Why are Ukrainian refugees being given a living allowance?

Many Ukrainians are fleeing from war in their country. More and more refugees are arriving in the Netherlands too. Municipalities are organising support for these people, together with (local) partners and volunteers. They are also responsible for paying the living allowances. That task is laid down by law. Ukrainian refugees can use the living allowance to pay for their essential expenses, such as food, drink, clothing and personal care.

How can Ukrainian refugees apply for the living allowance?

The Regional Benefits Office (Regionale Sociale Dienst) will send an invitation to attend an intake interview to Ukrainians who are currently living in municipal or private accommodation. They can apply for the living allowance during this interview. We will also continue to hold weekly consultations at the refugee centres, so that newcomers can also apply for the living allowance. The municipal coordinators will register them for this.To apply for a living allowance, refugees must bring the following documents for themselves and each family member under the age of 18:

  • a copy of their registration with the municipality.
  • their social security numbers (BSN) and that of their children.
  • their own and their children’s passport or temporary proof of identity. A certificate from the consulate will suffice for this.
  • a bank account number at a Dutch bank, with a debit card. The living allowance will be deposited into this bank account. Ukrainians cannot get their living allowance in cash. Those who do not have a Dutch bank account can get a prepaid bank card from the Regional Benefits Office. 

How much living allowance can Ukrainian refugees get?

  • Each person is given €55 per month for clothing and personal expenses.
  • In addition to this, the living allowance for those in the municipal refugee centre amounts to €205 per person per month. This money is intended for buying food if the person concerned has to provide their own meals.
  • If the person concerned is living with a host family, then, besides the living allowance, the person is given a monthly housing allowance of €215 per adult and €55 per child up to the age of 17.
  • Children aged 18 years and above are given their own living allowance.

For how long will Ukrainian refugees be given a living allowance?

Per 1 July 2022, the living allowance scheme has been extended and continues unchanged until and including 30 September 2022. 

How are Ukrainian refugees given their living allowance?

Living allowances are paid into a bank account at a Dutch bank. Ukrainians can go to a bank and open an account based on proof of registration in the municipality, a social security number and an ID. A bankcard is then sent by post within a few days, as is the PIN code.

When are Ukrainian refugees given a living allowance?

Once it has been established that a person is entitled to a living allowance, he or she will receive the first amount several days later. From then on, the living allowance will always be credited to the respective person’s account at the beginning of the month (on about the tenth day at the latest).

From what age are Ukrainian refugees given a living allowance?

Ukrainians aged 18 and over are entitled to a living allowance. Once they reach this age, they have to apply for the allowance themselves.

Do families hosting Ukrainian refugees also get a contribution towards the costs?

No. However, they can ask the refugees to contribute towards household expenses. But refugees are not obliged to contribute, but they can do so voluntarily.

What obligations do Ukrainian refugees have if they are given a living allowance?

They must inform the authorities if their situation changes. This mainly concerns the following changes:

  • starting or stopping work;
  • changes to the composition of family;
  • moving house, be it to another refugee centre or to another municipality.

How can Ukrainian refugees inform the authorities if there is a change in their situation?

They can do so using a change form. The form is issued when they apply for a living allowance. It is also available at the municipal refugee centres and at the Regional Benefits Office (Regionale Sociale Dienst).

Who is paying for living allowances for Ukrainian refugees?

Central government is paying the costs.  

For municipalities

Are municipalities allowed to issue living allowances if refugees are not yet registered in the Persons Database (BRP)?

If refugees are being accommodated in a municipal refugee centre, municipalities may, in anticipation of registering in the Persons Database, make a note that they are issuing living allowances, so that they can later reconcile their records once the refugees have been registered in the Persons Database. The persons concerned do have to be registered, but not necessarily in the Persons Database initially. However, they do have to be registered in the Persons Database to receive a living allowance for private accommodation.

Do refugees who are accommodated privately have to be registered in the Persons Database?

Yes, it is obligatory to register in the Persons Database as soon as possible.

Is it mandatory for Ukrainian refugees to be registered in the Persons Database?

Yes, if Ukrainians are staying in the Netherlands, they are obliged to register. However, given their situation, we are not enforcing the obligation to register within five working days of arrival.

