One year after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, almost 170,000 Ukrainians have received protection in Spain. It is not known how many are left, really, but the balance made this Wednesday by the Minister of Migration, José Luis Escrivá, gives some clues to the new life of Ukrainian refugees in Spain. Among the data presented by Escrivá, attention has been drawn to the discreet labor insertion of this group, with which companies and public and private institutions have turned to from day one. Of the 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in Spain between the ages of 18 and 64, less than 14,000 (14%) are working, a number that, according to the minister, has grown very little for several months. The figure also caught the attention of the ministry, which through a survey wanted to identify what was hindering employability. Among the barriers, 56% indicated the “feeling of provisionality”, 55% also indicated the lack of knowledge of the language, while 5% referred to the difficulties of reconciliation.
Of the nearly 13,900 employed Ukrainian refugees, 44% are men, even though they account for only 30% of all newly arrived adults. According to official data, the sector where they have found the most jobs is hospitality (17%), followed by construction (17%), commerce (10%) and information and communication (9%). 37% of its contracts are permanent, full-time, 22% part-time and 12% are permanent-discontinuous.
Of the almost 170,000 refugees who have arrived in Spain since the outbreak of the war, there are 18,000 who depend on the state reception network. The doubt about how many of them have returned to their country or have traveled to other countries during these months remains, because according to the minister it is not easy to make an estimate. Some data may be indicative, such as the register in which 82,000 people have registered. Or the health card, which 78,000 have obtained.
The war in Ukraine posed a huge challenge to the state reception system. The network, which was running at its limit on a recurring basis, had to adapt to a huge and unpredictable demand for new beneficiaries. The result, one year later, has been the creation of 20,000 additional places, going from 15,000 in February to 35,000 since last summer. Of the 36,000 people welcomed, 58% were Ukrainians, according to data provided by the minister.
The opening of the four Creade (Resource Center for Attention to Cultural Diversity in Education) “was key” to provide documentation and emergency reception, according to Escrivá. In Madrid, 28,211 people were served, in Barcelona 51,372, in Alicante 37,056, and in Malaga 18,636.
Another of the issues that the minister has dealt with is the direct aid of 400 euros per month that he announced in June of last year. The 52.8 million to finance this subsidy were delivered to the Autonomous Communities in October, but Escrivá has not been able to specify how many people he is already benefiting, although the forecast was that it would reach 40,000. Several of the communities —which are in charge of management— have not yet begun to deliver them. Escrivá has declared that this has been something “new” for them, for which he has asked for their understanding. “We have done our part, we approved the state regulations and we transferred the funds. I am convinced that we would have been faster, but it was the Communities who asked to manage it”, Escrivá concluded.
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