20 April 2022
Leaving Ukraine – 4 of 11 Insights
All Ukrainian citizens with a valid biometric passport are allowed to enter Germany without the requirement of a visa. Ukrainian citizens who do not hold a biometric passport need a visa. However, at least Poland has allowed Ukrainian citizens without a biometric passport to enter its country and according to the German federal ministry of the interior representatives of the German embassies in Poland and the other EU border countries of Ukraine are at the borders to assist with visa applications.
Generally, for a maximum period of 90 days (within any 180-day rolling period) without a visa. However, the federal ministry of the interior has announced that it is possible for Ukrainian citizens to apply for an extension of this period by another 90 days without any specific requirements. This means that Ukrainian citizens who want to stay in Germany for more than 90 days would need to contact the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) and apply for the extension, which will then be granted.
Apart from the possibilities to apply for a work permit which would allow an extended stay (please see below), there is the possibility to apply for asylum. However, this process is rather complicated. Therefore, to be able to help Ukrainian citizens in a non-bureaucratic manner, the EU commission met on Thursday March 3, 2022 and decided to activate the EU Directive 2001/55/EG of July 20, 2001. This Directive allows the EU member states to apply a swifter approach to allow Ukrainian refugees a longer stay in the countries.
According to the Directive, temporary protection shall apply to
Individuals covered by this Directive do not need a residence permit until May 23, 2022, so that they can consider whether to apply for a residence permit for temporary protection under § 24 AufenthG or another residence permit, e.g. to attend university or to attend vocational training in Germany.
Usually, the residence permit for temporary protection would not allow Ukrainian citizens to pick up work in Germany. To be able to do that, an exceptional approval or a work permit needs to be obtained. However, the federal government has instructed the foreigners authorities that when a residence permit is issued, even if no concrete employment relationship is in prospect, it should be entered in the residence title that employment is permitted. Also, the authorities are instructed to issue a fictional certificate which proves the protected status and the right to work immediately upon application.
The permit will typically be granted for one year and can be extended to a maximum of three years. It is necessary to apply for this permit at the local foreigners authority, which can be found in the BAMF-NAvI directory at https://bamf-navi.bamf.de/de/Themen/Behoerden
Ukrainian nationals can also apply for any other residence permit under German law which would permit a stay for more than the three years. In light of the current situation it is possible for Ukrainian nationals to apply for a work or other residence permit (e.g. to attend university or to attend vocational training) in Germany with the local immigration office.
The German rail service provider “Deutsche Bahn” announced a free usage of all personal railway transport from Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria to Berlin, Dresden, Nuremberg and Munich for all Ukrainians; the proof of their citizenship (e.g. passport) may be required. The timetables of all trains in Germany are available on https://www.bahn.com/en.
To continue the journey, every Ukrainian can get a free "helpukraine" ticket valid in 2nd class at a Deutsche Bahn Travel Centre (“DB Reisezentrum”) or at a DB agency by showing the Ukrainian passport or ID card to the ticket inspector on the train upon request. This ticket is valid on all long-distance trains or local and regional trains. It can also be used to get to destinations outside of Germany like Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France (ICE, TGV and Thalys), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia, and the Alto Adige/South Tyrol region of Italy if it is reached by a Eurocity train going to Verona, Bologna or Venice.
All local busses, trains or subways can be used with only a passport or ID Card.
Domestic and local NGOs provide free shuttle transport from the border to selected transport hubs or final destinations.
The federal states of Germany revive their infrastructure from 2015 to allow it to cater for a greater number of asylum seekers. Every Ukrainian refugee that applies for the tolerated residency on the grounds of temporary refuge or for asylum will be provided with accommodation, food as well as urgent medical care in one of those initial accommodation centres for refugees.
Besides that, there are many individuals and organisations in Germany and other States of the EU that have voluntarily offered their accommodation. Further information can be found at https://www.germany4ukraine.de/hilfeportal-en/where-to-stay.
Asylum seekers in Germany receive benefits in kind to cover their necessary needs like clothes and food as well as an access to the healthcare system. For this purpose, registration takes place e.g. in reception centres or foreigners’ authorities.
