In the Justice and Home Affairs council on Thursday, 3 March 2022, the European Council invoked the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) for Ukrainian refugees. The decision was taken unanimously by all EU member states.
The TPD applies to all native Ukrainians living in Ukraine on 24 February 2022. They will be granted housing, family reunification, education, and employment. The TPD also includes social and medical care.
Upon request from some member states, the TPD does not automatically apply to third-country nationals with legal residence in the country. Both long-term and short-term foreigners will get safe passage into the European Union. What happens after that seems to be dependent on the country. Some states might want them to leave for their region or country of origin while other states might treat them the same as Ukrainian refugees. Further details will follow in the next few days.
Ukrainians were already allowed to stay in the European Union for a maximum of 90 days. Under the TPD, they can stay for at least a year. Adults will be allowed to apply for jobs and kids can go to school. This categorical protection for people fleeing a particular area or country is really unique. The TPD, although adopted in 2001, has never been used before.