After fleeing warfare, Ukrainians battle to settle round Europe By Reuters


© Reuters. Ukrainian refugee Tatyana Bogkova, 32, embraces her daughter Eva, 4, within the flat they share with different Ukrainian refugees in Madrid, Spain, September 17, 2022. Bogkova, who left along with her daughter and mom upon Russia’s invasion of Ukraine whereas her husb


By Corina Pons and Catarina Demony

MADRID/LISBON (Reuters) – Ukrainian psychologist Tatyana Bogkova was on a birthday journey in Poland along with her mom and four-year-old daughter when Russian troops invaded her homeland earlier this 12 months.

With shells raining on Kharkiv metropolis and her policeman husband staying to combat, the 32-year-old selected to take refuge in Spain, the place she shortly translated her CV and took language classes in hope of a job.

She remains to be looking.

“I’m not afraid of any job however I wish to do what I discovered,” Bogkova stated in a Madrid cafe close to a Catholic Church support centre, which along with a household supplied them a free home till December.

“Each day I search for concepts on learn how to work whereas my daughter is in school,” added the Ukrainian, who a minimum of cleans a cafeteria fortnightly along with her mom and likewise volunteers on social media content material for a charity.

Bogkova and her household are amongst 7.6 million Ukrainian refugees scattered round Europe since Russian President Vladimir Putin despatched troops over the border and closely bombarded cities like Kharkiv.

The Ukrainians had been initially welcomed with open arms into shelters and houses throughout Europe, the place authorities skipped bureaucratic hurdles at a pace that raised eyebrows amongst refugees from Syria, Africa and elsewhere.

But because the warfare drags into its eighth month and their hopes of a fast return recede, many really feel in limbo and are struggling to make ends meet.

Europe’s cost-of-living disaster, together with hovering power payments simply as winter looms, has exacerbated their plight.

“Initially lots of people got here (to Portugal) feeling depressed due to the warfare … Now their major subject is the state of affairs right here,” stated Ihor Ostrovskyi, a 57-year-old tutorial from Lviv who fled to Portugal shortly after the invasion.

    He works on the entrance desk of an enormous warehouse that’s Lisbon’s refugee centre and stated most of these coming in want pressing assist discovering a job or a home.

“No person knew this was going to final this lengthy,” he stated of Portuguese households’ waning enthusiasm to open properties without spending a dime.


Portugal has taken greater than 52,000 Ukrainians, with authorities working programmes to assist them pay lease and discover homes in a course of that some discovered gradual.

Spain has taken in 142,000 beneath non permanent safety and assured them healthcare and employment companies from day one, benefits that different refugee teams wouldn’t have as shortly.

However the refugees have struggled to search out decently-paid jobs, particularly these matching their talent units.

Many lack the native language abilities and most are girls, many single moms, as a result of Ukrainian males of preventing age largely stayed behind. Those that do discover work are sometimes pressured into low-wage sectors reminiscent of tourism, agriculture and building.

In Spain, official information reveals solely 13% of 90,000 Ukrainians of working age have a job. Some 61% of arrivals had been in larger training, with 28% possessing levels or skilled {qualifications}, most usually economists, engineers, software program builders and entrepreneurs.

In Portugal, job centre IEFP has solely 5,523 Ukrainian professionals listed obtainable to work.

Ever-welcoming Germany took in practically 1 million Ukrainians between February and September however lower than 10% have jobs, based on the Federal Employment Company, though nearly 340,000 Ukrainians are registered as in search of work.

Company spokesperson Susanne Eikemeier stated limiting components had been lack of childcare, issue recognising international diplomas, and language points. Since many had been experiencing “an existential emergency” after fleeing warfare, she added, discovering work was not all the time a precedence.

In Portugal’s high vacation area, the Algarve, Maria Joao de Deus arrange a gaggle to assist Ukrainian refugees within the municipality of Lagoa. However lodging dwindled as dwellings had been turned over to vacationers throughout the summer time and now jobs are shrinking anyway as the vacation season ends.

“There are folks returning to Ukraine on account of lack of alternatives,” she stated.


The Spanish Worldwide Safety Unit, which cares for migrants, is providing language programs and employment programmes in an effort to “regulate expectations” to actuality and facilitate integration, stated normal director Amapola Blasco.

However many Ukrainians skip lessons or flip down jobs as they don’t intend to remain lengthy, she added.

“Lots of them are usually not prepared to work within the catering service or care sectors, which is the place it’s comparatively simple to discover a job even when your language abilities are restricted,” she stated. “These jobs don’t meet their expectations.”

Although 2,000 Spanish corporations made jobs obtainable to Ukrainians, few had been in a position to meet the usually very particular necessities. “The administration labored nicely, they shortly had all of the permits, however the actuality is that there aren’t any appropriate positions for them,” stated Gonzaga Avello, a consultancy agency founder who tried to assist in the hiring course of.

With no job, renting turns into more durable.

In Portugal, Ukrainian journey agent Oksana Voloshyna, 42, wish to keep till it’s protected to return house however she is intimidated by the nation’s paperwork.

    Refugees had been in a position to register for non permanent safety on-line however most solely have an e-mail affirmation.

“The long run is unpredictable in Ukraine so we wish to have one thing extra predictable right here in Portugal,” she stated. “I do not wish to be an unlawful migrant.” 

The Iberian nations have given one-year safety to Ukrainians, although that may be prolonged.

Katherine, 34, a mannequin and garments designer, was recovering from breast most cancers surgical procedure when Odessa got here beneath assault. Now she lives in a refugee centre on Spain’s Gran Canaria island along with her 12-year-old son and is receiving medical help.

Regardless of struggling melancholy, she is engaged on her Spanish and looking for a job in tourism, thus far with out success.

“I had a dream life,” she stated, strolling on a close-by seaside.

“Now I wouldn’t have a house.”

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