- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Study Reveals Refugee Intentions: One in Ten Refugees Aims to Return to Ukraine
Recent research conducted by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has unveiled that approximately one out of every ten refugees harbors intentions of returning to Ukraine in the near future. Among the adult refugee population, around two-thirds are contemplating the prospect of returning to their homeland at some point. These significant findings emerged from the IOM’s survey conducted during the second quarter of this year, which engaged 1,706 adults under temporary protection across various regions except Zlín. The study’s scope and timeline are deemed representative for the specified areas, making the results particularly noteworthy.
The survey is an integral part of the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) initiative, aimed at comprehensively charting the movements, intentions, and requirements of displaced individuals. Qualified field workers administer interviews and questionnaires at assistance centers, offices, charitable organizations, and lodging facilities.
The survey reported that nearly three-quarters of the respondents had spent over nine months away from their original residences. During the second quarter of this year, 66 percent of adults expressed their intentions of returning to Ukraine at some point, a figure that was higher at 75 percent last autumn. Among these individuals, 10 percent wish to depart Ukraine shortly to return to their home countries, while an additional 1 percent intend to relocate within Ukraine itself. For those contemplating international mobility, Germany emerged as the top preference, followed by Canada, Poland, and Spain.
The motivations for imminent return vary, with nearly 40 percent of respondents aiming to contribute to the improvement of their home country’s situation. Approximately an equal percentage cited reunification with family as their primary driver. The need for better or available housing was mentioned by 25 percent of respondents, while 1 in 8 individuals pointed to discrimination as a motivating factor.
Among those planning a return, the study identified the most pressing needs as financial assistance, job placement, and housing post-arrival. Additional areas of importance included children’s education, business establishment support, and transportation. Notably, a third of the respondents expressed uncertainty about their future plans, while another third indicated that they would not require further assistance.
It is worth noting that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recently emphasized the importance of refraining from compelling refugees to return, given the continued need for substantial humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Despite recovery efforts, mass returns are currently considered unfeasible due to the ongoing humanitarian challenges.
In light of the proposed changes to Ukraine’s legislation, the Czech Republic is preparing to develop a specialized program that facilitates the voluntary return of refugees to Ukraine. This program aims to provide support and cover specific expenses. As of the past week, the Interior Ministry reported a refugee population of 362,600 from Ukraine holding protection visas in the Czech Republic, with a significant presence of women and children.
Article by Prague Forum