Ukrainian refugees who want to work face bureaucratic hurdles | Sunday newspaper

6.30 a.m. at the Cocoon Hotel in Munich: Diana Kiesel and her Ukrainian colleagues prepare breakfast for the hotel’s 100 guests. This young woman is one of many who have fled Ukraine. Susan Grill, Project Manager at The Hotel Group, is excited about the commitment of the newcomers. “They’re incredibly hardworking and committed. So far we’ve only had positive experiences,” says Grill, who has been in the catering industry for more than 15 years.

However, she is not satisfied with the municipal authorities. “It was only recently that everyone was officially allowed to work. The promised processing time of two weeks turned into three months.” She said it was torture with hours of phone calls and more than 50 emails to the city of Munich and the social department.

“Many refugees want to work, but fail due to bureaucratic obstacles.”

The seven Cocoon Hotels in Munich have been employing people from Ukraine for years. When Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, employees were allowed to allow their families to continue. Friends and acquaintances soon followed. There are now more than 50 people, mostly women and children. “We want to help, but it has become very difficult for us,” Grill says.

The refugees are currently accommodated in the hotel. This can only be done through volunteer work and donations. “In principle, refugees from Ukraine can decide for themselves whether they want to stay in the hotel or move to one of our accommodations,” the Munich City Social Administration said upon request. However, reimbursement for housing costs is limited.

Lack of language skills causes problems.

“All the German courses were fully booked,” Grill says. “We couldn’t find an interpreter, and luckily a friend stepped in.” The fact that Ukrainians who could do translation work actually worked in the hotel was an advantage.

“The youngest refugee was a month old when he arrived. Now he hasn’t seen his father in three months. Women worry about their husbands at war,” says Grill. Refugees suffer from enormous psychological stress and suffer from post-traumatic stress.

Organized living and working conditions are more important. But the barriers to entry into the labor market are high.

In order to work as a refugee, you need a residence permit. According to the Federal Employment Agency, getting there is complicated and takes time.

Claudia Moravec of the Federal Institute of Vocational Training says: “As a chef or food trader, recognition is not absolutely necessary, because these professions are not regulated in Germany. This means that those who have fled Ukraine and are already living in Germany can apply directly to vacancies in the field of gastronomy.

But in practice, it is not so easy. Each foreigner needs a so-called fake certificate, which proves the existence of a temporary right of residence. Munich is crowded with thousands of refugees. “We have to stick to the guidelines,” the city’s press office explains. “It took a lot of time with a lot of people.”

There is a huge shortage of staff in the restaurant and hotel industry.

Julia Stamp, a spokeswoman for the Bavarian Employment Agency, sees Ukrainians as a well-qualified workforce. “Especially in the medium term, Ukrainian women can be an opportunity for the German job market.”

But something has to change structurally. Grill reports on one of its employees who wants to open a bank account and gets an appointment in just three weeks. Such conditions make it difficult for refugees to start over: “People yearn for normal, everyday life.”

Leave a Comment