Refugees from Ukraine: Austria the final destination?

70,000 people from Ukraine currently live in Austria. Still about 1,000 people visit here every month. They are waiting for prospects.

Two years ago, no one thought it would take so long. Above all women and children, they came to Austria in the first days of the war of occupation. A few weeks, months at most? Most of them still exist. how are you today What is your perspective?

Currently, according to statistics from January, 69,843 people with Ukrainian citizenship are registered in Austria. About 5,000 of them were in Austria before the outbreak of war, says Andreas Acrainer, the federal government's refugee coordinator and head of the federal care agency BBU. This figure, he says, has been stable for some time. 1,000 people from Ukraine regularly come to Austria every month. They are newcomers, on buses or trains, from Ukraine, or they have already been to Austria, wanted to go back, are coming back. The 70,000 figure is more stable because there are also people leaving the country.

The longer the war lasts, the less hope of return. “Initially the statistics were that half wanted to go back quickly. “Recent studies show that 70 percent don't know what will happen next,” says Akrainer. It reflects the “waiting dilemma”. “They don't know: should I build a presence here and hope to come back? It's important to go with people and let them know: whatever happens next, whatever qualifications you get here, you'll need them in Austria just like you do in Ukraine.

Idleness is a trap that lies in wait

After all, this waiting dilemma is also a “passive trap”. Less than half of those of working age have entered the labor market: 16,311 Ukrainians are currently fully insured and 3,500 are partially employed. If you exclude the elderly, children and youth and the disabled, there are about 20,000 Ukrainians in Austria who could work but have not yet done so, says Akrainer. Many are still in the process of nastrification, while others are in language courses.

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And some lack perspective. IDP status is currently protected till March 2025. “The government is currently working on creating a successor degree that is designed to be sustainable. It's not clear what that should look like,” says Akriner.

Klaus Schwerdner, Vienna's Caritas director, also sees this as a problem of “being trapped in a displaced person's status”. “It worked well in the beginning, but now 40,000 Ukrainians are stuck in basic services. As early as 2022, AMS boss Johannes Kopf has called for them to be transferred to the Ministry of Social Welfare, which will enable better links with AMS, support measures, etc. Unfortunately, that has not become reality. “

“The impact of the war is still here”

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