There is an entitlement to health care benefits (§§ 4, 6 AsylbLG) which guarantees the necessary health care. In these cases, the assumption of the costs for medical care may also include the costs for transport and transfer to other hospitals in Germany, as this is necessary for medical reasons in the individual case.
A treatment certificate (“Behandlungsschein”) is needed for the medical treatment at a doctor’s office. The competent social welfare office issues these treatment certificates. In some federal states, the local health insurance companies also issue treatment certificates.
In some federal states, refugees can also receive an electronic health card (“elektronische Gesundheitskarte”) instead of a treatment certificate. This permanently replaces the treatment certificate and is presented at every visit to the doctor. This allows refugees to see a doctor immediately.
From June 1, 2022, Ukrainian citizens will receive benefits in accordance with SGB II or SGB XII as a basic state benefit (“Hartz IV”) which means, they will receive higher benefits and wider health care, covered by the statutory health insurance. Contributions to the statutory health insurance are covered by the job center.
In addition, the job center covers the costs for an apartment. However, refugees do not have a free choice of housing. Depending on the situation and the specific city, the authorities can provide collective housing.
The federal government has instructed the foreigners authorities that when a residence permit is issued, even if no concrete employment relationship is in prospect, it should be entered in the residence title that employment is permitted.
Apart from the possibility that an exception is being granted, there are various legal bases to obtain a work-permit depending on the role to work in and the qualification of the applicant. A pre-requisite for such application is a job offer from a company which has its seat or at least a physical presence in Germany.
There are residence permits available for so-called skilled workers. These are employees who have completed university studies or vocational training which are considered to be equivalent to German studies or vocational training. There are also residence permits available for other occupations, in particular such occupations where a shortage of qualified personnel has been identified by the Government, e.g. in the IT Sector or for truck drivers.
From June 1, 2022, Ukrainian citizens will receive benefits under SGB II or SGB XII as basic state security (“Hartz IV”). Refugees from Ukraine will thus be able to take up work in Germany immediately.
They will receive support in integrating into the labor market and will have a central point of contact for their needs in the form of the job centers run by the federal agency for work.
We advise to have a look at the website of the federal agency for work: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/jobsuche/
Furthermore, private organisations are building websites especially to connect Ukrainian immigrants with employers offering work.
The minimum gross hourly salary is currently EUR 9.82 per hour and will be raised to EUR 10.45 per hour as of July 1, 2022. The German government has decided that the minimum salary shall be raised to EUR 12 per hour as of October 1, 2022. However, the raise as of October still has to pass the parliament.
A variety of Ukrainian diplomas is already recognized as equivalent to German diplomas. An overview can be found here: https://anabin.kmk.org/no_cache/filter/hochschulabschluesse.html.
The same is true for vocational training. The overview can be found here: https://anabin.kmk.org/no_cache/filter/berufsabschluesse-public.html
If the diploma or vocational training is not listed, recognition can be applied for with the ZAB: https://www.kmk.org/zab/zentralstelle-fuer-auslaendisches-bildungswesen.html.
Public schools provide primary and secondary education free of charge. The children of asylum seekers and temporary refuge seekers are entitled to attend public schools in Germany.
All children living in Germany are required to attend school. They must go to school for at least nine years from the age of six. Children with disabilities or special educational needs are also able to attend school. The competent education authority is responsible for deciding on the enrolment of newly immigrated children. They may also enrol intra-year.
Asylum seekers and temporary refuge seekers may request a school director to find a class for their child. The school director is obliged to find one within a period of three months from submission of the application for asylum or temporary refuge, reflecting the education completed by the child so far and his or her command of the German language.
General information for refugees on where the German language may be learned or where and how they can get in touch with authorities: https://bamf-navi.bamf.de/en/
Mr. Jonas Warnken (+49 40 368030)
Ms. Karolina Lange-Kulmann (+49 211 83870)
8 April 2022
Update from 23 March 2022
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20 April 2022
by Karolina Lange-Kulmann, LL.M. (Medizinrecht), Jonas Warnken
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by multiple authors
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