When Temporary Protection Ends: longer-term solutions for refugees from Ukraine

Författare: Ciğer Meltem Ineli

There are almost six million refugees from Ukraine living in the EU under a Temporary Protection regime. When this legal protection expires in early 2025, they risk being left in legal limbo. Expert in migration law Meltem Ineli Ciğer considers what can be done to avoid this. (2023:11epa)

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine caused vast numbers of people – mainly women and children – to flee into the EU. The displacement was swiftly followed by a decision of the EU to activate legislation granting these refugees legal stay on a temporary basis. Under the ‘Temporary Protection’ (TP) framework they have access to access to residence permits, employment, education, accommodation, at least basic social welfare and medical care, and enjoy freedom of movement across the EU.

However, the maximum duration of the TP is three years, meaning it will expire at the latest on 4 March 2025. Today, the war shows few signs of coming to an end, and even when it does it may not be safe for refugees to return to some regions of Ukraine.

So how can the EU and its member states avoid pulling the legal carpet out from under the feet of this already vulnerable group and avoid chaos? Meltem Ineli Ciğer (Suleyman Demirel University) examines the options available to policymakers and considers the advantages and disadvantages of each. The solutions discussed include:

  • the return of temporarily protected persons to Ukraine, provided that the Russian invasion ends;

  • access of the protected population to international protection through individual or group-based recognition procedures;

  • the granting of EU long-term resident status;

  • the granting of national residency statuses or citizenship.

Whichever course policymakers choose to take, it is time to start planning for the end of Temporary protection.

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