More than two months after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, many countries in Europe have implemented special measures to support refugees seeking a new place to live. Said measures can differ from country to country, depending on the economical possibilities and administrative aspects, so sometimes, it can be difficult to grasp what kind of support can be found where.
In this guide, we will explain what steps are being taken in Spain, France, Poland, Germany, and Portugal in terms of employment support, and provide you with helpful resources and links you can trust.
In terms of the support offered by the Spanish government, we have consulted a lawyer in order to obtain reliable legal advice.
The Government, following European guidelines, has enabled the way for Ukrainian citizens to apply for a temporary residence card that allows them to reside and work in Spain, on their own or as employees. These cards will be renewable year after year, up to 3 years. At the date of preparation of this report, it is proving to be very difficult to request appointments, although once they get them, they are given the card that same day.
Ukrainian citizens that left Ukraine due to the armed conflict and arrived in Spain after 24/02/2022
Ukrainian nationals staying in Spain before 24/02/2022 who, as a result of the armed conflict, cannot return to Ukraine.
Third-country nationals or stateless people who were legally residing in Ukraine on the basis of a valid legal residence permit (whether permanent or otherwise, as students) issued in accordance with Ukrainian law and are unable to return to their country or region of origin in safe conditions.
Ukrainian nationals who were in an irregular situation in Spain before 02.24.2022 and who, as a result of the armed conflict, cannot return to Ukraine.
Members of their families (except for the third case of irregular situation): (i) spouse or de facto partner; (ii) unmarried minor children or their spouse; (iii) other close relatives dependent on them.
Applicants must comply with the above and prove that they are Ukrainian, preferably with their passport or with any document that proves it.
Ukrainian citizens who intend to benefit from these measures must request an appointment via telephone through the following phone number: 910474444. There, they are given the appointment to present their application. If they need help with temporary accommodation, hygiene, clothing, etc., they have to go to the Red Cross, which carries out all these matters.
Once the person has the card issued by the Police on the day of the appointment, they can be registered with Social Security like any worker, without the company having to prove anything extra in this regard. In this sense, they must request their Social Security number from the employment contract and from there they are registered by the Company.
For more info go to: https://www.inclusion.gob.es/uk/ucrania/index.htm
Calle Trafalgar, nº6, Bajos
The French websites tend to be available only in French, but we have done most of the hard work for you and extracted the most important bits.
Ukrainian citizens are authorised to legally work in France from the moment they obtain their provisory resident permit (autorisation provisoire de séjour).
Those looking for work can seek aid in the public employment service. To obtain advice, one must visit the local office of the closest https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Le-ministere/Prefectures.
Equally, it is advised to register in the system of the national employment centre (Pôle emploi): https://www.pole-emploi.fr/accueil/
For those under 25, there is a special service provided that will offer career guidance (Missions Locales). Find the nearest branch here: https://www.unml.info/les-missions-locales/annuaire/
In order to be able to work legally in France, one must obtain the provisory residence permit (autorisation provisoire de séjour - APS).
Case no 1: Ukrainian citizens who had resided in Ukraine prior to 24.02.2022.
Case no 2: Those who are not Ukrainian citizens but who benefit from international protection or a national equivalent granted by Ukrainian authorities.
Case no 3: Those who are not Ukrainian citizens but who have a valid permanent residence permit, issued by Ukrainian authorities and are not able to safely and permanently return to their country of origin.
Case no 4: Family members of individuals to whom apply any of the aforementioned conditions (family members include: spouses, single underage children and parents remaining in their care).
Ukrainian citizens who fulfil one of the aforementioned criteria and wish to apply for APS need to:
Visit the local office of the prefecture nearest their place of residence or temporary accommodation. You can check which one is the closest here: https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Le-ministere/Prefectures
Or visit the nearest point of information for Ukrainian citizens (accueil Ukraine)
Bring documents proving that their situation fulfils the criteria described above and makes them eligible for obtaining the APS
In case they have family members for whom they wish to obtain APS (look: Case no 4), they need to accompany them to the appointment.
If they provide all the necessary documents and are considered eligible for obtaining APS by the authorities, they will be granted the permit. They will be then directed to the French Office of Immigration and Integration (l’Office français de l’immigration et intégration - OFII).
Resources to consult for more information:
Certain measures meant to facilitate job search for Ukrainian citizens have also been introduced in Poland.
Ukrainian citizens can register for free in the Central Job Offer Base (Centralna Baza Ofert Pracy) or via its mobile app.
They can also call a special landline operated by social workers, where they can obtain career advice in the following areas:
Finding a suitable job
Carrying out a career assessment (examination of skills, interests, and qualifications in order to point a candidate in the correct direction)
Planning career development
Receiving information about the current job market in Poland
Receiving information about running their proper business
Receiving advice regarding the creation of application documents (cover letters, CVs)
There is also the possibility to register as unemployed at the local Labour Office (Urząd Pracy). This gives access to all of the benefits and services available to individuals who register as unemployed such as:
Financial aid for starting their own business
Refunds for the commute to and from work and eventual accommodation
Refunds for obtaining paid care for children under the age of 7 or other individuals remaining in their care.
