The Slovenia Times

Ukrainian refugees face employment barriers

A gathering of Ukraianing refugees.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

Employment is crucial for integration of refugees into society, but a debate hosted by a Slovenian charity on 2 February heard that Ukrainian refugees come across many obstacles as they try to find a job in the country even as companies struggle with staff shortages.

As many Ukrainian refugees came to Slovenia last year, companies were keen to hire them but they soon faced hurdles. One of them is the language and another is that companies are not prepared for hiring immigrants, Franci Zlatar of the Slovenian Philanthropy said.

Robert Modrijan from the Employment Service said refugees who enjoy temporary protection can enter the labour market immediately, but they have to solve a number of issues first, from processing the traumatic experiences of the war to learning the language.

Refugees are required to pass a level A1 test in Slovenian within a year after being registered with the Employment Service, and most are included in Slovenian courses as soon as possible. Once they finish the courses, they will be included in the labour market.

There were 450 Ukrainian refugees registered with the Employment Service at the end of last year. 101 found a job within seven months.

Most of the refugees have higher education, and they must go through the process of diploma recognition, which entails no costs for them. Between 60% and 80% of Ukrainian refugees have tertiary education and most of them had a good career in their country.

However, it is difficult for refugees with temporary protection to access more demanding jobs and it will take time for them to get them, Modrijan said.

Primož Jamšek from the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants agreed that it is difficult to accept a less paid job. "But you have to start somewhere, consider it a starting point," he said.

Since many problems have been identified, legislative changes are in the pipeline to address them, he said. The new law is to enable the refugees who got a job here and want to stay in Slovenia to keep their job.

The debate, hosted by the Slovenian Philanthropy, was attended by many Ukrainian refugees. They heard about job opportunities from companies that have special programmes for hiring refugees, among them the energy company Petrol and the furniture store Ikea.


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