From file: People attend a 'Freedom March' demonstration to mark Ukraine's Independence Day in Berlin, Germany, 24 August 2022 | Photo: Filip Singer / Archive / EPA
From file: People attend a 'Freedom March' demonstration to mark Ukraine's Independence Day in Berlin, Germany, 24 August 2022 | Photo: Filip Singer / Archive / EPA

The European Union has extended a directive on the temporary protection of Ukrainian refugees until March 2024, and has launched a pilot platform to help Ukrainians to find employment in member states.

Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said Monday (October 10) while speaking to the media that the EU's directive on temporary protection would continue to be in force until at least March 2024.

Johannsson noted that the Russian attack on various cities across Ukraine on October 10 was a clear sign of the need to continue to welcome into the EU those that are fleeing war. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, she added, the EU has given immediate protection to those fleeing the violence in Ukraine and acted in "unison" and quickly in bringing in a directive on temporary protection.

The commissioner said that 4.2 million Ukrainians are currently under the umbrella of this protection in the EU and that it is important that the bloc continue to welcome those fleeing.

Ukrainians who return home will not lose protection

Johansson also explained that Ukrainian refugees who fled to Europe who then decide to return home will no longer have to de-register from the temporary protection system and will be able to maintain their protection and re-enter the EU whenever it proves necessary.

The European Commission, she said, has decided to get rid of an obligation to de-register for those returning home to Ukraine in order to facilitate a possible return to Europe.

"We can see this morning bombs are falling in Kyiv again. So that's why we have made the decision: it's not necessary to deregister, only to notify that you are leaving the EU and going back home. So it's important to notify but you can keep your card," she said.

EU launches job platform for Ukrainian refugees

On Monday, the European Commission also launched a new online job-search tool, called EU Talent Pool, to help Ukrainians find work in member states.

The database, with support from the EURES public services for employment network, will collect the data of enterprises seeking personnel and that of refugees seeking work.

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: "The EU Talent Pool pilot demonstrates our continued solidarity with Ukraine. Not just in words, but with action. It is a tragedy that millions of people have been forced to flee their homes. It is our collective duty to provide as much support as we can to help them make a life for themselves in the EU. Finding a quality job means financial independence and it puts you on the path for better social integration."

Employment aids integration

The EU Talent Pool Pilot is available in English, Ukrainian, and Russian. "We of course all wish we were not in this situation," Schmit said. "But it is now the duty of all of us to provide as much support as we can to help [them] make a life for themselves in the EU, as they have done here in Belgium."

Schmit noted that five member states had signed up for the project including Poland, where the largest number of refugees have arrived."Based on the partial data available, we see that the number of people under temporary protection entering the labor market is gradually increasing," he said.

"A survey of Member States carried out during the summer shows that more than 370,000 people were registered as employed in 15 Member States." Schmit added that, "we know from experience that learning the language and getting a job is the best way to integrate into a new country.We hope that the Talent Pool pilot that we are launching today will speed up the process of accessing jobs in the EU."


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