Meeting of the Chamber of Deputies – illustrative photo.
Prague – Proposed changes in support for refugees from Ukraine are pending approval in the House of Representatives. In today's second reading, deputies submitted a pair of amendments. The opposition ANO wants to cancel the expected expansion of the possibilities of obtaining the qualification of a speech therapist, the provision is a so-called sticker. The coalition suggested specifying the scope of Ukrainians' assets, which will play a role in assessing the right to a humanitarian benefit and its amount. Deputies will vote on the form of the draft at the next meeting, which will begin in the second half of February.
The amendment to the laws called lex Ukraine in particular tightens the conditions for entitlement to a humanitarian benefit from July, which should be more targeted. The payment of the so-called solidarity allowance for accommodation of Ukrainians with temporary protection in households and the conditions of free emergency accommodation are also awaiting adjustments. According to the government, the changes are intended to increase the share of Ukrainians in covering their living expenses and contribute to their integration into society. As early as April, the proposal is to transfer the assistance centers to help Ukraine from the regions to the Ministry of the Interior. In addition, it will also enact, for example, the registration of all employment agreements of Ukrainian refugees.
The government proposed expanding the possibilities of obtaining the qualification of a speech therapist due to the growth in demand for these services in connection with the influx of child refugees. However, according to the group of ANO MPs led by Ivana Mádlová, this would lead to a “reduction in demands for the performance of the profession”.
According to the amendment, the right to a humanitarian benefit and its amount will depend on the subsistence minimum for the first five months after the grant of temporary protection. After this time, the entitlement and the amount of the benefit will be linked according to the draft to the subsistence minimum, with the exception of people who, for example, cannot work due to age, caring for a small child, disability or studies. When assessing the entitlement to the benefit and its amount, the authorities will base it on the applicant's income in the Czech Republic and abroad and on his financial circumstances. However, an affidavit will still be possible. A group of coalition MPs led by Vít Kaňkovský (KDU-ČSL) suggested that ownership of property should be explicitly applied only to property in the Czech Republic.
Deductible housing costs determined by the government will also play a role in the amount of the benefit. This is related to the fact that the amendment will retain the possibility of a solidarity household allowance only for cases in which people accommodate refugees in their own homes. The state is no longer supposed to send money to those accommodation providers who gave Ukrainians an entire apartment to live in. Refugees have to pay their own expenses.
Currently, the monthly humanitarian benefit for the first half of the year is 5,000 crowns per person, after which it corresponds to the living wage. From the second month, the authorities determine the applicant's social, income and property situation.
The current amendment will also limit the time refugees can stay in free emergency accommodation. Such dwellings will be able to be used for a maximum of 150 days, so-called vulnerable persons will be exempted.
Amendments to the so-called lex Ukraine were the only point discussed by the deputies on the final day of the current regular meeting. Changes in the information obligation of collective investment funds or controversial changes in the election of television and radio councilors were no longer approved by the House of Representatives.