According to officials in Berlin, a recent government survey has revealed that 44% of the more than one million Ukrainian refugees who came to Germany during the conflict would like to stay in the country. The survey, conducted by Germany’s Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Institute for Economic Research (DIW), the office for migration and refugees (BAMF), and the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), involved a representative sample of 7,000 Ukrainian refugees currently residing in Germany. This figure represents a 5% increase from the previous survey conducted last summer, indicating a growing desire among Ukrainian refugees to remain in Germany.
The officials attribute this increase to the high participation of refugees in language courses, which aim to improve their chances of finding employment. It was found that 75% of Ukrainian arrivals have either completed German courses or are currently enrolled in them. Yuliya Kosyakova of the IAB stated, “Germany is investing in a sustainable integration of these refugees in the labor market.”
Despite the growing desire to stay in Germany, the survey also revealed that only 18% of the refugees polled had actually secured employment, which is only a slight increase from the previous year. This finding highlights the challenges faced by refugees, particularly women with small children. Half of the female refugees from Ukraine have at least one child, but only 3% of mothers with small children have been able to find employment. On the other hand, 23% of male Ukrainian refugees have jobs, mainly because they have a partner accompanying them.
At the end of 2022, there were 1.05 million displaced Ukrainians in Germany, making them the second-largest diaspora in the country after ethnic Turks. This significant number reflects the impact of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, with many Ukrainians seeking refuge in Germany. Furthermore, a Kiev nonprofit called the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF) reported in June that approximately 8.6 million Ukrainians who left the country due to the conflict do not intend to return. This further emphasizes the magnitude of the situation and the desire for a better life outside of Ukraine.
The UIF’s report also highlighted the declining population in Ukraine since its independence in 1991. The country has experienced a significant decrease in population, losing almost seven million residents by the time of the 2014 Maidan coup. Even when considering Crimea and the four regions that voted to join Russia in the past year, the UIF noted that Ukraine’s population currently stands at around 29 million, signaling a rapid decline. This demographic spiral raises concerns for the Ukrainian government, as it is quickly running out of people to sustain the country’s economy and development.
Overall, the survey results indicate the increasing desire among Ukrainian refugees to stay in Germany. Efforts to integrate refugees into the labor market through language courses have shown positive results, although the job market remains challenging, particularly for women with small children. With a significant number of Ukrainians seeking refuge in Germany, it is crucial for both the German and Ukrainian governments to address the long-term implications of this demographic shift and collaborate on sustainable solutions for the future.