The President signed the amendment to the law on assistance to citizens of Ukraine
On January 13, 2023, the Sejm adopted the final text of the act amending the act on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of that state and some other acts and some other acts. The president signed it on January 25, 2023.
The amendment provides for many changes for Ukrainian citizens, e.g. introduction of partial co-financing of the costs of accommodation and meals in collective accommodation centers.
The most important changes introduced to the Special Act are presented below.
1. 30 days to submit an application for a PESEL number
The deadline for submitting an application for a PESEL number has been shortened and will be 30 days from the date of arrival of a Ukrainian citizen to Poland. Previously, Ukrainian citizens had 90 days to register their stay if entry was not registered when crossing the border.
2. Changes in the financing of social assistance
Social assistance due to Ukrainian citizens after the amendment, which includes accommodation and a full board, will be provided for a period not exceeding 120 days from the date of entry to Poland - the possibility of using collective accommodation is possible for a period not longer than 120 days from the date of arrival in Poland.
After this period, people staying in collective accommodation centers will cover 50% of the costs of assistance, provided that it will not exceed PLN 40 per person per day. After 180 days from the date of entry to Poland, citizens of Ukraine will cover 75% of these costs, but not more than PLN 60 per day per person. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule:
- people with disabilities and their carers
- women over 60 and men over 65
- pregnant women
- people bringing up a child to 12 months of age
- people caring for more than two children alone
- minors and their temporary guardians who came to Poland without an actual guardian or were placed in Ukrainian foster care
- other people who are in a difficult situation that prevents them from contributing to the costs of assistance
3. The deadline of 14 days for notifying the employment office of employing a foreigner
In the case of granting a temporary residence and work permit to a Ukrainian citizen, subject to notification (Article 22(1) of the Special Act) - the employer will have to notify the employment office of the employment of such a person within 14 days from the date of commencement of work by the Ukrainian citizen or the date of delivery of the decision of granting such permission.
4. Validity of residence permits
The deadline for extending the validity of the grounds for legal stay and residence documents of Ukrainian citizens has been unified, which ends on August 24, 2023. This applies to:
- national visas,
- temporary residence permits,
- deadlines for leaving the territory of Poland and deadlines for voluntary return,
- validity of residence cards, Polish identity documents of a foreigner, documents "permit for tolerated stay"
- visa-free travel, Schengen visas, visas, and residence permits issued by other Schengen countries
5. Family benefits
The Social Insurance Institution will have data from the Border Guard register, which relate to each entry and exit of a Ukrainian citizen from Poland. ZUS will be able to suspend the payment of benefits to persons who have left Poland. This applies to benefits such as "500+", "300+" or Family Care Capital.
6. Return procedure
After the amendment, proceedings concerning the obligation to return may not be initiated against citizens of Ukraine, or they may be discontinued completely if it is justified by the important interest of a citizen of Ukraine. An exception to this rule cases in which such proceedings have been initiated due to state defense or security or protection of public safety and order or the interest of Poland.
7. Covid regulations
The amendment provided for the repeal of certain provisions of the so-called "Covid Act" from August 24, 2023. These provisions extended the legal stay of foreigners in Poland, the validity of residence documents such as e.g. a visa, and temporary foreigner identity certificates, the deadline for submitting an application for a temporary residence permit, and the deadline for leaving the territory of Poland and voluntary return.