Considering the military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and the scale of mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine, on 7 March 2022 the Republic of Croatia officially introduced temporary protection for the displaced persons from Ukraine in accordance with the Act on International and Temporary Protection. The temporary protection is granted to persons displaced from Ukraine as of 24 February 2022 (or just before this date), more specifically, to Ukrainian nationals and their family members as well as to certain groups of stateless persons and certain groups of third country nationals.
It is important to note that the Temporary Protection Status (i.e., status of a foreigner under temporary protection) ensures access to all rights in accordance with the Act on International and Temporary Protection, such as the right to residence, an identity card of a foreigner under temporary protection, work, elementary means of subsistence and accommodation, medical care, primary and secondary education, information on rights and obligations, family reunification, and freedom of religion.
Particularly, when it comes to employment of the displaced persons from Ukraine, the Temporary Protection Status provides the right to work in Croatia without a residence and work permit or a work registration certificate (otherwise needed), as well as equality in the rights and duties with Croatian nationals (for example, use of the services of the Croatian Employment Service, inclusion in active employment policies measures, etc.).
However, the Temporary Protection Status must first be regulated with the Ministry of the Interior meaning that the displaced persons from Ukraine, when coming to Croatia, should submit their applications for temporary protection at the nearest police department or competent police station according to the place of accommodation, online: via application Croatia4Ukraine (https://croatia4ukraine.mup.hr/Pages/Zahtjev), or by the officers of the police department/stations in Collective accommodation facilities.
If temporary protection is approved, an identity card (containing a personal identification number) will be issued which is considered a residence permit in Croatia and ultimately confirms the status of a foreigner under temporary protection, ensuring all above listed rights can be exercised by this person.
Based on the approved temporary protection (currently granted for one year with the option of extension to a maximum of three years) and the identity card of a foreigner under temporary protection, a displaced person from Ukraine can be employed in Croatia and registered to pension and health insurance.
To conclude, this protection of immediate and temporary character ensures the protection of fundamental human rights and interests of displaced persons from Ukraine, as well as their quicker integration in Croatia. This is the first time that this type of temporary protection mechanism has been activated, with the intention of providing a safe haven to at least some people in need.
By Tea Zaksek, Senior Associate, Ostermann & Partners