A recent HIAS research has found out that thousands of non-Ukrainian asylum seekers and refugees who have fled Ukraine continue to face significant challenges to protection as well as integration in the European Union.
According to HIAS, while the member states of the EU have delivered admirable protection for Ukrainians forced to leave their country, nationals of third countries and stateless people have slipped through the cracks of the EU asylum policy.
“Though the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive has delivered unprecedented status and rights to more than 4.9 million Ukrainians, it has left non-Ukrainians fleeing the same war out in the cold,” HIAS Europe Advocacy Officer Katharine Woolrych, said.
For this reason, HIAS and its Ukrainian partner Right to Protection, R2P, have decided to provide recommendations non-discriminatory approach to protecting non-Ukrainians fleeing Ukraine, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Data show that before the invasion of Ukraine, around 5,000 asylum seekers and refugees were living in Ukraine. This means that they were also forced to leave Ukraine just like everyone else, but instead, they did not receive the same support.
The newly published research has revealed that temporary protection in the EU is not an option for many asylum seekers and refugees who are not nationals of Ukraine.
Around four in ten non-Ukrainian asylum seekers and refugees who took part in the survey of HIAS said that they had not received temporary protection in the EU.
Furthermore, over 38 per cent of respondents detected obstacles when applying for refugee status. On the other hand, nationals of Ukraine are issued temporary protection the same day they register.
The research has further revealed that only a quarter of respondents knew where to find legal aid to help them in securing status, which lead to many of them living for a long period in limbo.
As for housing assistance, it has been found that over 40 per cent of the respondents do not have access to full housing assistance.
In addition to the above mentioned, it was disclosed that around 40 per cent of non-Ukrainian respondents are not able to access free medical care in the EU and over ten per cent have no travel or identity documents, making it impossible for them to travel within the bloc, return to Ukraine, or access any of the basic needs.
Taking into account the obstacles that non-Ukrainian asylum seekers and refugees who have fled Ukraine face in the EU, HIAS and R2P have recommended that the EU member states extend the scope of temporary protection and ensure that all non-Ukrainian asylum seekers, as well as refugees fleeing Ukraine, have access to international protection procedure or to temporary protection.
Additionally, it has been recommended that the EU member states to facilitate access to housing, healthcare, and food, make legal advice and support widely available, and ensure that non-Ukrainian asylum seekers and refugees are granted necessary documents.