Facilitating integration: EU-Ukraine relations in supporting Ukrainian immigrants


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As the conflict in Ukraine persists, a significant number of Ukrainians have sought refuge in the European Union, fleeing the turmoil and seeking safety and opportunities. Recognizing the importance of supporting these individuals, the EU has implemented various measures to facilitate their integration, particularly in terms of access to the job market. This article explores the initiatives undertaken by the EU to assist Ukrainian immigrants in finding employment and adapting to their new environment.

The European Commission, in collaboration with Ukrainian authorities and the diaspora, has prioritized the effective integration of beneficiaries of temporary protection into the labor market. To achieve this goal, several tools and initiatives have been established at the EU level.

One of the significant initiatives launched by the European Commission is the EU Talent Pool pilot, which aims to connect individuals fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with job opportunities across the EU. Available in English, Ukrainian, and Russian, the pilot is implemented through the EURES portal, bringing together national employment services, private employment agencies, and employers. Jobseekers under temporary protection directives or national laws providing them the right to work can register on the platform, where they can identify their skills, upload their CV, and browse job vacancies published on the EURES portal.

To facilitate the recognition of academic and professional qualifications obtained in Ukraine, the European Commission has published a recommendation and a comparison report. This initiative enables employers and training institutions in EU countries to better understand the skills of Ukrainian immigrants, thereby enhancing their prospects in the job market. Moreover, the Commission has established a resource hub to assist Ukrainians in having their qualifications recognized and to aid others in interpreting them.

Recognizing the pivotal role of Public Employment Services (PES) in implementing active labor market policies, the EU continues to support PES in member states. This support includes measures such as work placements, language courses, counseling, vocational education, and training, aimed at maximizing the utilization of the skills of new arrivals.

Irrespective of nationality, immigrants are entitled to immediate assistance and information about their rights upon arrival in EU countries. Depending on their status, they may have access to temporary shelter, basic needs fulfillment, and additional rights such as access to the labor market and housing. Cooperation with authorities during administrative checks is essential, and for unaccompanied children, referral to child protection services is provided.

Ukrainians who were permanently residing in Ukraine and fled the country after February 24, 2022, are eligible for temporary protection in any EU country. This includes rights such as a residence permit, access to the labor market and housing, medical assistance, and access to education for children.

The European Commission delineates the difference between asylum seekers and those seeking international protection. Temporary Protection is crafted to swiftly safeguard displaced individuals, including those escaping areas of armed conflict. Although temporary protection doesn’t impede the right to seek international protection, it may mitigate the immediate necessity for such application, as it grants a residence permit along with associated rights. The duration of temporary protection is delimited by EU legislation. Asylum, on the other hand, is an individual entitlement, conferred through a distinct administrative and legal process to ascertain if there’s a credible threat of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political beliefs. Once granted, asylum status can be subject to review should new evidence emerge suggesting the need for reassessment.

In light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the EU’s efforts to support Ukrainian immigrants in integrating into the job market are commendable. Through initiatives such as the EU Talent Pool pilot, recognition of qualifications, and support for Public Employment Services, the EU is actively facilitating the economic integration of Ukrainian immigrants, thereby providing them with opportunities for a better future. As the situation evolves, continued collaboration between the EU, member states, and Ukrainian authorities will be essential in ensuring the successful integration of Ukrainian immigrants into European societies.

Written by: Nenad Stekić

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