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Press release15 June 2022Representation in Cyprus

Ukraine: Commission presents guidance to help people fleeing war access jobs, training and adult learning

Since the beginning of Russia's unprovoked war against Ukraine and its civilians, over 7 million people have fled Ukraine and reached the EU.

EU solidarity with Ukraine

So far, only a relatively small number of those of working age have entered the EU labour market, though the number of people wanting to do so is expected to rise.

Ensuring a swift and effective integration into the labour market is important both for host communities and for those fleeing the war to rebuild their lives, continue developing their skills and, eventually, support reconstruction in Ukraine.

Understanding and recognising the skills and formal qualifications that people bring is critical to ease their entry into the labour market and make sure they get a job that corresponds to their skills. Moreover, improving existing skills and acquiring new ones is essential for successfully participating in the labour market and society.

Today's guidance:

  • Describes measures that can be taken by Member States based on lessons learnt and best practices gathered so far, building on previous measures at EU level
    1. to integrate people arriving from Ukraine into the labour market; and
    2. support their access to vocational education and training (VET) and adult learning.
  • Features several concrete examples of EU-funded projects that can serve as inspiration for Member States' initiatives in this area and help ensure that they make the best use of support available at EU level.

The guidance covers both people eligible for temporary protection under the Temporary Protection Directive as well as those eligible for adequate protection under national law.

Access to jobs and training

As part of today's guidance, the Commission invites Member States to:

  • Provide information on the support available to people fleeing Russia's war against Ukraine, such as career guidance, counselling and protection against discrimination. This comes in addition to the existing legal obligation to inform people of their rights.
  • Facilitate the integration into the labour market of beneficiaries of temporary protection and, where relevant, adequate protection under national law, in particular through:
  1. encouraging those arriving in the EU to register with local Public Employment Services;
  2. reflecting the needs of people fleeing the war in the work of national authorities and employment services (e.g. paying particular attention to labour market access for women and access to childcare and school education; recruiting people in sectors with shortages of workers, or where they could support others arriving from Ukraine);
  3. providing support to employers hiring people fleeing, and allowances for the creation of start-ups; and
  4. opening up entrepreneurship support programmes to new arrivals.
  • Provide the broadest possible access to the labour market, e.g. through addressing the risk of exploitation and undeclared work, by ensuring cooperation of actors such as law enforcement and labour inspectorates; not making use of the possibility in the Temporary Protection Directive to give priority access to the labour market to EU nationals and others; ensuring that measures always take the perspective of people with disabilities into account.

Recognising existing skills and investing in new ones

As part of today's guidance, the Commission invites Member States to:

  • Ensure that people's skills and qualifications can be valued, assessed and swiftly recognised, irrespective of whether documentation is available. This can include support to prepare CVs, test skills and retrieve missing qualifications.
  • Provide, as quickly as possible, targeted upskilling and reskilling opportunities, VET and/or practical workplace experience. This requires close cooperation with education and training providers, social partners and the private sector, to ensure that these opportunities are in line with labour market needs and skills gaps.
  • Ensure swift access to initial VET, including apprenticeships, and explore possibilities to prolong ongoing stays of Ukrainian vocational learners, which is especially relevant for young people.
  • Make opportunities available for adults fleeing Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine to access general education, including through second chance schooling, as well as enrolment in higher education institutions.

The Commission has made a number of tools available in Ukrainian under the Europass platform. This will help Ukrainian-speaking users create CVs, test their digital skills, send applications and find job and training offers in the EU. In addition, the Ukrainian translation of the European multilingual classification of Skills, Competences and Occupations (ESCO) will be available shortly.

Support from EU Funds

EU funds can support Member States' measures to provide access to the labour market, VET and adult learning. This includes funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD), and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF)InvestEU, the Technical Support Instrument, and Erasmus+ can also help.

Today's guidance features several concrete examples of EU-funded projects supporting labour market integration, such as:

  • The Fast track action boost (FAB) project in Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden supported by the Employment and Social Innovation programme (EaSI), which financed fast-track integration pathways to the labour market for refugees and their families, with a special focus on female refugees.
  • The “Skills validation centres” project in Belgium supported by the ESF, which helps people with professional experience fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine to get their skills validated officially and free of charge. This official recognition helps to prove skills to an employer, resume training or gain access to a profession.

Next steps

Member States are invited to continue their efforts to support those fleeing Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and facilitate their integration into the labour market, including by making the best use of the support available at EU level. The Commission stands ready to work with national authorities and other relevant stakeholders further and will continue to provide guidance in light of the evolving situation.

Background

The EU's welcome to those fleeing Russia's war of aggression is epitomised by the unanimous activation – for the first time in history – of the EU's Temporary Protection Directive, which grants beneficiaries with an immediate secure status characterised by access to a residence permit, housing, schools, healthcare and jobs. Under this directive, people fleeing the war have the right to access the labour market, to educational opportunities for adults, and to VET and practical workplace experience. The Communication on ‘Welcoming those fleeing the war in Ukraine' from 23 March encouraged Member States to extend access to the EU labour market to beneficiaries of adequate protection under national law. Today's Communication invites Member States to extend access to VET and adult learning to beneficiaries of adequate protection under national law as well. Adequate protection is an alternative to temporary protection that may be offered by Member States to third country nationals who were legally residing in Ukraine and fled because of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.  

The new guidance complements and builds on the variety of measures already taken at EU level to assist people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, many of which the Commission outlined in a Communication in March. In particular, the Commission presented operational guidelines to support Member States in applying the Temporary Protection Directive, a recommendation to help professionally qualified refugees access jobs in the EU, and a 10-Point Plan on stronger European coordination on welcoming people fleeing the war against Ukraine. In addition, various initiatives make it easier for Member States to make full use of the available EU funds, notably the “Cohesion's Action for Refugees in Europe” (CARE) regulation. The EU has already made available advance payments to Member States of €3.5 billion to support those fleeing the war.  

For More Information

Communication on Guidance for access to the labour market, vocational education and adult learning of people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Website - EU solidarity with Ukraine 

Website - Information for people fleeing the war in Ukraine

Details

Publication date
15 June 2022
Author
Representation in Cyprus