Ukrainian refugees at risk of poverty in Austria: UN

Ukrainian refugees at risk of poverty in Austria: UN

About 38% of refugees surveyed said they could barely meet their basic needs in Austria, shows UNHCR survey

By Timo Kirez

GENEVA (AA) – Refugees from Ukraine are at risk of slipping into poverty in Austria, according to a survey released Friday by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

About 38% of the refugees surveyed said they could barely meet their basic needs in Austria over the past three months, while 17% can no longer cover them at all.

Regarding access to the Austrian labor market, 30% said they have work at the moment, while 26% have no work. About 70% of the workers indicated that their current employment is at a lower level than their previous employment in Ukraine.

A total of 533 refugee households from Ukraine in Austria were surveyed online from January to March, allowing information to be collected from over 1,500 individuals.

About 4% of the respondents plan to return home within the next three months, 42% hope to return home one day, while 37% are still undecided on this issue.

“The data collected impressively shows that the course must now finally be set to give refugees from Ukraine longer-term prospects in Austria. This urgently requires a change in the system," writes Christoph Pinter, head of UNHCR Austria, on the organization's website.

The risk of poverty is currently exacerbated by the fact that refugees from Ukraine are in the basic care system, which is actually designed for asylum seekers and for a short duration of stay, according to Pinter.

“Refugees from Ukraine should have the opportunity to arrive in Austria both emotionally and economically. For this, they need access to more rights and also a longer-term residence title,” Pinter further writes.

According to the head of UNHCR Austria, special consideration must be given to the large number of mothers and children who have fled alone, and to the high percentage of people with special needs, which according to the survey is 17%.

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