Immigration law /

Helping refugees from Ukraine – 8 key changes after the amendment of the Special act

Over the past month, work on amendments to the Law on Assistance to Ukrainians has gained momentum, reaching the Government Legislation Center. The amendments are aimed at facilitating the provision of humanitarian aid to many Ukrainians citizens, due to the armed conflict and the particularly difficult humanitarian situation in the east of the country.

In this article, you will find an overview of the key modifications that are covered by the said bill.


1. Longer temporary protection

One of the most significant modifications seems to be the one regarding the extension of temporary protection until September 30, 2025. This modification, of course, applies only to citizens of Ukraine who have been assigned the so-called PESEL UKR.

This is in response to the problems of refugee families whose children attend schools in Poland. This is all due to the fact that the previous period of protection did not coincide with the school year.

Furthermore, it involved a limited opportunity for education and the imposition of additional stress on the children and his parents, which was caused by uncertainty regarding the applicable provisions of the law.


2. Temporary residence for up to 3 years

What’s more, the draft also provides for the possibility for people with a UKR PESEL, who are also under temporary protection, to apply for temporary residency valid for up to 3 years.

In order to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the amendment, a Ukrainian citizen must meet the following conditions:

  • having updated data in the UKR PESEL database,
  • having UKR status on March 4, 2024, and on the date of application for a residence permit,
  • submission of an electronic application for a temporary residence permit to the provincial governor,
  • the absence of objections from the security services in connection with the change of the foreigner’s residence status.

The new procedure for obtaining a residence permit allows Ukrainians to easily obtain a residence card with the appropriate endorsement.


3. Extension of temporary protection

The amendment also provides for an expansion of the circle of persons covered by temporary protection. This is a result of the Special act. As part of the amendments, special emphasis has been placed on securing the most vulnerable groups, namely the minor children of Ukrainian refugees. This key extension also includes children who do not hold Ukrainian citizenship.

The introduction of such a solution is aimed at protecting the interests of children and most vulnerable groups to mental health violations, regardless of their legal status. This is an important step towards supporting Ukrainian families who have found refuge in Poland, ensuring that all children, regardless of formalities, can count on adequate protection and assistance.


4. Changes to financial assistance to citizens of Ukraine

Further changes relate to social non-refundable benefits to citizens of Ukraine. It is worth remembering that as of July 1, 2024, obtaining support in the form of accommodation and food for citizens of Ukraine will be possible only on the basis of an agreement with the competent governor or a local government body acting on his instructions.

In addition, the planned modifications also include the method of participation in the costs of accommodation and meals in refugee centers on the territory of Poland.


8 key changes after the amendment of the Special Act on assistance to Ukrainian citizens

5. No more monetary benefit for providing accommodation

The new regulations also apply to owners of premises, who have taken in Ukrainian refugees. As a result of the change in the Special act, they will no longer be entitled to receive a monetary benefit intended to compensate for the costs incurred. This includes the stay and feeding of war refugees from the territory of Ukraine.

While this change is quite controversial, an earlier attempt to seal the system in connection with the so-called PLN 40 benefit, unfortunately failed. Many apartment owners, especially in large cities, took advantage of a loophole in the law and abused the opportunities associated with the benefit.


6. End of one-time assistance

As part of the amendments to the law, it is planned to end one-time cash benefits of PLN 300 and benefits related to taking photographs necessary for obtaining official documents. The planned changes will take effect on July 1, 2024.

Instead of one-time assistance, the government is introducing an integrated support system that includes many other changes due to the armed conflict still in force. The new strategy is aimed not only at ad hoc assistance, but also at long-term support for Ukrainian citizens.


7. New regulations on child-rearing and care

In connection with the armed conflict on Ukrainian territory, the Polish government has pledged to provide humanitarian assistance and life sa to Ukrainian citizens, especially children.

Therefore, the new law, provides for the introduction of compulsory schooling for Ukrainian children along with access to the special 800+ benefit. The rules for obtaining the resources will be refined and made public after public consultation on the draft law.

In addition, the benefit provided by the law is intended to help family members both organize their mental health, daily lives, and support them in finding a home and legal employment on the territory of the new country.

Also, children with disabilities will be covered by special programs that will provide them with adequate care, psychosocial support and educational adjustments.


8. Changes in administrative procedures

The most important is a change in the deadline for submitting an application for a PESEL number. The previous deadline of 30 days from the day of arrival in the territory of the Republic of Poland has been replaced by the formula “immediately upon arrival.” This is crucial for those who intend to take advantage of the assistance provided for Ukrainians.

In addition, it will be possible to apply for a UKR PESEL only on the basis of a passport. Other documents, such as a driver’s license, will no longer be accepted.

The deadline for employers to file a notice of commencement of work will also be shortened from 14 to 7 days. According to the bill’s justification, such measures proved necessary due to the abuse of the deadline, as revealed by inspections conducted by the labor inspectorate.


Do you have doubts? Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

As you can see, the amendment to the Special act introduces many changes regarding the rules of residence of Ukrainian citizens. New rights, as well as obligations, will apply to those already residing in Poland to support people forced to move from their countries.

If you have any doubts or ambiguities regarding your further stay in the country, we encourage you to contact our experienced migration lawyers.

Our lawyers are ready to help and support you in resolving any legal issues related to your stay in Poland. With our services, you do not have to worry about your legal situation.

We will take care of it for you. Write to us at: [email protected]

Author team leader DKP Legal Piotr Gozdowski
Contact our expert
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check full info of team member: Piotr Gozdowski
Author team leader DKP Legal
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check full info of team member: Denis Ushakov

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