Tuesday, 29 November, 2022
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EU extends protection for Ukraine refugees into 2024

EU extends protection for Ukraine refugees into 2024

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As Ukrainians hunker down under intensified Russian missile attacks, the EU on Monday announced it was extending a bloc-wide protection scheme for Ukrainian refugees into 2024.

EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson also said that Ukrainians in the EU who chose to return to their country could maintain their refugee status there as long as they notified the relevant EU country of their move.

The measures were decided before Russia on Monday unleashed a barrage of missile strikes that hit many civilian sites in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, sending Ukrainians scrambling for cover.

Johansson told journalists that 4.2 million Ukrainians currently held temporary protection status under the EU scheme, which gives them the right to live and work in any EU country and benefit from housing and schooling help.

The programme -- which the EU activated for the first time on March 4, in the wake of Russia's February invasion of Ukraine -- was initially set to run for a year, to March next year, with the option to renew it.

But Johansson announced that now it "will continue to be in place at least until March 2024".

She also said a rule in the scheme that said the temporary protection status ended once someone under it returned to their country had been changed.

"We have decided that you do not need to deregister when you go back, you can keep your temporary protection that you have received in a member state," she said.

"The only thing you need to do is to notify the national or local authorities in your hosting country that you are returning back to Ukraine."