28 OCTOBER 2022

Ukraine Info: Moving from one EU country to another with Temporary Protection

Many lawyers working with members of the Malta Refugee Council have received queries from people holding Temporary Protection, regarding the possibility of moving from EU Member State to another, whilst keeping their protectionstatus. In order to try to reply to these queries, the Malta Refugee Council requested clarification from the International Protection Agency. Information is provided below.

What does EU law say?

When the EU adopted the Decision triggering the Temporary Protection Directive, it specifically chose to not include the Directive’s Article 11. Article 11 essentially prohibits holders of temporary protection to move freely around the EU, saying that they should be transferred back to the Member State giving them the Temporary Protection:

“A Member State shall take back a person enjoying temporary protection on its territory, if the said person remains on, or, seeks to enter without authorisation onto, the territory of another Member State during the period covered by the Council Decision referred to in Article 5.”

Yet the Decision that triggered the TP Directive for persons fleeing Ukraine specifically excludes this Article. We believe this decision was taken so as to allow TP holders to move from one EU Member State to another, so as to join their family members or choose to settle in the EU Member State of their choice:  

“It is noted that Member States have agreed in a statement that they will not apply Article 11 of Directive 2001/55/EC.”

To better manage this movement of people, the EU established a Solidarity Platform. This is a platform to be used by the EU Member States to “exchange information regarding their reception capacities and number of persons enjoying temporary protection in their territories”.

The EU clarified this situation in implementing Guidelines, where it stated:

“Once a Member State has issued a residence permit in accordance with Article 8 of the Directive 2001/55/EC, the person enjoying temporary protection has the right to travel to other Member States than the one issuing the residence permit for 90 days within a 180-day period. If such a person subsequently moves to another Member State, where s/he receives another residence permit under temporary protection, the first residence permit issued and its ensuing rights must expire and be withdrawn, in accordance with the spirit of Articles 15(6) and 26(4) of Directive 2001/55/EC.”

How does this work in practice, according to Malta’s International Protection Agency (IPA) say?

We asked the Agency how this ‘transfer’ of TP actually happens. Must a TP holder cancel TP in one Member State before travelling, or does this happen automatically? What is the procedure?

This is the answer we received, with thanks to the IPA for clarifying:

“For the sake of clarity, the TP solidarity platform does not do any automatic action apart from generating a hit when someone who is granted TP in Member State A was already granted TP in Member State B. The notification by Member State A to Member State B is done manually by the competent authority in Member State A with all the constraints that this implies in terms of resources and timing.

In view of the above, it is recommended that before requesting TP in Malta, the person concerned informs the competent authorities of the Member State where he/she was originally granted TP of his/her intention to request TP in Malta.

...as per political agreement reached in March 2022, beneficiaries of TP are free to move to another Member State and request TP there. This will naturally lead to the withdrawal/de-registration of their TP status and residence permit in the Member State which had previously granted them TP.

With regards to the local context, Malta is connected to the EU TP solidarity platform and data of persons granted TP in Malta is regularly being uploaded to the system. In the case of a hit with another Member State, the competent authorities of that Member State are notified accordingly so that the TP status and residence permit in that Member State can be withdrawn/de-registered.

Without prejudice to the above, it is recommended that before requesting TP in Malta, the person concerned confirms that he/she is eligible for TP in Malta and informs the competent authorities of the Member State where he/she was originally granted TP of his/her intention to request TP in Malta.”

This is a post of several where the Malta Refugee Council will be giving news and updates on the situation of persons who fled Ukraine and reached Malta, and on how they may be protected.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any info you would like to share or if you need any assistance.

Photo credit: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/world/20220127STO22047/how-the-eu-has-been-supporting-ukraine


Established with the kind support of the Dutch Refugee Council