Italy’s temporary protection for those fleeing from Ukraine
Mazzeschi Lawyers, Siena
Ukrainian nationals’ emergency status has been accelerated by the extraordinary circumstances that took place in late February to March. More than two million refugees have fled Ukraine; as the humanitarian crisis seems to spread at the speed of light, many countries have provided for some regulatory provisions offering temporary protection.
What measures has Italy taken?
The Italian government, in light of European Union decisions, has signed a decree by which it undertakes to guarantee and grant temporary protection to Ukrainian citizens and others.
Who will benefit from special protection?
Temporary protection is granted to:
- Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022;
- third country nationals who can prove that they were legally residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 on the basis of a valid permanent residence permit issued in accordance with Ukrainian law, and who are unable to return in safe and durable conditions to their country or region of origin;
- people who benefit from international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022; and
- family members of the above.
Are there any differences between Ukrainian nationals, third country nationals or people already benefiting from temporary protection?
Italian law makes no differences between the categories recognised as deserving the protection. As a matter of fact, the legislation ruling this type of protection guarantees the same rights to all those in need.
What are the main points guaranteed by the government?
The government is committed to offering many opportunities to those under temporary protection, including the ability:
- to work;
- to move freely;
- to take residency;
- to receive medical care and welfare benefits; and
- for minor age children to have immediate access to the educational system.
Is it possible to work and reside in Italy under temporary protection?
The permit of stay for temporary protection allows the applicant to work and to move their residency to Italy. They cannot register their residency in another EU Member State as well as Italy.
Is it possible to travel and move freely?
This protection allows freedom of travel inside the Schengen Area for 90 days, but only within 180 days of being admitted to the Italian territory.
Healthcare and education: gaining immediate access
Temporary protection guarantees direct access to medical care and treatments by registering the applicant’s status at the local Healthcare Centre (ASL/ATS/ASST). A special code (STP) will be granted immediately in order to receive urgent and essential medical services.
Minor age children can have instantaneous access to the educational system. With regard to unaccompanied children, it will be first necessary to verify the presence of any relatives with whom the minors can be entrusted; otherwise, they will be placed under the guardianship of foster families.
Processing issues and timing
Upon entering the country, interested parties will be identified either at the Ukrainian Consulate or Ukrainian Embassy in Italy if they do not have documents, or at the local police headquarters by presenting their passport.
Within eight days they must submit a declaration of presence. Those who will host them must formalise the declaration of hospitality within 48 hours from the beginning of the hospitality.
Duration of temporary protection
Temporary protection lasts for one year starting from 1 March 2022, extendable for one year (six plus six months). Italy and/or the EU can interrupt this scheme if the Ukrainian situation changes in a positive way.
On the basis of the European Commission’s decision, Italy has created a functional regulatory framework that provides a comprehensive overview of the rights related to temporary protection for the refugees escaping Ukraine.