Due to the war in Ukraine, to this day, more than 7 million people have fled Ukraine. So far, only a relatively small number of people of working age have entered the EU labour market, but the number of people looking to enter this market is expected to grow.
Quick and effective integration into the labour market is important both from the point of view of host communities and people fleeing war. The integration enables these people to rebuild their lives and further develop their skills, and will ultimately contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine.
The skills and formal qualifications of people fleeing war must be properly identified and recognized to facilitate their entry into the labour market and secure employment that matches their skills. Upskilling and acquiring new skills are also crucial for successful participation in the labour market and society.
The published European Union guidelines describe measures that Member States can implement based on lessons learned and best practices gathered so far, building on previous actions at the EU level, to
a) facilitate labour market integration of people coming from Ukraine; and
b) provide them access to vocational education and training and adult education. Several concrete examples of EU-funded projects were presented, which could serve as a template for Member States’ initiatives in this field and enable them to make the best use of the support available at the EU level.
The guidelines apply both to people who qualify for temporary protection under the Temporary Protection Directive and to people who qualify for adequate protection under national law.
The basis for EU admission of people fleeing Russian invasion is the unanimous launch – for the first time ever – of the EU Temporary Protection Directive, which gives beneficiaries an immediate secure status, including access to residence permits, housing, schools, healthcare and employment.
Under this directive, people fleeing war have the right to access the labour market, adult education and vocational education and training opportunities, and gain practical work experience. The Communication on the reception of people fleeing the war in Ukraine on 23 March encouraged Member States to extend access to the EU labour market to those using adequate protection under national law. Member States are encouraged to ensure that such people have access to vocational education and training and adult education. Adequate protection is an alternative to temporary protection that can be offered by Member States to third-country nationals who have been legally residing in Ukraine and have fled because of Russia’s attack.
The new guidelines complete and rely on the various measures to support people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine that have already been implemented at the EU level. In particular, the Commission presented operational guidelines to support Member States in applying the Temporary Protection Directive, a Recommendation to help qualified refugees access employment in the EU and a 10-point plan for closer European coordination on the reception of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. In addition, various initiatives are being implemented to help Member States make full use of available EU funds, in particular those provided for under the Regulation on Cohesion Policy Actions for Refugees in Europe (CARE). The EU has already provided €3.5 billion in advance payments to Member States to support people fleeing war.
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