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Christmas blog 2022

By Elles Besselsen and Danielle Snaathorst

Peace on Earth can it be?
Years from now, perhaps we’ll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of goodwill
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on Earth
Can it be

The song ‘Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy’ by Bing Crosby and David Bowie is one of the many Christmas songs dedicated to world peace. It is a subject often dwelled upon during the festive season. This year, unfortunately, it has not become any less topical either. 

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and a large part of the population had to flee their homes and travelled to neighbouring countries to get themselves to safety. On 4 March 222, the Council of the European Union unanimously adopted an implementing decision introducing temporary protection for persons fleeing Ukraine because of the war. This temporary protection aims to provide immediate and collective protection to displaced persons. Every person falling under the scope of temporary protection is entitled not only to reception, but also to medical care, employment, and education for minor children. The temporary protection provided immediate relief to the concerns of displaced persons from Ukraine, but it is not a residence permit with which rights can be built up. 

The invasion of Ukraine also affected our work. With dedication and compassion, we assisted clients affected by the war in Ukraine with their applications for residence permits or Dutch citizenship this year. Employers came into action for their Ukrainian employees; Dutch relatives of Ukrainians applied for family reunification; Ukrainians and Russians applied for Dutch citizenship; and artists from Ukraine and Russia continued their cultural work in the Netherlands.

One of them was the Ukrainian-Russian pianist who settled with his wife with his daughter and son-in-law in the Netherlands. It was not difficult to convince the state secretary of his cultural importance for the Netherlands in the procedure for a residence permit as an independent artist. The renowned pianist has been giving many concerts in the Netherlands for years and now opened a music school with his family for top talents here. From the Netherlands, he continued to teach his students in Ukraine and Russia. The war entered his living room through these lessons. Together with his daughter, he was also involved in several benefit concerts for Ukraine.

We also assisted the Russian prima ballerina of the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet who was critical of the war and left Russia to join the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam. Under normal circumstances, she would have had to wait for the approval of the residence permit application in Russia and enter the Netherlands with an entry visa (mvv). However, due to the war, this requirement was waived and she was allowed to wait for the approval of the application in the Netherlands and immediately pick up her residence document, so she could star in the performance Raymonda.

The National Ballet also welcomed Ukrainian dancers. And other cultural institutions and employers also hired refugees from Ukraine. If they are covered by the Temporary Protection Directive, they are allowed to work without a work permit. They get a certificate of residence from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service after registering with the municipality. The employer only has an obligation to notify the Dutch labour authority (UWV).

Live in peace, live in peace again

Together with artists from Ukraine and Russia now living in the Netherlands, the cultural sector organised several benefit performances for aid to victims of the war in Ukraine. Whether art can lead to world peace is questionable, but it does bring a sense of togetherness, solidarity, power and comfort.

Peace on Earth
Can it be

Are you from Ukraine and/or working in the creative sector and do you have questions about your options for residence in the Netherlands? If so, please contact us.

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