Can Ukrainians with an expired Ukrainian ID (passport, ID card, domestic ID) be registered in the Persons Database?

Yes, that is permitted. We recommend being lenient in this respect. However, the photo on the document must correspond with the person recording their residence and address.

Should the living allowance be deducted if the refugee is earning an income from work?

No, but income from work is a reason to stop the living allowance. This also applies to minor income, such as earnings from doing a paper round. Refugees must report this income to the municipality. The living allowance will stop on the first day of the following month. Family members who are not in paid employment will still get their living allowance. The current living allowance is valid for three months. The government is working on a scheme for the long term. In addition, any allowance paid out without proper grounds will be reclaimed.

Questions about work

Are Ukrainians permitted to work?

Yes, refugees from Ukraine are allowed to work in paid employment. Since 1 April 2022, they are no longer required to apply for a special permit. If refugees from Ukraine start work, they have to take out health insurance. Consult the government’s special website regularly for current developments concerning insurances. More information about the reimbursement of medical care expenses is available on the health insurance line website(externe link).

What does a Ukrainian refugee need to be able to work?

To be able to work, refugees need a social security number (BSN). So only refugees who are registered in the Persons Database are allowed to work. As it stands now, refugees from Ukraine are not allowed to work as self-employed persons. For more information, click on the website of the Central Government(externe link).

What if a refugee from Ukraine does not have Ukrainian nationality?

Refugees from Ukraine who do not have Ukrainian nationality have to apply for a work permit. Those who can prove that they fall under the special rules for refugees from Ukraine (temporary protection) can work without a permit. These special rules apply to people without Ukrainian nationality who had international or national protection in Ukraine or had a valid residence permit for Ukraine as of 23 February 2022.

Where can you find work as a Ukrainian refugee?

There are various organisations that can help to find work. For instance:

Are Ukrainian refugees allowed to study in the Netherlands?

At this point in time, there are no special rules for refugees from Ukraine who would like to study. They have to pay the same tuition fees and are subject to the same admission requirements as before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. This may change in the future, but the government has not yet announced anything on this matter. However, money has been made available for Ukrainian students who were already studying in the Netherlands on a student visa. More information about education and free courses is available on the refugee help website(externe link).

Do Ukrainian refugees get less money if they start working?

Yes. The living allowance stops when paid employment starts. This also applies to minor income, such as earnings from doing a paper round. Refugees must report this to the municipality. The living allowance will stop on the first day of the following month. Family members who are not in paid employment will still get their living allowance.

How about health insurance and tax regulations?

Change in Health Insurance

The Medical Care for Displaced Persons Regulation has been in effect since 1 July 2022. The Dutch government has decided that this regulation also applies to displaced persons who work in the Netherlands and who therefore have an insurance obligation. More information is provided here (externe link)and here(externe link).

Here you can find detailed information in Dutch, English, Ukrainian and Russian. On this site, you can also view frequently asked questions and the answers to these questions.

Change in Tax Regulations

You may be entitled to extra allowance(s). More information on this is provided on the website(externe link) of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst).

For employers

What must an employer do when appointing a Ukrainian refugee?

From 15 April onwards, employers are obliged to report to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) that they are employing a Ukrainian refugee. Report this at least two working days before the person concerned starts work.
Employers can get more information and guidance concerning employing refugees from Ukraine from the
Central Utrecht employers’ service desk. For more information, click on the Midden-Utrecht Werkt Door website or get in touch with: work@muwd.nl, +31 6 11 14 90 80.

What if the Ukrainian refugee was already employed before 15 April?

There was a transitional period for employers until 15 April 2022. Until then, they could still inform the UWV about the employment of a refugee who had been employed since 4 March 2022. For more information about applying for a work permit, visit this web page(externe link).

Why do employers of Ukrainian refugees not need to have work permits?

On 4 March, the EU implemented the Temporary Protection Directive. This means that people fleeing the war in Ukraine are given protection in European Union Member States. Under the Temporary Protection Directive, Ukrainian refugees have access to the jobs market without requiring a work permit. As the employer, you do need to register your new employee with the UWV in good time.

What if a Ukrainian refugee does not have all the identity documents?

Not all refugees have a document from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. That is why all Ukrainians who can prove their nationality based on a different document, for instance, a passport, are exempt from this requirement until 30 May 2022.