News1.1 million Ukrainian refugees in Germany encounter the employment challenge

1.1 million Ukrainian refugees in Germany encounter the employment challenge

"Bild" reports that one in five refugees from Ukraine works in Germany.
"Bild" reports that one in five refugees from Ukraine works in Germany.
Images source: © Getty Images | SOPA Images

9:43 AM EDT, May 5, 2024

Currently, Germany hosts 1.1 million Ukrainian war refugees. Yet, only every fifth one among them is employed, with the rest receiving benefits, as reported by the German news outlet "Bild".

"Bild" reveals that out of the refugees, 716,000 are of working age, but only 21 percent, or approximately 113,000 Ukrainians, have found employment that contributes to social security.

The tabloid engaged with Ukrainians living in Germany to find out why they hadn't entered the workforce.

"The benefits here are very good, and we feel comfortable in Germany. I do intend to find work at some point," shared Marharyta Timofieiera with the newspaper.

"I'm arranging a kindergarten place for my son soon. Then I plan to attend a language school. Afterward, I'd like to resume my work as a confectioner. My husband remains in Ukraine, working there and sending money whenever he can," explained 31-year-old Anastasiia.

"The German employment office only offers low-paying, simple jobs. Honestly: it's not worth it! I'm not motivated by such jobs," Yurii expressed to "Bild".

Last year, a report by the EWL platform and the Eastern Europe Studies at the University of Warsaw indicated that 59 percent of individuals moving from nearby Poland to Germany were not employed in Poland. Among the surveyed group, 31 percent secured employment in Germany. Only 13 percent consider returning to Poland, while 38 percent rule out such a possibility.

Distinguishing between refugees and economic migrants

Yurij Grygorenko, the chief analyst at the Gremi Personal Analytical Center, emphasized that 25 percent of Ukrainians who arrived in Poland about two years ago are refugees who fled immediately after the full-scale war commenced.

"In public discussions, refugees are often conflated with economic migrants, which is misleading because these groups have completely different life priorities and future plans. The decision to emigrate is personal, yet countries implement various strategies to promote settlement, such as Germany's recent initiatives to shorten the residency requirement for citizenship or Canada's focus on attracting specialized talent," Grygorenko clarified.

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