Ukrainian refugees, escaping Russia's invasion, slow to join EU workforce
Liudmyla Chudyjovych, a lawyer in Ukraine, considers herself lucky to find a housekeeping job after fleeing
Some 6.5 million Ukrainians entered the European Union since Russia invaded their home over five months ago, and many are struggling with career options despite efforts to make their assimilation easier.
Although the EU introduced regulations early in the war to make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to live and work in its 27 member nations, many are only now starting to find jobs.
Of the millions of Ukrainian refugees who streamed into neighboring countries, only a relatively small number of those who stayed entered the EU labor market by mid-June, according to the European Commission.
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Liudmyla Chudyjovych used to be a lawyer in Ukraine and had big plans for her future, AP news reported.
But Russia’s invasion forced the 41-year-old mother to put her daughter’s safety first, and leave both her job and home behind.
Since fleeing her town of Stryj in western Ukraine in May, the former lawyer found a new vocation in the Czech Republic – housekeeping at a hotel in Prague.
“It’s just a different stage of my career,” she said. “That’s simply how it is.”
Chudyjovych considers herself lucky to have a job at all. Not fluent enough in either Czech or English, Chudyjovych said she didn’t mind the work as long as she and her daughter were safe, according to AP News.
In addition to language barriers, skilled workers from Ukraine often lack documentation to prove their professional credentials to become employed.
In Poland, which has taken about one million refugees from war-torn Ukraine, just over a third found work, according to the Polish labor and social policy ministry.
Only about half of some 900,000 Ukrainian refugees in Germany have registered with the country’s employment agency.