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Ireland set to introduce significant reduction in benefits for Ukrainian refugees

by Nate Ostiller December 11, 2023 3:42 PM 2 min read
A view of a welcome room at a processing facility for Ukrainian refugees set up at the Old Central Terminal building at Dublin Airport on March 9, 2022. (Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Irish lawmakers are scheduled to approve proposals on Dec. 11 to significantly cut the amount of benefits offered to Ukrainian refugees who arrive in the future, The Irish Times reported.

The proposed changes would reduce the welfare payments for Ukrainians and offer state-run housing for 90 days, after which refugees would have to find their own housing. The existing scheme allows for Ukrainian refugees to stay in state-provided housing indefinitely.

Almost 97,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Ireland since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, with more than 73,000 of them living in state-provided housing, which costs the country 1.5 billion euros a year.

Sources told The Irish Times that he proposed changes would not apply to those who are already in Ireland, but only to future arrivals.

The proposed changes would decrease the weekly welfare payments for unemployed Ukrainian refugees from 220 euros ($237) to 38.80 euros ($42).

Unnamed officials said that the changes were intended to be a "frank" message that Ireland has reached the capacity of how many Ukrainians the country can effectively manage, and to "dissuade" future arrivals.

The Irish government has said that around a third of Ukrainian refugees came to Ireland from "safe countries," with some Irish officials implying that some came to Ireland specifically because the welfare payments are higher.

Nick Henderson, the chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council said: “We strongly warn against the 90-day limit because the vast majority of people would find it difficult, if not impossible, to find accommodation to move to.”

The Irish government previously discussed decreasing the availability of state-run housing in order to make Ireland's accommodation of Ukrainian refugees more closely follow other European countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, where housing is provided within a time limit or with a stipulation that the occupant may pay a percentage after six months.

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