Third-country nationals who fled Ukraine when the full-scale Russian invasion began nearly two years ago can stay in the country until March 4, the Council of State has ruled.
The court struck out junior justice minister Eric van der Burg’s decision to end the rights of non-Ukrainians from last September.
It ordered the minister to revert to earlier guidelines that granted people who were living in Ukraine on temporary visas the same rights as Ukrainian citizens.
The decision affects around 2,900 people who had migrated to Ukraine to work or study before the war. The largest group are students from countries such as Nigeria, Morocco, Tanzania and India.
Immediately after the invasion on February 24, 2022, European Union’s member states agreed to offer Ukrainians and people with permanent residency in the country special refugee status, with immediate access to work, healthcare and education.
The Dutch government offered the same terms to those with temporary residency, but Van der Burg retracted the measure in July amid concerns that it was making the Netherlands too attractive for third-country nationals.
The Council of State said in its judgment that there was no legal basis for the minister to bring forward the date when their rights expired to September 2023.
The EU has since extended the protection for Ukrainians and permanent residents until March 4, 2025, but this does not apply to temporary nationals, the court said. They will have to return to Ukraine or their countries of origin after March 4 this year, or apply for asylum through the regular system.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation