Ukraine’s war: Hiring refugees from Ukraine: Here’s what employers need to know | newsletter

There are a lot of war refugees in Ukraine in Germany

As reported by ZDF, citing the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), more than 600,000 people have fled Ukraine to Germany since the start of the war in Ukraine. Also, about 98 percent of the refugees are Ukrainian citizens. However, a small percentage of the refugees come from other parts of the world (Africa, Asia and the Middle East). The proportion of female refugees is 69 percent, much higher than the share of male refugees of 31 percent. If you only look at the number of adults, you will find that the percentage of women is 80 percent higher. The number of minors among refugees is close to 40%. However, ZDF also states that there is a possibility that many of the captured refugees have either traveled to another EU country or have already returned home despite the fighting. Since many will not quit, accurate tracking is difficult.

Are refugees from Ukraine allowed to work in Germany?

Many of those who fled to Germany also wish to continue their work here. Some companies based in Germany are hoping for qualified employees. But many companies also want to move away from the hope of finding qualified employees who can integrate those who are able to work from among the refugees into the labor market. “The desire to help has been great for weeks,” Rainer Dulger, president of the Federation of German Employers’ Associations, explains to Handelsblatt. In order to facilitate this process, the most important questions about employment of refugees from Ukraine should be clarified.

First of all, of course, it should be clarified whether refugees from Ukraine are allowed to work in Germany at all. Refugees from Ukraine are granted temporary protection in Germany for one to three years, depending on how the situation there has changed. This means that all refugees who are eligible for employment have direct access to the German labor market. And they were legally confirmed by the Mass Flow Directive, which was put into effect by the European Union at the beginning of March.

Employing refugees: What should employers think about?

First of all, employers should know what contributions to pay when hiring Ukrainian refugees. If a Ukrainian refugee begins work subject to social security contributions, the employer must pay all the usual contributions, that is, contributions to health care, nursing care, pension and unemployment insurance. In addition, companies bear contributions to continuous payment insurance, insolvency provisions and contributions to statutory accident insurance.

It is also useful for employers to know where to find the right specialists among refugees. Anne Corbois, who coordinates refugee integration at the Federation of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), explains to Handelsblatt that the first point of contact for employers should be the Federal Employment Agency. There are also many job portals created specifically for job seekers from Ukraine, including “UA Talents”, for example. It is currently unknown which sectors most refugees come from. That’s why researchers like Herbert Brucker of the Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research (IAB) are currently collecting data on the total population of Ukraine and Ukrainians living in Germany.

An important question that also needs to be clarified is the best way to approach the language barrier, as it can be assumed that most refugees have no knowledge of German. But with temporary protection, refugees can also access language courses. In order to bridge the time until the language course, Courbois recommends companies refer refugee employees to the Learning Portal of the Association of Adult Learning Centers. All German courses up to level “B1” are now available in Ukrainian.

Finally, there is also a question about the conditions that the company in general must meet in order to integrate a person who has fled Ukraine well. It is about more than just training. Help with finding housing, opening a bank account, enrolling in school and finding a doctor is very valuable for newcomers. The whole team can be involved to help. Colleagues who speak Ukrainian, Russian or English, for example, can act as mentors, accompany and mentor new colleagues. In addition, companies must be prepared for the fact that the shock of aviation and its consequences can also manifest itself in the workplace. Therefore, employers, as well as colleagues, must be prepared how to properly handle it. For example, presidents can turn to the National Working Group of Psychosocial Centers for Refugees and Victims of Torture on this issue. The contacts are listed there for each federal state.

North / editor of

Image sources: Jacob Lund /

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