The amendment to the Act on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of the country
The Act remains in force from the day after its publication in the Journal of Laws, with a number of its provisions coming into force on other dates.
It establishes a 30-day time limit for submitting an application for granting a PESEL number
The amendment to the law introduces in Article 4, which regulates the procedure for granting PESEL numbers to a Ukrainian citizen whose stay on the territory of Poland is legal (on the basis of Article 2(1)), a clearly denoted time limit for submitting an application in this matter. In accordance with the wording of Article 4(2) of the Special Act, this application will have to be submitted within 30 days upon arrival in Poland.
The law also contains a transitional regulation (Article 22), which states that in the event a Ukrainian citizen has not applied for a PESEL number by the date of entry into force of the amending law, he or she will still have 30 days to do so.
Repeal of Article 38 of the Act on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of the country
One of the amendments includes the repeal of Article 38 of the Act of 12 March 2022 on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of the country, providing for the possibility to apply for a temporary residence permit after 9 months of entry,
It would be premature to start the Article 38 application process and its processing by the provincial governors at the present time under the current conditions - the still ongoing armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine and the possibility of using the institution of temporary protection.
The Act also contains a transitional provision under which a Voivode will leave applications submitted under the repealed provision of Article 38 of the Act between 24 November 2022 and the date of entry into force of the Amendment Act unprocessed.
Introduction of the possibility of applying for a temporary residence permit for the purpose of gainful employment
The amending act, however, as of 1 April 2023, is going to introduce a new regulation to Article 42 of the Special Act, allowing Ukrainian citizens whose stay on the territory of Poland is deemed legal and whose residence status is documented by their PESEL number (with the “UKR” status) to apply for a temporary residence permit, which is related to basic forms of economic activity, i.e.:
• temporary residence and work permit
• temporary residence permit for the purpose of highly qualified employment
• temporary residence permit for the purpose of business.
Applications for such residence permits will be submitted to the voivodeship offices competent for the place of residence of the Ukrainian citizen from 1 April this year.
Extension of legal stay for Ukrainian citizens who stayed in Poland before 24 February 2022
In the previous legal environment, Article 42 of the Special Act contained discrepancies regarding the period for which certain entitlements (periods of stay, periods of fulfilment of the obligation to leave the territory of Poland, validity of documents) were extended, ending on 24 February 2022 at the earliest. The extension of the periods of stay, periods of validity of national visas and temporary residence permits were valid until 31 December 2022.
On the other hand, the time limit for leaving the territory of Poland (referred to in Article 299(6) of the Act on foreigners of 12 December 2013) was extended by 18 months, similarly the deadline for voluntary return specified in the decision on the foreigner's obligation to return, the deadline for the validity of residence cards, Polish identity documents of the foreigner and “consent for tolerated stay” documents and the period of stay on the basis of the titles listed in Article 42(11) of the Act.
The amendment to the law introduces a unification of the said terms. The period of extended entitlements will end on 24 August 2023.
In doing so, it should be noted that the extension of the aforementioned validity periods applies retroactively from 1 January 2023. This will allow the continuity of the rights of Ukrainian citizens under the amended legislation.
Possibility of enjoying temporary protection under Article 2(1) of the Special Act versus enjoying temporary protection in the territory of another Member State of the European Union
The amended law introduces the exclusion of Ukrainian citizens who enjoy temporary protection (temporary protection) in the territory of a European Union Member State other than Poland from the residence entitlement referred to in Article 2(1) of the Special Act (new Article 2(3)(3)).
As a result of exercising temporary protection (temporary protection) in a European Union Member State other than Poland, Ukrainian citizens will also lose their residence entitlement referred to in Article 2(1) of the Special Act (new Article 11(4)).