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11 Aug. 2023

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Why has the migration of Ukrainians been beneficial for EU countries and what have Europe learned from it?

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Why has the migration of Ukrainians been beneficial for EU countries and what have Europe learned from it?

The EU's response to the influx of refugees from Ukraine holds important lessons for European policy makers. Find out what the European Council sees as the benefits of Ukrainian migration and why Ukrainians have been useful for Europe

An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside your home country
An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside your home country
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The flow of Ukrainian refugees to Europe at the beginning of russia's full-scale invasion revealed the EU's capacity to accept large numbers of refugees and showed the benefits of a humane approach to migrants. At the same time, this was in sharp contrast to the reaction to the migration of citizens from other countries. This was reported by the author of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

So, why Ukrainian refugees were called useful for Europe and what lessons and conclusions can be drawn from the EU's response to migration from Ukraine, we will analyze further in the article.


EU's response to refugees from Ukraine and other countries: what is the difference?


According to the author, Europe's reaction to russia's invasion of Ukraine was united, fast and massive. In particular, it concerns the approach to accepting Ukrainian refugees:

"Ten days after the invasion, the EU unanimously adopted a new law granting temporary protection to Ukrainian citizens fleeing the country, activating the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time since its adoption in 2001. To be registered under the protection scheme, Ukrainian asylum seekers only need to present an ID card or passport," the author writes.


At the same time, the flow of refugees from other countries is beginning to grow again, but migrants must undergo strict procedures and checks at the EU's external borders, in particular to establish their right to enter. Border guards can detain refugees for up to 6 months, and then turn them back and prevent them from crossing the border.

Therefore, the author believes that the response to the flow of refugees from Ukraine contains important lessons for the EU government and demonstrates the benefits of a humane approach to accepting refugees. So, what are these lessons?


Europe can accept a large number of refugees 


In about a year and a half, EU countries have accepted about 6 million refugees from Ukraine. The largest number of Ukrainians was sheltered by Poland, which began preparing to receive refugees even before the russian invasion, due to the increased level of tension on the Ukrainian-russian border. Thus, Poland has provided temporary protection to 1.5 million Ukrainians. Germany is in second place, having accepted 960 thousand refugees. The third and fourth places are occupied by Italy and Spain, which provided temporary protection to about 186 thousand Ukrainians.

In addition, refugees from Ukraine were given the opportunity to enter the EU without long checks, and then find housing and employment. Thus, the first lesson is that Europe can mobilize and accommodate a large number of refugees if there is a need.




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Work permits for refugees are also beneficial for the host country


Temporary protection grants Ukrainians the right to legal employment, and a year after the full-scale invasion began, about 40% of refugees from Ukraine were working in Europe.


This not only benefits the migrants themselves, who integrate into new communities, but also benefits the host country. Thus, according to the European Commission, 13% of key workers in the EU in 2020 (during the Covid-19 pandemic) were migrants. In addition, refugees accounted for 70% of the growth in the European labor force over the past 10 years and paid more taxes and social contributions than they received in benefits.


The European Council author also notes that there are many vacant jobs in Europe that can be filled by migrants. For example, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the new EU Talent Pool initiative, which helped Ukrainian refugees find jobs in the EU, offered more than 3 million vacancies.


Read more about which professions require the most workers in Europe in 2023 here.


Cross-sectoral engagement reduces pressure on refugee host countries


The EU's efforts to integrate refugees from Ukraine have shown a high level of efficiency in cross-sectoral cooperation and joint management in service delivery. In other words, the EU has worked directly with national governments and humanitarian organizations to enable them to effectively provide integration services to Ukrainians. These include education, healthcare, employment, and housing.

For example, in the summer of 2022, the European Investment Bank approved a €2 billion loan to the National Assistance Fund of Poland, which provided a comprehensive package of services (goods, medical care, social benefits, and education) for refugee reception centers. And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development provided Ukrainians with the opportunity to learn the language online. In other words, international humanitarian organizations organically complement the EU's efforts.


"The EU's response to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees was warm, proper and humane. We have seen that a humane approach is not only possible, but can also benefit host countries, especially when EU institutions, national governments, international organizations and civil society work together. This should be the starting point for the EU to develop a more humane approach to migration," concludes the author of the European Council on Foreign Relations.


We remind you! The dynamics of foreign citizens crossing the Ukrainian border is constantly changing. We found out how many foreigners crossed the border in both directions and for what purpose, as well as how the number of refusals to enter Ukraine has changed in an interview with Andrii Demchenko, a representative of the Border Guard Service.


Photo: Canva




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Visit Ukraine Tickets - book tickets for buses, trains, and airplanes to/from Ukraine and between cities around the world;

Private Lawyer service - professional legal support on visa and migration issues;

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