Zeman signs 'lex Ukraine' tightening support for Ukrainian refugees

With the state of emergency ending on July 1, the new law enables lodging and registration of Ukrainian refugees and tightens welfare benefits for them.


Written by ČTK Published on 30.06.2022 10:31:00 (updated on 30.06.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, June 29 (ČTK) — President Miloš Zeman signed an amendment enabling the lodging and registration of Ukrainian refugees even after the state of emergency expires in Czechia and modifying welfare benefits for them, the Presidential Office has told ČTK.

The state of emergency enabled state and local governments to respond more flexibly when accommodating those fleeing the Russian military invasion. After almost four months, the state of emergency declared by the government due to the migration wave from Ukraine will come to an end as of July 1.

The president also signed an amendment that enables schools to form separate classes for Ukrainian refugees next school year, too, if there are not enough places for them in regular classes.

Under the amendment to the legislation dubbed "lex Ukraine," regions and other authorities will be able to allocate buildings for lodging refugees from war-stricken Ukraine. Regions and municipalities should continue to provide emergency shelters and accommodation.

The current system of refugee registration will also continue. The amendment also adopts some extraordinary measures taken on the basis of the state of emergency that ends this month.

Refugees will be able to apply for an allowance equalling the subsistence level for six months after they received emergency protection visas in the Czech Republic. The monthly allowance amounts to CZK 4,250 per adult and CZK 3,050 per child.

Currently, Ukrainian refugees are entitled to a CZK 5,000 of aid in the month they receive the visas. They may apply for it in the five consecutive months since then, too.

Labor Minister Marian Jurečka justified the change by the prolongation of the conflict in Ukraine and also the stay of refugees in the Czech Republic. If the amendment were not passed, refugees would fully enter the Czech welfare system after six months. If the 150,000 people with temporary protection, half of whom were children, took the allowance, the monthly costs would amount to CZK 547.5 million.

Accommodation providers will get from CZK 200 to CZK 350 per person per night under the law. 

The amendment embeds the provision of lodging to refugees as a public service under the lex Ukraine rules.

Emergency accommodation should not take longer than three months, while people should now stay in premises such as gyms and tents for more than one month. Regions will be allowed to accommodate refugees in facilities that were not originally meant for housing.

According to the Interior Ministry, the current system of securing lodging for refugees has proven efficient. A crushing majority of those who need the assistance of the state stay in decent conditions. Some 50,000 people have lived in state facilities.

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