Due to the decision of the Council of the European Union in October 2022 to prolong the decision 2022/382 of 4th March 2022, as the European Commission proposed it, for one year, the Czech parliament has prolonged the temporary protection until 31st March 2024. In national law, the law No. 65/2022 Sb. was changed accordingly. An electronic registration is obligatory as of 30th January 2023 until 31st March 2023. Many other EU countries did this as well, and the European countries with similar rules, like Denmark, and Switzerland, Norway and the UK, have prolonged this protection, too.
In the Czech Republic, almost 450000 of those titles (“temporary protection”) has been issue, thus the Czech legislator decided to make it obligatory for the Ukrainian refugees to apply electronically, as of 30th January 2023 until 31st March 2023. With such a registration, the temporary protection will be prolonged automatically until 31st March 2024. With the electronic registration, every refugee is booking an appointment with the competent foreigner´s office of the Ministry of the Interior (OAMP MV) or the Regional office for the help for Ukrainian refugees (Czech: Krajské asistenční centrum pro uprchlíky z Ukrajiny; KACPU). The refugees shall get the visa until 30th September 2023. The Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic pointed this out in an online seminar on 16th January 2023, in addition to its websites to inform the Ukrainian refugees (here: Informace pro ukrajinské občany na území ČR v návaznosti na ruskou agresi na Ukrajině – Ministerstvo vnitra České republiky (mvcr.cz)) and that this registration is online possible as of 30th January 2023.
Those refugees, who do not register electronically until 31st March 2023, risk to lose their temporary protection as of 1st April 2023. Who does not get the visa in his passport until 30th September 2023, risks as well to lose his temporary protection.
Those Ukrainian refugees, who do not have a temporary protection, but only a so-called visa of tolerance (exceptional leave to remain in the Czech Republic, in Czech: „vizum strpění“) according to the law on Foreigners (§ 33 of law No 326/1999 Sb.), are not supposed to make an appointment with the Foreigner´s Office (OAMP), an electronic registration is neither possible, nor obligatory. Those visa of tolerance are prolonged automatically. However, an appointment with the OAMP is necessary to get the visa sticker physically in the passport.
The prolongation of almost half a million protection titles is a big challenge for the administration, but many questions remain open: what to do in the case of an invalid Ukrainian passport, what with children, who are inserted in the passport of their parents, or in the case of refugees, who never had an Ukrainian passport? The Czech Ministry of Interior resists with all means to issue to those refugees, who do not have any Ukrainian documents (or documents of third countries), so called Czech Foreigner´s passports. Those refugees are sent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague, which does not issue passports (but only the Ukrainian Embassy in Warsaw in Poland). Und what about those refugees, who want to change from a visa of tolerance to a temporary protection? And what about those, who have a temporary protection in another EU-country (such titles are not affected by the new Czech rules), but who reside in the Czech Republic?
Apart from this, many question remain open after the changes in the Law No 65/2022 Sb., which seemed to me less changed than completely cancelled: is a change from a temporary protection in one EU-member State to another possible, for example from Poland to the Czech Republic, when reuniting with family members, like from wife v. husband or from minor children v. parents? And if yes, in which cases and to which conditions? And what happens with those refugees, who register accordingly until 31st March 2023, but whose temporary protections did not exist because of another reason, e.g. who had a title in another EU-member state, or who have applied for a Turkish, Canadian or another emigration visa or have already received such a visa?
Last but not least, the most important question remains completely open: what happens with those refugees, who miss the electronic registration until 31st March 2023? Their temporary protection vanishes already on the next day, on 1st April 2023, but no one is going to leave the Czech Republic or can possibly lease. But what happens then with those illegal refugees? They can hardly be deported to Ukraine lest the war will end. And unfortunately, this does not seem very likely to happen very soon.