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WOLEP Webinars addressed a momentous topic: "Migration to the EU: Grounds for relocation in peacetime and mechanisms applicable in emergency situations"

A third installment of our WOLEP Webinars series saw Mr. Kristian Kalchev, member of the Sofia Bar Association and of the WOLEP network take on the subject of "Migration to the EU: Grounds for relocation in peacetime and mechanisms applicable in emergency situations". The webinar was held on Tuesday, May 31, and welcomed WOLEP members across the globe.

In his very well-thought presentation, Mr. Kalchev, a specialist in Immigration Law, Labor Law, Corporate and Commercial Law, provided an overview of the legal provisions in place both for peacetime and emergency situations such as displacement of persons as a result of armed conflicts. He specifically addressed the grounds for relocation in peacetime pursuant to the Bulgarian national legislation, providing comments on the migration regime applicable to EU nationals and the members of their families, and also on the grounds for relocation applicable to nationals of third countries (non-EU nationals) and the members of their families.

Moreover, Mr. Kalchev's webinar shone light on the mechanisms applicable in emergency situations – the Temporary Protection Directive and its activation. The subtopics in question were the distinction between temporary protection and other types of protection (asylum, refugee status, humanitarian status), but also the activation of the temporary protection regime in the EU and the practical issues that arise from the incompatibility between temporary protection and other grounds for residence.

„These two categories - refugees and persons under temporary protection - should not be conflated”

One key takeaway from this edition of the WOLEP Webinars was that Bulgarian law provides for several different types of protection granted to foreigners, namely asylum, international protection (divided into refugee status and humanitarian status) and temporary protection. According to Mr. Kalchev "the regime of temporary protection differs from the other types of protection granted to foreigners, in that it is specifically designed to be applied in the event of a mass influx  of displaced persons who have left their country of origin as a consequence of an armed conflict". Using as a case study the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, our WOLEP expert noted that "persons under temporary protection - in the present circumstances these are Ukrainian nationals and residents fleeing the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine - are usually mistakenly called refugees, especially in mass media. This is wrong, and these two categories - refugees and persons under temporary protection - should not be conflated."

The subsequent Q&A session provided the WOLEP members a chance to further the topic under discussion but also to share knowledge and legal insights, with WOLEP member Mrs. Sonia Pasquali from Italy stating that she noticed how "Bulgarian immigration law is very, very similar to the Italian one. It's been a while since I've been dealing with immigration law, but this webinar gave me the chance to getting back to my practice in my apprentice years". In his response, Mr. Kalchev emphasized that "some of the grounds [for relocation], such as the EU Blue Card, are obviously unified and applied in an uniform manner across the EU".

The WOLEP Webinars continue, with an announcement of future events to be issued to members in due time.

Care to be a speaker at a WOLEP Webinar and showcase your expertise to your peers on a topic relevant to your professional practice? Contact the WOLEP team now to express your availability! Apply today, places are limited!

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