Bulgaria has the Largest Number of Ukrainian Refugees who have received Temporary Protection

World » UKRAINE | May 12, 2022, Thursday // 18:22
Bulgaria: Bulgaria has the Largest Number of Ukrainian Refugees who have received Temporary Protection

104,235 people fleeing the war in Ukraine are currently in Bulgaria. This was announced this afternoon by the chairwoman of the State Agency for Refugees Mariana Tosheva in the Council of Ministers. Almost as many or exactly 102,522 people are registered under temporary protection. There is no other European country that currently has so many people who have received this type of protection, Tosheva explained.

Tosheva reiterated that the measure to accommodate Ukrainian refugees in hotels will not be extended. This means that all refugees accommodated in hotels will now be relocated and distributed by the authorities to other accommodations according to their needs. Authorities expect by the end of next week to have clarity on how people will be distributed. There are currently about 63,000 people fleeing the war in hotels and other accommodations.

"Ukrainians accommodated in hotels will be transported mainly by trains to the new places where they will be accommodated in new places. Bulgarian Railways (BDZ) is ready to launch additional train tracks for these people or to attach additional carriages to the already existing trains. First for the oldest and the sick, and then the mothers with the youngest children. In no case will we separate families," said Deputy Transport Minister Vladimir Varbanov.

By the end of the week, a digital platform should be launched, which will collect data on how many Ukrainian citizens want to stay in the country after May 31, how many want to start work and when they can start, what education they have, and many other data. There will also be teams of interviewers who will start touring refugee accommodations on Monday to gather additional information.

During the briefing, it became clear that there are currently 120 checkpoints in the country to provide temporary protection to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. Currently, 212 jobs are active in these points (out of a total of over 229 jobs created). There are checkpoints at the border checkpoints near Ruse, Durankulak, at the central railway station in Sofia, in the regional directorates and regional offices of the Ministry of Interior, at the sea stations in Burgas and Varna. A complete list of points can be found here.

Everyone who received temporary protection have the right to free health insurance for a certain period of time.

For children and older Ukrainians (over 63 for women and over 65 for men) the state will pay health insurance until the expiration of temporary protection in the winter of next year, and for adults of working age - only for 90 days from the date of granting temporary protection.

They also have the right to work and study in the country, as well as to receive social benefits, including a one-time allowance of up to BGN 375. At present, however, only 84 Ukrainian children are enrolled in kindergarten and 439 children in school. About 1,400 Ukrainians study at Bulgarian universities as students, postgraduates and doctoral students. Of these, only 560 are physically located in Bulgaria.

Currently, according to the National Revenue Agency, there are over 2,400 registered employment contracts of people with temporary protection. From May 16 to June 3, 72 open mobile points of the Employment Agency will operate in Burgas, Pomorie, Varna, Golden Sands, St. St. Constantine and Elena, Primorsko, Kiten, Kavarna. The aim is to direct job seekers (not just Ukrainians) directly to companies with vacancies.

There are job advertisements on the government information portal (here), and information on how Ukrainians can start working in Bulgaria is also published on the website of the Employment Agency (here).

Some time ago, the Employment Agency conducted a survey involving more than 2,500 Ukrainians. "Over 70% of participants in this study said they could start work immediately, and 9% said they wanted to first provide daycare for their children and then start work. 65% of respondents had higher education," recalled Smilen Valov, executive director of the agency.

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