Ukraine’s refugees: from the war to the construction site

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing their homeland because of the war. Refugees also arrive in skilled trades. How does Allgäu do it?

Written by Barbara Oberst

Hubert Schlums (centre) is very satisfied with his new employees. Alexander Honchak (left) and Vasyl Kotelnik fled Ukraine for Kempten. – © Barbara Oberst

Digging arms high from the entrances to homes. Craftsmen from a variety of businesses and trades advance each other down dusty stairs. The Sozialwirtschaftswerk Oberallgäu in Sonthofen currently has three blocks of social housing that have been renovated from the ground up. Electro Tannheimer from Compton is responsible for the electricity. So much work that President Hubert Schlums can only do on time because he’s been open since April Two new workers from Ukraine can count.

It was Vasyl Kotelnik and Alexander Honchak in March They fled the war with their families from their hometown in Odessa I found accommodation with the Free Evangelical Church in Kempten. Ukrainians have three and nine children respectively, which is why they were allowed to leave the country. Same-sex with fewer or no children Serving in the war.

Communicate with Ukrainians through staff

When Schmölz employee Viktor Lyachenko told his boss that former colleagues from his native Ukraine were looking for work in Germany, the businessman did not hesitate for a long time. “they have There is no electrician training, but she worked in construction in her home. When I saw that Vasyl could easily make a dispenser, I knew he had an idea,” says Schmols. He hired Kotelnyk as a specialist and his colleague Hunchak as an assistant.

However, it took four weeks from the first negotiations to the start of work. Schlums had to do it regularly Contact the Jobcentre and the Integration Office. At this relatively early stage of the Ukrainian crisis, there were no routine procedures in the offices. From April 11, children between the ages of 42 and 51 were able to start working – Without any knowledge of German. All beyond a few snippets of language he heard at the construction site – “Socket, lights, power supply,” Kotelnyk lists his German vocabulary – her colleague must have been Viktor Lyachenko or one of them The application on the cell phone translates. Kotelnyk says finding language courses is difficult, especially after work. But it should start in September.

translation tools

In Ukraine, about 70 percent of the population speaks Ukrainian, and about 30 percent speaks Russian. There are many translation tools via the app or the Internet, but there are a lot of translation tools and the best quality for Russian compared to Ukrainian.
Network Q 4.0 provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of various solutions in the YouTube Learning Block.

Basically, if you are using translation tools, it is best to form short, simple sentences and avoid foreign terms or words.
If you want to know the translation quality, you can translate the translation again.

German courses for refugees in Ukraine

Kotelnyk and Hunchak do not yet know if and for how long they will stay in Germany. You have one temporary residence permit Two or three years. They love their work, praise their boss and the quality of the tool. At the same time, they miss their homeland. “We call friends and relatives, we pray. What can you do,” Lyachenko translates to his colleague Honchak. They spent the days leading up to their escape in basements only because of gunfire at a nearby barracks. Was it right to run and not fight? They don’t know it, but they are glad they escaped and took their families to safety.

The two are an asset to Schmölz, and he is happy to support them with a German course, at the cost of Hunchak’s driver’s license, or if they need a loan. After all, good people in the electricity business are hard to find. According to the Central Association of German Electricity and IT Dealers, there are 82,000 qualified employees currently missing. Schmölz alone will need two or three other specialists who also speak German. “I should be able to send it to clients.” The company currently has 15 employees, including the president, his son Andreas and an intern, and 1.5 positions in the office. He regularly has to turn down applications and yet still spend weekends on construction sites to make sure work is completed on time.

Lack of knowledge of German is a problem

Diligent and reliable workers like Kotelnyk and Hunchak are very valuable. Just a couple of points, Schlums isn’t entirely happy. First, the language barrier: “I can’t let them go anywhere without Victor, and without language I can’t teach them either.” Secondly, he sees the German social system Undermining work ethic in construction. “Initially, they wanted to work as hard as possible and earn money for all the extra work so they could buy furniture from here.” But the social benefits have been reduced to the point where they earn more, which is why they now want to get paid as little as possible – Schmols finds the wrong incentive: “If there is about as much social assistance as when I work, there is a risk that no one wants to work Over. This stinks!”

Shortcut to the labor market for Ukrainian refugees

Ukrainian refugees can work in Germany in a relatively uncomplicated way. Unlike other refugees, they do not need to apply for asylum. Instead, they are entitled to temporary protection under Section 24 of the Residence Act.

When you apply for a residence permit, the office provides you with one “Certificate in Fiction” It entitles you to work immediately, provided that it is written “Employment is permitted”. The residence permit is initially limited to one year, but can be extended for up to three years.

Training refugees from Ukraine

Ukrainian refugees may switch to other residency bonds, for example in Article 16a of the Residence Act (Vocational Training and Professional Development) or Article 18a/b of the Residence Act (skilled workers with vocational training/academic training). So if a young Ukrainian starts vocational training in Germany, he has the protection of residence here for the duration of his vocational training.

Anyone who is unsure whether the qualifications of a Ukrainian refugee match the requirements of the company can either determine their skills directly on site in an internship or, for example, through the MySkills test from the employment agency.

If it is for employment or training, the coach can apply to the employment agency for grants for further training and retraining. Assistant training or integration grants are also possible. Refugees from Ukraine can also access the language courses of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. They include initial integration and integration courses, and later also professional language courses (links at the end of the article).

What Presidents Should Pay Attention To When Hiring Ukrainian Refugees

Employers who want to train or hire Ukrainian refugees must ensure that their new employees have Social Security and Health Insurance to have. Besides, they need one Income Tax Identification Number. This is created automatically by the Central Federal Tax Office when the refugee registers at the responsible registry office at his place of residence. If the number is not available when the business starts, the employer may use the potential wage tax deduction properties for up to three months. Refugees need one Bank account. Basic account possible with Ukrainian ID card. Passport holders have a wider choice of accounts.

The same applies to refugees as it applies to all other employees Minimum Wage Law, Industrial Minimum Wage, Collective Agreements and Similar Regulations.

By July 2022, nearly 900,000 people had fled from Ukraine to Germany. It is unclear how many of them still live in Germany. Of the 9.5 million people who have left Ukraine since February, 3.8 million have returned across the border. There are no figures available for Germany. In any case, the number of employees in Germany who come from Ukraine and are subject to social security contributions is constantly increasing, by 12,000 only in the period from February to April.

Help to hire Ukrainian refugees online

The website of the Employment Agency on the topic of refugees from Ukraine provides comprehensive information on the employment or training of refugees from Ukraine as well as on funding offers.

The Network of Companies Integrating Refugees has also compiled comprehensive information on the employment or training of refugees from Ukraine. Clear visual representations of the steps that employers and refugees must take before they can be hired are especially valuable.

More information about work and accommodation for refugees from Ukraine at:

Leave a Comment