Appeal regarding the extension of exemption from diploma recognition for Ukrainian psychologists: the latest updates from The Ombudsman (RPO)

On August 24, 2023, the law allowing psychologists and psychiatrists from Ukraine to provide their services in Poland without the need for diploma recognition expired. In the face of this significant event, at the initiative of our foundation, over 130 social organizations submitted an appeal to the Commissioner for Human Rights, requesting urgent intervention. Here are the latest updates on the progress in this matter.

You can find the content and description of the campaign here: Call for Intervention Regarding the Crisis in Providing Psychological Assistance to the Citizens of Ukraine

First Successes

On August 29, we received an official response from the Commissioner for Human Rights / The Ombudsman. In the letter, the Commissioner confirmed that our demand had been noticed by the legislator and incorporated into a new draft law. The plan was to extend the possibility of providing psychological services by Ukrainian citizens for another 7 months without the need for diploma recognition. Additionally, the Commissioner for Human Rights committed to monitoring the legislative process and taking appropriate actions if needed.

Senate Rejects the Bill

On September 6, the Senate decided to dismiss the bill that included an amendment extending the right to practice for psychologists from Ukraine. According to the decision, the proposal must go back to the Sejm (lower house of the Polish Parliament). The Senate’s proposed changes regarding the extension of the right to provide services for psychologists remain a binding proposition. The rejection of the bill in its current form was due to formal reservations that did not concern the provisions of interest to us in Article 64a of the Act of March 12, 2022, on assistance to citizens of Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict in that country.

Our Appeal Reaches the Ministry of Interior and Administration (MSWiA)

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After the Commissioner for Human Rights (RPO) expressed support for our appeal to intervene in the crisis of providing psychological assistance to Ukrainian citizens, and subsequently, the Senate rejected the bill, we decided to once again approach the Ombudsman. In response on September 20, Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Stanisław Trociuk, attached the content of the appeal and sent a letter to the Minister of Interior and Government Plenipotentiary for War Refugees from Ukraine, Paweł Szefernaker, as well as the Minister of Health, Katarzyna Sójka.

You can find more information on this topic here: Our appeal reaches the Ministry of Interior and Administration. The Ombudsman’s intervention regarding psychological support for Ukrainian citizens

Latest Updates from the Ombudsman’s Office

On November 14, we received two letters from the Constitutional, International, and European Law Team at the Commissioner for Human Rights Office. In the first letter, Paweł Szefernaker, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, informed the Ombudsman that the Ministry of Health recognizes the justification for extending the right to provide psychological services for psychologists from Ukraine without the need for diploma recognition. He emphasized that “appropriate legislative solutions will be prepared in the event of a possible amendment to the relevant law.” In the second letter addressed to the president of our foundation, Monika Miłowska, Acting Director of the Constitutional, International, and European Law Team at the Ombudsman’s Office, Marcin Malecko, assured that “the Commissioner will monitor the matter, and in particular, after the formation of a new government, will consider reiterating their stance on the issue.”

We appreciate the commitment of the Ombudsman’s Office and all the organizations that supported our appeal. Although the matter of extending the exemption from diploma recognition for Ukrainian psychologists is still ongoing, there are positive indications toward its resolution. We are monitoring the situation and will keep you informed of any further developments.

Below, we provide the full text of the latest letters from the Ombudsman’s Office regarding our appeal (in Polish), and we recommend them for your attention!