There are already decisions on granting subsidiary protection to Ukrainian citizens who have applied for international protection in Poland.
Pursuant to the decision of the Head of the Office for Foreigners of June 13, 2022, case No. DPU.420.2377.2021 our client (citizen of Ukraine) and her family have been granted subsidiary protection in connection with existance of an international armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine, which threatens civilians. Their application for international protection was submitted in September 2021, while ex officio Head of the Office for Forigners took into account the circumstances related to the military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.
In the opinion of the Head of the Office for Foreigners, a serious threat to life or health will remain as long as the indicated military conflict continues on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, he found that the applicant was not able to take refuge in another part of Ukraine, as the entire territory of that country was subject to military operations.
According to the information obtained by the Association as part of access to public information from February 24, 2022 to June 21, 2022:
Head of the Office for Foreigners:
- issued 30 decisions on granting subsidiary protection to Ukrainian citizens;
- has not issued any decision granting refugee status or refusing to grant both refugee status and subsidiary protection to Ukrainian citizens;
Council for Refugees:
- issued 36 decisions (involving 63 persons) revoking the decision of the first instance body and referring the case for reconsideration in cases of Ukrainian citizens;
- has not issued any decision granting or refusing to grant refugee status or subsidiary protection to Ukrainian citizens.
It can be assumed that positive decisions on granting subsidiary protection will be issued to the majority of Ukrainian citizens in the near future of the armed conflict.
In the current situation, citizens of Ukraine meet the conditions for international protection (in particular subsidiary protection). Pursuant to Art. 15 of the Act of 13 June 2003 on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland (i.e. Journal of Laws of 2022, item 1264, as amended), a foreigner who does not meet the conditions for granting the refugee status is granted subsidiary protection where his return to his country of origin may expose him to a real risk of serious harm by:
1) a death sentence or execution,
2) torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,
3) serious and individual threat to life or health resulting from the widespread use of violence against the civilian population in a situation of international or internal armed conflict
– and because of this risk, he cannot or does not wish to benefit from the protection of his country of origin.
In line with the observed practice, also the administrative courts in cases for granting international protection to Ukrainian citizens who were brought before the courts before the start of the armed conflict in Ukraine take into account a significant change of factual circumstances in these cases and submit them for reconsideration by the administrative authorities. This obligation results from Art. 46 sec. 1 and 3 of Directive 2013/32 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (Procedural Directive).
International protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection) may be granted irrespective of whether the foreigner was staying in the country of origin at the time of the threat and escaped as a result of it, or whether he was staying in a safe country at that time, i.e. refugee sur place, as provided for in Art. 17 sec. 1 above the law. Therefore, the right to international protection is also granted to those Ukrainian citizens who lived in Poland before February 24, 2022.