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One in three Ukrainian refugees in the European Union ultimately wants to return home. At the same time, a similar proportion would like to remain in their host countries, according to a new survey released on Feb. 28 by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
The online poll was conducted between August and September 2022, with 14,685 Ukrainian refugees taking part. The participants are now living in ten EU countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain).
According to the survey, only a third of respondents have a paid job, and 79% said they faced financial challenges.
Less than half of respondents who were studying before fleeing Ukraine have continued their study in the host country, FRA wrote.
Language is one of the main barriers to getting a job or continuing education. A quarter of Ukrainian refugees said they didn’t speak the language of the country they currently live in, while 41 percent said they did, but badly.
While almost half of those surveyed said they felt downhearted and depressed, 61% of respondents felt optimistic about the future since arriving in their host country.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, since the beginning of Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine, more than 8 million Ukrainian refugees have left for another European country, and about 4.8 million have applied for temporary protection in one of the EU countries.
The director of FRA, Michael O’Flaherty, said that the temporary protection scheme the European Union launched last year in response to the wave of Ukrainian refugees was “designed to be a short-term fix,” while the EU is “fast approaching a state of long-term emergency.”
“This calls for durable solutions to socio-economically integrate at least some people displaced by the war,” reads his statement in the survey’s report.