Lex Ukraine – addressing the situation of refugees in employment, health, social security and other areas
On 21 March 2022, (following the (EU) Council Decision) the so-called Lex Ukraine – a set of three laws designed to address assistance to refugees from Ukraine – entered into force. Among other things, they address the legal status of refugees, their employment, access to healthcare, social security or education. The law has been enacted for a period of one year, expiring on 31 March 2023. 3. 2023.
The following persons are entitled to a residence permit for the purpose of temporary protection:
- citizens of Ukraine who resided in Ukraine before 24 February and then left the country, or who were lawfully residing in the Czech Republic on 24 February on the basis of a visa waiver or short-term visa
- stateless persons and holders of international protection in Ukraine who were residing in Ukraine before 24 February and have since left the country
- family members of the above-mentioned groups who were staying with them in Ukraine before 24 February
- foreign nationals permanently residing in Ukraine who are unable to travel to their country of origin (or previous permanent residence for stateless persons) due to the threat of real danger
Temporary protection will last for one year and can be extended by a maximum of one step.
Temporary protection can be applied for in any EU country (except Denmark), but its benefits can only be drawn in the country that granted it. The visa also entitles the foreigner to travel throughout the Schengen area.
Holders of temporary protection have free access to the labour market, so they are viewed as permanent residents. Thus, no employment permit is required for their employment, but the employer remains (as with all foreigners) obliged to inform the regional branch of the Labour Office as to the beginning and end of employment.
Employers may be advised to negotiate with employees a fixed-term employment relationship for the period of “temporary protection” and to agree on the information obligations of the employees in relation to their residence status.
In view of the obligation of an initial medical examination prior to commencing employment, complications have arisen in recent weeks, where occupational health providers have refused to conduct an initial medical examination due to the lack of a statement from the medical file. In this context, the Ministry of Health has issued recommendations on how the initial examination should take place and what the examination should include.
Foreigners with a residence permit for temporary protection become insured under the Health Insurance Act from the date of entry into the Czech Republic, provided that the residence permit is issued within 30 days of entry. Otherwise, they are insured for 30 days before the issue. If these persons do not have income from employment or business, they become state-insured.
A humanitarian benefit of CZK 5,000 has provided across the board to all newcomers from Ukraine in the month of arrival, but no later than May 2022. Later payments will be made on application. If the income, social and property conditions of a foreigner with temporary protection do not allow for the provision of the basic necessities of life, the humanitarian benefit may be granted repeatedly for a maximum of five months upon application.
Foreigners will also be entitled to an unemployment benefit, which will be calculated mainly on the basis of the average wage (no previous employment is assumed).
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions.