With the Directive on Displaced Persons, which came into force on March 12th, 2022, the Austrian federal government has precisely specified and determined the group of persons who are particularly in need of temporary protection as displaced persons in connection with the war in Ukraine. Accordingly, Ukrainian citizens residing in Ukraine and who have been displaced from Ukraine as a result of the armed conflict as of February 24th, 2022, as well as their family members, among others, are granted a temporary right of residence in Austria (initially until March 3rd, 2023). The persons concerned will be issued an ID card for displaced persons after registration.
But what about those Ukrainians who were traveling in the EU for professional or private reasons on February 24th, 2022 and who nevertheless were also unable to return to Ukraine?
For those who happened to be in Austria at the time of the outbreak of war on February 24th, 2022, the following applies: After the expiration of the visa-free stay (or, if applicable, the visa-required stay), they are also entitled to the ID card for displaced persons. But if the concerned persons have a visa from another Member State at the same time, in practice, what happens is that often they get informed (partly only by phone) that the temporary protection status cannot be granted and that they may only apply for asylum instead. As a result, many of the concerned persons do not receive a decision on whether they were entitled to receive the ID card for displaced persons and are thus excluded from receiving basic care services (“Grundversorgung”).
Others who, at the time of the outbreak of the war on February 24th, 2022, were in the EU for professional reasons but not (yet) in Austria, are not covered by this provision at all and are currently also denied the ID card for displaced persons, even though these persons cannot return to their home country because of the conflict that has broken out. Apparently, they are currently not considered "displaced from Ukraine as of February 24th, 2022". The administrative courts will now have to decide whether these persons are or are not to be considered as being displaced from Ukraine, simply because they happened to be staying in another Member State on 24th February 2022 for private reasons and only travelled to Austria afterwards.
Thus, barely half a year after the Directive on Displaced Persons came into force, there is considerable legal uncertainty. This has even led some Ukrainians to travel back to Ukraine in order to re-enter Austria, in order to be considered "displaced" from Ukraine as of February 24th, 2022. Such a migratory movement can hardly have been intended by the political decision-makers when the Directive on Displaced Persons was enacted.