Prague, Oct 11 (CTK) – The Ukrainians afflicted by the war conflict will not migrate to the Czech Republic in the nearest future, Dusan Drbohlav, head of a geographic research project carried out by the Faculty of Science of Charles University, told CTK yesterday.
Roughly two million people who were hit by the war in eastern Ukraine are not thinking of moving to the West, Drbohlav said.
Nevertheless, the migration changed recently. The Ukrainians are coming to Central and Eastern Europe for economic, not political reasons, he added.
If they move to the Czech Republic, they often use Poland’s visas thanks to its liberal migration policy, Drbohlav said.
“The research wanted to examine whether the conflict with Russia over Crimea and the Donbas has caused or will cause any change in the migration of the Ukrainian population especially in relation to the Visegrad Four (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) and the EU,” Drbohlav said.
Along with international partners, the research team Geomigration from the Faculty of Science of Charles University has published a book on migration to the EU after the Maidan revolution in 2014.
The geographers recorded interviews with the migrants who have already left their homeland or returned to it, and also with migration experts from Visegrad except Hungary.
“It has turned out that the Ukrainians displaced within Ukraine are unlikely to start any mass migration in the future,” Drbohlav said.
“The reason is that they are mostly from eastern Ukraine where Russia has served as the migrant catchment area,” Drbohlav said.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the war conflict in eastern Ukraine also changed the migration wave from Ukraine within the country itself, he added.
Ukraine is politically unstable and it has economic problems. The research has revealed that in their homeland, eastern Ukrainians faces problems with integration, discrimination on the labour market, and poor access to the welfare system and humanitarian aid, Drbohlav said.
Their compatriots from the west of Ukraine often do not accept them friendly, he added.
The research also examined Ukrainians’ foreign migration. Visegrad Four countries are close to Ukraine in the sphere of language and culture and also by their prosperous economies.
While Slovakia and the Czech Republic have not seen any major increase in immigration from Ukraine, Poland is dealing with many applications for asylum and work visas, Drbohlav said.
Poland has a liberal migration policy towards Ukrainians. They can use six-month work stays there, Drbohlav said.
By mid-year alone, half a million of Ukrainians travelled to Poland, he added.
This is why Czech geographers also want to present their research in Brussels.
Nevertheless, Ukrainians still make up the biggest portion of asylum seekers in the Czech Republic and they constitute the second biggest group of foreigners on the Czech labour market.
The Czech government wants to use this to deal with the shortage of manpower.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in early October that he wanted to improve the system of work cards and to facilitate Ukrainians’ access to the labour market.