Language is the main barrier for Ukrainian job seekers in Flanders

At the end of September, 13,463 Ukrainian refugees were registered with the Flemish public employment service VDAB. Of these, 42 per cent have already had some form of employment or are still employed. The figures come from Flemish Labour minister Jo Brouns on Friday. A study by VDAB also shows that more than nine in 10 Ukrainian displaced persons see regard language as the main barrier to finding work.

Flanders and VDAB are making efforts to assist Ukrainian refugees in finding work. Since mid-May, Ukrainian refugees have been obliged to register with VDAB. "If Ukrainians are registered with VDAB, we see that the chance of work is greater," Brouns said.

The survey by VDAB reached 1,650 working-age Ukrainian newcomers, 1,518 of them via an online survey and 132 via in-person interviews.

In the survey, 92 per cent indicated that language was a barrier to work. For one in three, lack of knowledge about the Belgian labour market is a significant barrier (30 per cent), followed by knowledge about the job offer (26.7 per cent), lack of childcare (23.4 per cent) and conflicting school hours (21.5 per cent).

The research also shows that Ukrainians often work in jobs below their level, which do not match their previous work experiences, competencies or diplomas. Half of Ukrainian displaced persons see their future in Belgium. More than nine in 10 respondents indicate they want to work.

"Many Ukrainians want to build a life here," says VDAB CEO Wim Adriaens. "Half of them are considering continuing to live in Flanders. So we give them every opportunity to work sustainably. We do this, for example, by investing in language. Language is an important competency for finding work and keeping work."



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