In the wake of the ongoing Russian aggression and the war in Ukraine, over 200,000 Ukrainian refugees have left the Czech Republic, according to recent data provided by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan (STAN). This exodus of refugees seeking temporary protection in the Czech Republic has continued since last year’s February aggression. As of October 1st this year, 561,605 Ukrainian refugees have applied for temporary protection in the country.
Rakušan clarified that by the same date, 358,740 individuals had physically registered themselves for temporary protection. Therefore, more than 200,000 of them have already left the Czech Republic, either returning to Ukraine or seeking refuge in other EU member states. These figures refute claims made by some politicians and parts of the public that Czech authorities lack knowledge about the number and identities of Ukrainians residing there.
“All of these nearly 360,000 individuals have reported to the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy to obtain a visa label and provide the necessary data,” stated Minister Rakušan.
According to the Minister, those who failed to personally register with the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy by the end of September will lose their temporary protection status in the Czech Republic. Compared to the online registration for extending temporary protection, which took place until the end of March, approximately 14,500 fewer people physically reported themselves.
“These are refugees who, according to the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy, have mostly returned to Ukraine,” the Minister emphasized. “Some may have taken advantage of our location in the heart of the Schengen Area and traveled to other member states,” he added.
More than 115,000 Ukrainians Are Employed
Of those above, approximately 359,000 registered Ukrainians, Minister Rakušan estimated that around 115,000 are legally employed. Considering that a significant portion of these 359,000 individuals comprises children, elderly people, and women who are responsible for childcare and unable to work, the figure of 115,000 is quite promising, with an upward trend. At the beginning of September, the number stood at 111,000.
According to Rakušan’s conservative estimate, legally employed Ukrainians will contribute approximately CZK 12 to 15 billion to the Czech state budget in taxes and contributions this year alone.
“This undoubtedly has a positive impact, and in the long run, the investments we have made will pay off for the Czech Republic,” stated the Vice Prime Minister. He believes that Ukrainian refugees could help alleviate the long-term labor shortage in the country.
Language Barrier among Children
However, the Minister pointed out that the state had underestimated the language education of Ukrainian children, resulting in significant communication barriers in schools.
“We relied too much on the assumption that the languages are similar, but the language competence of Ukrainian children in schools is insufficient. We are working with Minister of Education Mikuláš Beka to address this issue and allocate funds for highly qualified language courses next year,” revealed Rakušan.
For example, Germany has taken a more practical approach by intensively enrolling all young Ukrainians in language courses for the first five months before integrating them into regular schools.