The EU has activated the Temporary Protection Directive

On Thursday, the EU moved to activate the Temporary Protection Directive. This means that persons from Ukraine will be offered immediate and temporary residence and work permits in EU Member States*.

According to the UNHCR, so far, the war in Ukraine has caused 1 million people to flee to the EU, mainly to the neighbouring countries of Poland, Hungary and Romania. Many are also travelling on to EU countries further west and south. The scale of people who have already left or are expected to leave Ukraine is the reason why the Temporary Protection Directive has been activated – for the first time ever.

No individual application examination is required to grant these residence and work permits. The permit is temporary.

Those covered by the directive are persons who:

  • are Ukrainian citizens and have resided in Ukraine sine before 24 February 2022;
  • have a residence permit in Ukraine due to status as a refugee or person in need of subsidiary protection;
  • family members of the two categories described above.

Upon arrival in Sweden, persons must be identified, registered, photographed and fingerprinted. Normally, this is sufficient to obtain a residence and work permit in accordance with the directive.

Persons who have been granted a residence permit under the Temporary Protection Directive can choose to also apply for asylum at any time.

Although the Council of Ministers has now taken the decision, certain legal questions have yet to be resolved, including regarding the issue of identification. The Swedish Migration Agency is following the matter closely and will update the information on its website on an ongoing basis.

Based on the assessment that the number of people from Ukraine seeking to enter Sweden will increase, the Swedish Migration Agency is now working intensively to increase its housing capacity. In the short term, the capacity will increase to 5,000 places, and in a few months’ time it will rise to about 28,000 places.

It has thus far been possible to handle the increase in the number of asylum seekers from Ukraine within the context of the agency’s ordinary activities.

* Denmark and Ireland are exempt.

About the regulations:

The Temporary Protection Directive sets out minimum standards for providing temporary protection in the event of a massive influx of displaced persons. The directive also provides for measures to be taken on the basis of the principle of solidarity, in order to strike a balance between the efforts of Member States to receive such persons.

According to the Aliens Act, a person who has been granted a residence permit under the directive has the right to apply for a residence permit as a refugee. This means that persons who have temporary protection under the Directive must be given the opportunity to submit an asylum application at any time.

Anyone who receives a residence permit as a mass refugee is covered by the Act on Reception of Asylum Seekers (LMA). The persons covered by the directive have the right to receive housing assistance and a daily allowance from the Swedish Migration Agency.