The government will tighten rules for refugees from Ukraine

Jorge Silva

Refugees who receive free food and toiletries in accommodation should now not receive humanitarian benefits. Deputy Prime Minister Vít Rakušan (STAN) said this at a press conference after a government meeting on Wednesday to discuss the proposal.

“The humanitarian benefit will not be paid in cases where refugees have accommodation where they are provided with free food and other facilities. In principle, what we have said applies: If the state provides food, no benefit is paid,” said Rakušan.

Refugees are now entitled to CZK 5 000 in support of purchasing necessities to start their lives in the Czech Republic. They can also receive it repeatedly, if necessary, for another five months. However, they should prove that they need the support.

Critics and opposition politicians say some people are heading to the Czech Republic for their benefit. Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (STAN) and Labour Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) have previously said the measures are intended to prevent “benefit tourism.”

In addition, the amendment will extend the deadline for processing applications for temporary protection to 60 days and reduce the time by which refugees must report a change of residence from 15 days to three days.

Temporary protection applicants will now have to prove they have secured accommodation if they do not wish to find housing through regional assistance centers.

“The amendment also includes shortening the refugee’s entitlement to health insurance to 180 days,” Rakušan said after the cabinet meeting.