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19 Mar. 2023

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Temporary protection in Poland: why Ukrainians mistakenly lose their UKR status

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Temporary protection in Poland: why Ukrainians mistakenly lose their UKR status

Recently, there have been massive cases in Poland when refugees lose their UKR status and the privileges it gives them by leaving the country for less than 30 days. Here's why this happens and how to avoid it

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Recently, Ukrainian refugees living in Poland have been mistakenly losing their UKR status, despite the fact that they comply with all the rules set by the Polish authorities. We will tell you what the reason is and whether the Poles plan to rectify the situation.


The Polish Ombudsman's Office often receives complaints from Ukrainian citizens about the unjustified loss of their UKR status. According to the refugees, after crossing the border, they returned to Poland within the prescribed 30 days, but still lost their right to payments.


There have also been cases where Ukrainians' UKR status was cancelled despite the fact that the person had been permanently residing in Poland.


Why do Ukrainians lose their UKR status unreasonably? 


One of the most common problems is that the Border Guard Service registers the date of departure of Ukrainian citizens from Poland, but not the date of return.


UKR status can be restored if a person confirms that his/her stay abroad lasted less than 30 days. However, border guards often do not stamp the passports of Ukrainian citizens who have an electronic document diia.pl. Therefore, it is difficult to prove that they did not leave Poland for more than 30 days.


Another problem is the reassignment of the UKR status when it is due for renewal. As a result, a foreigner receives the status again, but on the day of application and therefore faces the problem of receiving benefits for the period during which he or she did not have the status, because it was cancelled by mistake.


In Poland, it is also noted that border guards delay entering information on border crossings by Ukrainian citizens into the database. There are cases when the date of departure is entered into the database several months later, so a person can return to Poland long ago, within 30 days, continue to receive social assistance here, and suddenly learn about the loss of the UKR status, and ZUS starts demanding a refund.


We advise Ukrainian refugees to insist that border guards record the date of your departure and entry into the country when crossing the Polish border.


Does Poland plan to solve this problem?


The Office of the Polish Ombudsman emphasises that the deprivation of UKR status due to the erroneous recognition that a Ukrainian citizen left Poland for more than 30 days affects the loss of the right to receive medical, cashless and social assistance - and this, in turn, has very serious consequences for refugees from Ukraine.


Against the backdrop of the accumulated problems with the status of UKR, an official appeal was sent to Paweł Széfernaker, the Polish Government Commissioner for Refugees from Ukraine, with a request to intervene in the situation and put things in order. He is asked to make the necessary changes to the regulations in order to standardise the practice of restoring the status of UKR.


As a reminder! Citizens of Ukraine who leave Poland for more than 30 days automatically lose their UKR status and, at the same time, the right to financial assistance. This includes the 500+ programme. Read more about whether and how to resume payments here.




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