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UNHCR welcomes the extension of Temporary Protection for refugees from Ukraine

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UNHCR welcomes the extension of Temporary Protection for refugees from Ukraine

26 June 2024
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BRUSSELS – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency is encouraged by the EU’s continued demonstration of solidarity and responsibility towards refugees from Ukraine, following the Council’s decision to extend temporary protection for an additional year.  

“Today’s announcement is much welcome as it ensures greater certainty for refugees from Ukraine, granting them continued residence. By extending temporary protection, the EU demonstrates its continuous commitment to protect those fleeing unabated hostilities in Ukraine. EU countries opted for a pragmatic solution by granting this status to the millions who fled the war in Ukraine,” said Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR’s Representative to the EU, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.

The application of the European Union’s Temporary Protection Directive to people displaced from Ukraine, extended today until March 2026 by the Council, provides a legal framework for the protection and inclusion of refugees in national systems.

“Although of a temporary nature, this protection guarantees to more than 4.2 million refugees from Ukraine residency, access to public services and to the labour market of host countries for another year,” he added. 

As of 30 April, 2024 some 4.2 million refugees who fled Ukraine remain under temporary protection in the European Union, the majority in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. According to a recent UNHCR survey, while indeed most refugees intend to return to Ukraine in the future, the ongoing war is preventing the majority from returning in the short term. UNHCR considers their continuing access to international protection to be paramount – and the extension of temporary protection is a practical tool to ensure this. 

UNHCR encourages host States to continue focusing on the socioeconomic inclusion of refugees from Ukraine – a process which brings not only significant positive contributions to host countries, but will also eventually benefit Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery upon return. In this process, UNHCR highlights the need to include and continue to support more vulnerable groups in the refugee community, who may require further assistance to realise their rights in host countries. 

For example, in Poland, between 225,000 and 350,000 refugees from Ukraine are currently working in the country and have played a vital role in the local economy, demonstrating resilience and the willingness to support their host societies. As a result of their labor market contribution, it is estimated that in 2023 their share in Poland’s GDP was between 0.7 and 1.1 per cent. 

UNHCR continues to advocate for the lessons learned from the application of temporary protection to be applied beyond the Ukraine refugee situation. The innovative approaches and significant solidarity demonstrated by host States have the potential to enhance self-reliance, reduce dependency on reception, relief and social protection systems and enhance inclusion for other refugee populations in the EU.

For more information on this topic, please contact: 

In Brussels, Christine Pirovolakis, [email protected], +44 79 31832164

In Geneva, Louise Donovan, [email protected], +41 79 2173058