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The EU Temporary Protection Directive in Practice 2022


The Russian Federation military offensive in Ukraine has triggered unprecedented displacement across Europe, with approximately 4.9 million refugees from Ukraine as of 13 June 202221 . While the majority of these refugees are hosted in countries neighbouring Ukraine, substantial numbers have progressively moved onwards within the European Union and elsewhere.

UNHCR has welcomed the decision to activate the Temporary Protection Directive in European Union Member States as one way to provide immediate protection from refoulement and basic standards of treatment for refugees, including access to accommodation, labour market, and social and health services. Temporary protection systems are considered complementary to the international refugee protection regime, being effectively used as an emergency response to the large-scale movement of asylum-seekers.

As of 13 June 2022, approximately 3.2 million individuals have registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe.

The application of temporary protection in Europe is unprecedented and its practical implementation demonstrates how to manage mass flows in a manner that provides recognition of international protection needs and guarantees swift access to safety, documentation and rights.

This initial non-exhaustive compilation of practices, drawing from examples of how Temporary Protection applications have been assessed, aims to provide guidance and inspiration to governmental and non-governmental actors on how protection and assistance needs may be assessed in a timely, fair and efficient manner.

The practices outlined in this paper are likely to generate efficiencies if they are extended beyond processing applications for Temporary Protection and are equally applied to asylum procedures. UNHCR has previously noted how the effective processing of asylum applications can be achieved through better system design, innovative tools and measures and practical responses to systemic challenges.

As this paper demonstrates, several of these approaches have been effectively deployed in the context of Temporary Protection, including enhanced registration, access to information on procedures, expedited issuance of documentation, systemic approaches with multiple service providers operating in a sequential manner (“under one roof”), increased use of technology and digitalization of systems including to lodge applications; as well as ensuring stronger linkages between status and rights.