After fleeing war, Ukrainians struggle to settle in Europe

“At first, a lot of people came (to Portugal) depressed because of the war… Now their main problem is the situation here,” said Ihor Ostrovskyi, a 57-year-old academic from Lviv who fled. in Portugal shortly after the war. invasion.

He works at the reception of a huge warehouse that is Lisbon’s refugee center and said most of those who come need urgent help to find a job or a house.

“No one knew it was going to last this long,” he said of Portuguese families’ waning enthusiasm to open houses for free.


Portugal has taken in more than 52,000 Ukrainians, with authorities running programs to help them pay rent and find homes in a process some have found slow.

Spain has taken in 142,000 people under temporary protection and guaranteed them health and employment services from day one, benefits that other refugee groups do not have as quickly.

But refugees struggle to find decent-paying jobs, especially those that match their skills.

Many do not speak the local language and most are women, many single mothers, as Ukrainian men of fighting age have largely stayed put. Those who find work are often forced into low-wage sectors such as tourism, agriculture and construction.