The Polish government doesn’t specify any rules regarding eligibility for accessing the aforementioned services. In a general understanding, every Ukrainian citizen who is currently residing on the territory of Poland and is looking for a job can benefit from the support offered.
All the necessary advice can be obtained at the local Labour Office (Urząd Pracy). Find the nearest office here: https://psz.praca.gov.pl/wybor-urzedu
There is also the possibility to call the “Green Line” (Zielona Linia) using the number: 19524.
Companies can also access advice granted at the Labour Offices and via the Green Line. The social worker will get to know each individual situation and based on the obtained details, they will guide both the employer and the candidate in the correct direction. They will provide information about the best ways to legalise work, where to go to obtain/send required documents, and who should do it (the employer or the employee).
Websites to consult for more information:
Germany doesn’t remain indifferent to the problems the Ukrainian citizens are facing, either. The country is offering a range of support measures to facilitate the integration into the job market.
In order to be able to legally work in Germany, Ukrainian citizens must receive temporary residence permit in that country. A passport isn’t necessary to obtain this document. It is important to note that those staying in Germany on the visa-free 90 days period will not be eligible to find legal employment.
The temporary residence permit must be marked with the stamp: employment allowed (Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt). Once in possession of this document, they may begin their job search.
The services offered in Germany are akin to those in Poland: Ukrainian citizens can visit special offices or call the designated landline to obtain career advice and information regarding the steps necessary to take to find a job.
The career advice services are available to everyone in need of a job, however, to obtain the job itself, it is necessary to receive temporary protection.
Ukrainian citizens who resided in Ukraine prior to 24.02.2022
Stateless individuals and citizens of countries other than Ukraine who benefitted from international protection or a national equivalent in Ukraine before 24.02.2022
Family members of individuals to whom applies either of the aforementioned criteria, even if they are not Ukrainian citizens.
Visit the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) to seek advice about all issues related to the job-seeking process. There are also Local employment agencies (Agentur für Arbeit), which can be found in many towns and cities. The nearest one can be localised by using the “Find Office” tool (Dienststellensuche) on the Federal Employment Agency’s website.
There is also the possibility to call the hotline at +49 911 178 7915, where Ukrainian or Russian-speaking advisors will provide information about finding a job, improving qualifications or applying for university. The hotline functions from 8.00 to 16.00 from Monday to Thursday, and from 8.00 to 13.00 on Fridays.
Ukrainian citizens can arrange an appointment for a personal interview, during which they will get the opportunity to ask all questions and receive qualified advice.
Reliable websites to consult for more information:
Portugal is actively supporting refugees from Ukraine in their integration into the Portuguese society.
Ukrainian citizens can register as unemployed with the Employment and Vocational Training Institute (IEFP) and benefit from the employment-insertion contract. This allows them to perform different forms of social work: this way, they can contribute to the community and earn some extra money, while still being granted unemployment benefits.
There is also a platform called “Portugal for Ukraine”, run by the IEFP. There, employers publish job vacancies, together with the description of the profile of the person they would ideally like to fill those vacancies.
Finally, a call centre is available, where Ukrainian-speaking workers are ready to answer all questions regarding employment, as well as provide necessary information and advice. The centre can be reached at: +351 215 803 470, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
Who can benefit from these measures?
All beneficiaries of temporary protection in Portugal are eligible to apply for the employment-insertion contract.
Ukrainian citizens and foreigners of other nationalities, as well as stateless individuals who benefit from international protection in Ukraine, coming from that country and unable to return there due to the ongoing war,
Family members of individuals to whom apply the circumstances described above,
Permanent residents in Ukraine or in possession of a temporary residence permit,
In possession of a long-stay visa for this type of permit and whose safe and durable return to their country of origin is impossible.
Temporary protection in Portugal provides the beneficiaries with:
Tax Identification Number (NIF),
Social Security Identification Number (NISS),
National Health Service (SNS) user number,
The possibility to apply for the employment-insertion contract and access to unemployment benefits provided by the state.
For more information, consult the official SEF website: https://sefforukraine.sef.pt/
In order to obtain temporary protection, they must fill out an online application form (only applies to those over the age of 18). This can be done on the SEF website (link above).
Companies are also able to be proactive in their will to support refugees by providing them with opportunities for employment. All they need to do is fill out the following form: https://formularios.iefp.pt/index.php/983354?lang=pt
Useful websites to consult for more information:
We hope this employment guide has shed a light on the various support measures provided by 5 different European countries: Spain, France, Poland, Germany, and Portugal. Knowing the exact steps that need to be taken and the requirements that have to be met in order to find a job in a specific country might make it easier for you to choose your next destination.
Meanwhile, please remember that we are also collecting job offers for Ukrainian speakers at Europe Language Jobs. We regularly update our job board with new vacancies, so make sure to stay up-to-date!
Please keep in mind that we don’t have a legal background and while we make sure to only take information from reliable resources and provide you with reliable content, the measures are subject to change with time. To write this article, we consulted local lawyers and accessed official government websites, so while we ensure that the information is valid at the time of publication of the guide, some changes in steps and requirements might occur in the future.