On 4 March 2022, the Council of the European Union enacted the Temporary Protection Directive (Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382) in response to refugees arriving in the EU from Ukraine.
The enactment of the Directive means persons fleeing the armed conflict in Ukraine will have access to ‘temporary protection’ in EU Member States. The Directive, which establishes minimum standards for temporary protection, seeks to balance the distribution of persons between EU Member States.
The implementing decision applies to the following categories of persons displaced from Ukraine on or after 24 February 2022:
“(a) Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022;
(b) stateless persons, and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, who benefited from international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022;
and, (c) family members of the persons referred to in points (a) and (b).”
It states that “Member States shall apply either this Decision or adequate protection under their national law, in respect of stateless persons, and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, 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”. Temporary protection can be extended to persons who are third-country nationals of countries other than Ukraine and were legally residing in Ukraine, and “who are unable to return in safe and durable conditions to their country or region of origin”.
The duration of temporary protection is for an initial period of one year, and unless terminated, that period should automatically be extended by six monthly periods for a maximum of one year.
Ireland opted-in to the Temporary Protection Directive in 2003. It is currently provided for in section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015. The section provides that the Minister for Justice shall give to a displaced person a permission to reside in the State, be it an Irish visa or Irish transit visa free of charge or a permission to remain in the State. The section provides for the provision of a permission to reside in the State valid for one year and renewable. The section also sets out a number of exclusion and revocation grounds.
Section 60(10) provides that a displaced person is entitled to:
“(a) to seek and enter employment, to engage in any business, trade or profession and to have access to education and training in the State in the like manner and to the like extent in all respects as an Irish citizen,
(b) to receive, upon and subject to the same conditions applicable to Irish citizens, the same medical care and the same social welfare benefits as those to which Irish citizens are entitled, and
(c) to the same rights of travel in the State as those to which Irish citizens are entitled.”