Meeting of the Chamber of Deputies – illustrative photo.
Prague – Support for refugees from Ukraine may change. The conditions for entitlement to a humanitarian benefit, which should be more targeted, should be tightened from July. 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. This is presupposed by an amendment to the laws called lex Ukraine, which was supported by the House of Representatives in today's preliminary round. As of April, the draft will transfer assistance centers for assistance to 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 and simplify obtaining the qualification of a speech therapist.
The amendment will now be assessed by members of the social committee. The opinion is to be given to the plenum in a shortened period of two days instead of the usual 60. In the second reading, the House of Representatives could discuss the draft as early as Friday.
Member of the SPD opposition movement Lucie Šafránková described the proposed changes as a “step forward”. However, according to Jana Pastuchová (ANO), the administrative burden of labor offices will increase. The MP from the opposition movement also expects problems with determining the property status of Ukrainians.
The right to a humanitarian benefit and its amount will depend on the first five months after the grant of temporary protection from the living wage. 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. The changes are intended to increase the share of Ukrainians in covering their living costs and contribute to their integration into society.
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. Deductible housing costs set by the government will also play a role. 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. Now this subsidy is up to 9,000 crowns depending on the number of refugees. The state will no longer send money to those accommodation providers who gave Ukrainians an entire apartment to live in. Now they can get up to 15,000 crowns a month.
Currently, the monthly humanitarian allowance for the first half of the year amounts to 5,000 crowns per person, after which it corresponds to the living wage. The authorities ascertain the social, income and property situation of the applicant. Newly, according to preliminary calculations in the explanatory report, the monthly allowance for a mother with an income of 20,000 crowns and two children over ten years of age would be 3,840 crowns for the first month. To a mother with the same income and two children under the age of ten, the state would pay 3,506 crowns after half a year. A mother with an income of 15,000 crowns and a five-year-old child staying in the Czech Republic for a long time and living in a hostel would receive 550 crowns.
The current amendment will also limit the time refugees can stay in free emergency accommodation. They will be able to use such dwellings for a maximum of 150 days, the so-called vulnerable persons will get an exception. According to the amendment, refusal of the offered accommodation or leaving it for more than ten days without the knowledge of the operator will be considered as the expiry of the paid period. For example, these will be small investments to eliminate defects that prevent the apartment from being rented. The government justifies the proposed simplification of obtaining a qualification in the field of speech therapy by the growth in demand for these services in connection with the influx of child refugees.