Romania has implemented the temporary protection mechanism for citizens coming from Ukraine, approved by the European Commission at the beginning of March 2022, through the EU Decision 2022/382. Thus, people who arrive in Romania, eligible to obtain temporary protection and want to remain in our country, now have the possibility to apply for a permit to extend their stay in Romania. In this respect, it is useful to outline the main coordinates of this mechanism and its practical implications.
Who are the beneficiaries of this mechanism?
First it should be noted that the persons who can benefit for temporary protection mechanism in Romania are not only Ukrainian nationals, but also stateless persons, beneficiaries of a form of international/national protection in Ukraine, as well as family members of citizens from all the mentioned categories. Non-Ukrainian nationals, holders of a permanent residency permit in Ukraine, may also benefit of temporary protection in Romania only if, further to an investigation performed by the Romanian immigration authorities, it appears that they cannot return to their country of origin in conditions of safety and stability.
What is the period of protection?
The provisions of the new regulation on temporary protection are applicable for those who entered Romania as of February 24, 2022, except for Ukrainian citizens, who benefit from these facilities even if they entered the country before that date.
The protection measures are valid for as long as the European Union (EU) decision is in force, currently set for one year, until March 2023.
What rights does temporary protection confer?
The main rights conferred by the new regulation are the right to work as an employed or freelancer as well as the right to access the national health and education system.
At the same time, beneficiaries of temporary protection who do not have the means of support can benefit from Government measures of temporary accommodation in delegated locations established for this purpose, clothing, food, or personal hygiene products.
How to obtain the residence permit?
In order to access the temporary protection mechanism, a person must personally submit an application to the immigration/asylum office, as a picture is required at that time. In terms of requires documents, the list is reduced to a minimum, limited to those proving entitlement to temporary protection. The residency permit shall be released on the spot, free of charge.
Even if the procedure itself should not take more than 10 - 20 minutes per person, most probably the offices where applications for the issuance of the document are submitted will be crowded, so in practice the waiting time will be longer. This new application, although beneficial for people who seek protection in our country, will generate an additional burden for the General Inspectorate for Immigration, which was already under strong pressure due to the large volume of work it faces.
Opinion article by Raluca Bontas, Partner, and Mihaela Vechiu, Manager, Global Employer Services, Deloitte Romania