New campaign will help Ukrainian refugees integrate into Czech labor market

With over 600,000 Ukrainians residing in Czechia, most of them refugees, the government plans a campaign of assistance and destigmatization.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 24.01.2023 15:29:00 (updated on 25.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Amid continuing inflows of Ukrainian refugees into Czechia, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has recently announced its plans to launch a communication campaign designed to better integrate Ukrainian refugees into the labor market.

More acceptance

Essentially, the plan wants to refute the assumption that “refugees from Ukraine are stealing jobs from Czech people.” It is set to cost the state about CZK 150,000. Labor Ministry spokesperson Jakub Augusta told iDnes that the campaign will co-ordinate with several charities, such as the Charity of the Czech Republic, People in Need, and ADRA.

The campaign will draw heavily on existing materials from the “Start Together” project, which similarly helps Ukrainians and immigrants of other nationalities integrate into Czech society. 

Posters and videos are among some of the resources that aim to explain to Czechs the benefit of Ukrainians working in Czechia, and sheds light on Ukrainians' personal circumstances. This, the government aims, will increase the number of Ukrainians working in Czechia.

According to the project, three-quarters of all Ukrainian refugees have a job in the Czech Republic. 

According to the Labor Ministry, employers are “overwhelmingly satisfied” with Ukrainian refugees, who predominantly work in low-skilled professions. Many Ukrainians, however, are on very low wages: PAQ Research found that one-third of employed Ukrainians earn under CZK 100 per hour.

Uncertainty regarding the length of refugees' stay is among the reasons why employers may shy away from hiring Ukrainians, the ministry explains.

The government's project will also provide subsidies, in cooperation with charity UNICEF, to information centers that assist in Ukranians' job-searching and integration efforts.

Refugee numbers to grow

Since February 2022, almost 500,000 temporary protection visas have been issued to Ukrainians in Czechia, Interior Ministry data shows. An estimated 350,000 to 400,000 Ukrainian refugees currently reside in Czechia, according to a Monday press conference by the Czech foreign police. 

The government’s decision earlier this month to extend the validity of Ukrainians’ temporary protection visas by one year, to March 2024, means that Czech employers will anticipate increasing amounts of Ukrainian workers.

Augusta also points out the trend that, while the number of Ukrainian refugees living in Czech society is increasing, the number of benefit recipients is decreasing. 

"The more stable their conditions are, the more likely they [refugees] will integrate and learn Czech.” - Start Together

Although the Czech government strongly remains in favor of helping Ukrainian refugees, public opinion appears to slowly be shifting. 

An October survey by Czechia’s Public Opinion Research Center found that less than half of Czech respondents thought Ukrainian refugees should “definitely or probably be helped” – a sharp drop from April 2022.  

With no sign that the Russia-Ukraine war will end in the near future, the government’s campaign will be instrumental in helping Ukrainians find their feet in Czechia and increase their chances of employability.

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