Substantial drop in Ukrainian refugees in Poland

Ukrainian school-age children are likely a large factor behind the drop in Ukrainians in Poland

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Jacek Krzemiński

Ukrainian refugee numbers are falling in Poland by as much as 15 to 20 percent from the beginning of 2023, and the beginning of the school year may have played an important factor.

At the beginning of 2023, the number of Ukrainian refugees in Poland with a Polish national identification number (PESEL) was 955,000. Mirosław Skórka, the head of the Union of Ukrainians in Poland, estimates that the number is definitely lower today, with a decrease of around 15-20 percent.

Skórka says that this is due, in part, to the fact that many Ukrainians planned to return to Ukraine during the summer after the school year ends. They planned this with their children in mind so they could return to Ukrainian schools in September.

The problem in Polish schools for Ukrainian children is not just the language barrier.

“The problem for them is that Polish schools lack important subjects that are present in Ukrainian schools, such as the Ukrainian language and the history of Ukraine. The longer the gap in teaching these subjects, the harder it will be for these children to return to Ukrainian schools,” says Skórka.

The president of the Union of Ukrainians in Poland also says that refugees who remain in Poland are mainly those who would like to stay for a longer period or even settle permanently. Among them, a large portion are better educated and better situated financially.

As many as 73 percent of adult refugees from Ukraine have found legal employment in Poland, and more than 30,000 people from this group have started businesses.

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