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Ukrainian refugees prefer Germany over Poland

More and more Ukrainian refugees are moving from Poland to Germany in search of higher salaries and government benefits in the wealthy Western economy, the Washington Times reports.

The protracted war in Ukraine is forcing refugees to retrain as economic migrants. At the same time, European countries are benefiting from an influx of labour, since the region suffers from a demographic decline caused by low birth rates.

The employment agency EWL conducted the study together with the Center for East European Studies at the University of Warsaw. Based on the results, the agency’s director of economic development, Michalina Sielewicz, said that Poland is losing its attractiveness for Ukrainian refugees.

We should be worried.

However, the economist warned that even with the help of Ukrainian workers, the country will not be able to completely solve the problem of labour shortage. Andrzej Kubisiak with the state-funded Polish Economic Institute said that the greatest demand is in the areas of industry, construction and logistics. This work is traditionally performed by men, while the majority of Ukrainian refugees are women.

The study examined the reason why the number of Ukrainian refugees after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 is decreasing in Poland and increasing in Germany. According to the data, in the first months of the war, Poland hosted more Ukrainian refugees than any other country.

Over time, the indicators have changed. According to EU statistics, 1.1 million Ukrainian citizens were registered in Germany at the end of June, compared with 975 thousand in Poland. Thus, the number of refugees in Poland has decreased by more than 350,000 since August 2022, while in Germany it has increased by more than 410,000.

The network of Ukrainians in Germany is developing due to the migration shift. People who have already settled in the country help friends and acquaintances to make the move. Ukrainians interviewed during the study cited higher wages, higher social benefits for refugees and better health care among the reasons for choosing Germany.

The study also revealed that the integration of Ukrainian refugees into German society is better than into the Polish one due to the mandatory nature of language courses in Germany.

400 Ukrainians who moved to Germany from Poland took part in the study.

Jan Malicki, director of the Center for Eastern European Studies, called this number sufficient for drawing conclusions. He also noted that the most unpredictable thing today is how many refugees will want to return to Ukraine when the war is over.

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