from 2 to 3 months, sometimes even six months, to see some specialists in Poland. The timeframe may vary depending on the availability of doctors and specific medical services.
In case of a sudden deterioration of health, Ukrainians in Poland have the opportunity to consult a doctor with a narrow specialization to ensure prompt medical assistance in critical situations.
Thus, temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees in Poland for 2023 remains a relevant and important issue. Poland continues to accept refugees from Ukraine and provide them with the opportunity to obtain temporary protection and protection from danger in their homeland. However, there are challenges related to the overloaded system and living conditions that need to be addressed and resolved.
Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World
To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need health insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Poland;
Legal advice on immigration to Poland;
Travel insurance for foreigners in Poland;
Medical insurance all over the world.
More articles on the topic:
Where and how to find a job for Ukrainians in Poland: a detailed guide.
Changes in social benefits for Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
Obtaining a visa for Ukrainian citizens: required documents and procedure specifics.
Migration reform in the EU: the controversial decision of Poland and Hungary.
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