Half of Ukrainian refugees in Germany have no plans to return home

Ukrainians reportedly driving expensive SUVs and using €100 banknotes is sparking some outrage in Germany

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Magyar Nemzet
Refugees sit in a makeshift canteen inside the temporary refugee shelter at the former Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, about 1 million Ukrainians have fled to Germany. According to a survey, the majority feel welcome in the country, which means many have no plans to return for years, and a significant proportion never want to go back to Ukraine.

The survey interviewed more than 11,000 people who had fled Ukraine for Germany and settled in the country after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Around a third of those surveyed would like to move back home.

However, more than a quarter of the respondents, 26 percent, said they would like to live in Germany forever and do not want to return to Ukraine even after the war is over.

Eleven percent of respondents said they would definitely like to stay in Germany for a few years and then decide whether to return. In addition, another 17 percent of refugees of working age had a job at the time of the survey and no plans to return to Ukraine. The study found that the majority of them were working in jobs requiring a university degree or vocational qualification.

While Germans have had fewer integration problems with Ukrainians, the addition of a million people has put a strain on Germany’s housing, education, and social benefits systems. The fact that so many Ukrainians want to permanently stay in the country could present challenges, especially given that the majority of Germans express “big worries” that too many migrants are arriving in the country.

“This rate is considered relatively high, even compared to previous experience with other refugee groups,” said Herbert Brücker of the Employment Research Institute.

Some Ukrainians ungrateful?

However, the way many Ukrainian refugees behave in Germany is not always looked upon favorably. Food unsold or donated by supermarkets, bakeries, and food producers is collected by non-profit organizations and distributed to the needy for a small fee. Marco Modrow, head of one organization, says refugees from Ukraine are also welcome at the food bank, but many Ukrainians complain about what they see as poor service.

They were angry, for example, because the organization’s staff packed their bags instead of letting them choose, but there were also some who complained because they received a piece of fruit with a small bruise on it, and others who were upset because the expiry date on the food they received was within one or two weeks.

One refugee even threw a head of lettuce at one of the employees because it was a bit wilted. 

“Here, we are attacked almost every day because someone doesn’t like something,” Modrow said, also noting that Ukrainian refugees have to accept some compromises on conditions. There were also people who asked for prawns and caviar.

Modrow also said that many of the Ukrainian refugees arrive at the food bank in expensive cars, such as SUVs, which has caused a lot of outrage and confusion among other people in need. He added that people are also taken aback by the fact that some Ukrainians “in need” pay for a €2 food package with a €100 banknote.

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