Employment opportunities of asylum seekers in Ukraine

With the purpose of bringing together relevant stakeholders to develop an advocacy strategy to simplify access to official employment for asylum seekers, on 3rd of July UNHCR in Ukraine facilitated a Private Sector Employment and Entrepreneurship Forum.

In Ukraine, there are appr. 3,500 recognized refugees and persons in need of complementary protection and a further 5,000 asylum seekers. They enjoy access to employment, but face obstacles to formal employment due to bureaucratic administrative problems, lack of professional skills recognition system in Ukraine, lack of language skills and low awareness on the part of the employers about the employment rights that refugees and complementary protection status are guaranteed in Ukraine.

At the same time, asylum seekers do not receive any financial support from the government while their asylum application is being reviewed, a procedure which can last for several years. To meet their basic needs during the lengthy asylum procedure, asylum seekers are forced to engage in unofficial employment, which exposes them to abuse and fines as well as puts the potential employers in risk of high fines.

With the purpose of bringing together relevant stakeholders to develop an advocacy strategy to simplify access to official employment for asylum seekers, on 3rd of July UNHCR in Ukraine facilitated a Private Sector Employment and Entrepreneurship Forum.

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Among important contributors and participants of the Forum was The Confederation of Danish Industry that is currently implementing a strategic collaboration project with its partner-organisation, the Federation of Employers of Ukraine. We are happy to see and welcome the interest of both organisations, private sector and NGOs representatives Charitable Fond “Rokada”, NGO “Right to Protection” and NGO “Desyate Kvitnya” in the topic and their willingness to engage and join forces in our advocacy work.

The forum, as its main objective, served as a platform to develop an action plan for abolishment of legal barriers for official employment for asylum seekers in Ukraine as well as have as subsidiary objectives to outline possible next steps towards general refugee integration. Finally, the forum also touched upon the possibilities for future collaboration around labour market inclusion of IDPs.

A sub-goal of the event was thus to raise awareness of refugees and beneficiaries of complementary protection in Ukraine and their employment potential as well as potential to benefit the economy and private sector of Ukraine.

By giving the asylum seekers the opportunity to work legally, we contribute to the improvement of the whole society and the economy of the state.