Poll: About half of Ukrainian refugees want to stay in Germany

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More Ukrainian war refugees would like to stay longer in Germany, according to the results of a new survey: Refugees from Ukraine in Germany.

Although it’s not clear whether the right of residence, which is valid until March 2024, will be extended or not, nearly half of the refugees 44% plan to stay longer, that is, at least for a few more years or even permanently.

According to the poll result, compared to the first poll conducted in late summer 2022, this is an increase of five percentage points.

According to the result, 71% plan not to stay in Germany permanently, among them, 38% want to return to Ukraine after the end of the war, and 30% would like to stay in close contact with Germany and live here at least for a while.

The survey was conducted by a group of specialized German institutes and research centers: the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Research Center of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ), and the Social and Economic Commission (SOEP) at the German Institute, Research Economics (DIW) Berlin.

In the first study, conducted last year, nearly 11,000 refugees between the ages of 18 and 70 provided information about their situation in Germany.

It turns out that in addition to the current war in Ukraine, the family situation plays an important role in terms of the desire to stay in Germany.

“Refugees whose partners live abroad are less likely than those who are single to stay in Germany permanently,” says Markus Grabka of the Social and Economic Committee (SOEP) at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin).

“Housing condition plays an important role here as well… People who live in private residences are more likely to want to live permanently compared to people who live in other accommodations such as hotels or guesthouses”.

Grupka explains that 79% of refugees now live in private apartments, compared to 74% late last summer.

The researchers also noted progress in learning German.

Three out of every four Ukrainian refugees have taken or completed one or more courses in German, most often an integration course.

“This means an increase of 25% compared to late summer 2022,” says Nina Rother of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) in Nuremberg.

As a result of the increase in language courses, the proportion of refugees without German language skills has halved, from 41 to 18 %.

“On the other hand, there is still room for improvement… Because the percentage of refugees with good or very good knowledge of the German language has doubled, but it is still low,” Rother complains.

Language and integration skills determine opportunities in the labor market, however, the employment rate increased only slightly compared to the late summer of 2022.

So, 18% of the age groups ranging from 18 to 64 years were working this spring, while the figure was 17% in the late summer of 2022.

Since about two-thirds of those surveyed were attending German language courses, they had no or only limited access to the labor market.

It’s worth noting that more than two-thirds of the unemployed want to look for work immediately or within the next year.

“Refugee women with young children in particular have a very low employment rate of three percent, and they usually live without a partner in Germany… Moreover, the employment rate of parents with young children is much higher at 23 percent, and most of them live with their partners in Germany,” says Yulia Kosiakova of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg.

With the second survey, information about household income for refugees is also available for the first time.

“At the beginning of 2023, the average household net income of Ukrainian refugees was just under 850 Euros per month,” Kosiakova explains.

For comparison, according to the Federal Statistical Office, the average net income of a family in Germany in 2021 was around 3,800 Euros per month.

Children and youth make up a large proportion of the refugee, and while almost all school-age children attend a public or vocational school, according to the study, only a few parents make use of daycare centers.

The availability of day-care places in sufficient numbers is very important for a large group of Ukrainian refugees in Germany, so that parents can attend language courses and find a job With regard to children, it helps them to learn the language, enjoy an organized daily life and make friends.

Since the start of the war on February 24, 2022, more than a million Ukrainians have sought refuge in Germany.

However, accommodating and integrating so many people in such a short time is a huge task.

In this regard, the four research institutes see the results of their study as helpful in the decision-making of policy, administration and other authorities.

The German researchers recommend that decision-makers decide quickly whether to extend temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees beyond March 2024 or create other long-term residence opportunities.

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