One in six Ukrainians in Ireland considering leaving due to ‘red tape’ locking them out of jobs

Housing and problems working in fields for which they are qualified among top concerns in Red Cross research

Just over 1 in 6 Ukrainians who fled to Ireland because of the war are considering leaving because of “frustrating red tape” preventing them from working, according to the results of a new survey.

The Irish Red Cross is calling for a “more sympathetic accreditation system” for Ukrainians with professional qualifications “that would be of use to the State” after a survey conducted by the Safe Homes research project found that a significant proportion of Ukrainians who fled to Ireland due to Russia’s war were now considering going to another country.

The Safe Homes research project is a joint initiative of the EU and International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies, that seeks to support those displaced by the war in Ukraine. A total of 9 countries participated in the programme including Ireland, Belgium, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

The Irish survey found that just over 1 in 6 Ukrainians who fled to Ireland because of the conflict in their country are considering leaving again to go to another country to find work in their professions. “As a result, Ireland risks losing the economic contribution which these individuals could make,” a statement from the Red Cross said.


Of those fleeing Ukraine in Ireland, only 9 per cent have found jobs matching their professional qualifications, according to recent research from Ukrainian Action in Ireland. Of those who are unemployed, 30 per cent cited the inability to work in their field, and 22 per cent cited problems with recertifying their qualifications.

Housing was also an issue forcing Ukrainians to consider leaving.

“Whether we can stay depends on whether housing is available – we are both retirees so employment is not an option and we depend on hosted accommodation,” an anonymous survey response said. “I am an entrepreneur and I see the opportunities in Ireland. It is inspiring. The only thing I am really afraid of is the accommodation,” another survey respondent, from a woman living in Co Galway since November 2022, said.

A man, living in shared accommodation in Co Limerick, after arriving in Ireland in May 2022, said he “looked for rented accommodation for a year on and Facebook”.

“I still feel high anxiety as I can’t plan my life: there is no clarity with the temporary protection, work, accommodation,” a woman in Co Limerick said.

Others said they “can’t become sick because we don’t have a GP”.

It was “a worry” that so many Ukrainians were unable to work in their field due to lengthy red tape delays in receiving accreditation in their qualifications, Niall O’Keeffe, head of international and migration at the Irish Red Cross said.

“This is a serious missed opportunity to allow Ukrainians to integrate and contribute to the Irish economy, given the need to fill the many skill shortage gaps we have here, including in the medical, engineering and management sectors,” he said.

“We know that 61 per cent of Ukrainians in Poland are working and are a now net contributor to that economy whereas 21 per cent are working here in Ireland. We also know from recent survey data that 89 per cent of Ukrainians have an education level of 6 (BA or apprenticeship) or more and 93 per cent were employed in Ukraine before being displaced by the war,” he continued.

The Irish Red Cross are also launching an appeal to ask the Irish public to consider pledging a room in their homes for war Ukrainians or hosting a family in a vacant property they may have. With the conflict in Ukraine ongoing, State accommodation services continue to experience significant pressure and the humanitarian organisation is concerned that those fleeing Ukraine will find themselves homeless here. 25 per cent of displaced Ukrainians in the State are being housed in pledged accommodation. The Irish Red Cross and its partners have currently placed 10,842 beneficiaries in 4,757 properties.

“We are appealing to the Irish public to once again open their hearts and homes to those who have fled Ukraine. This is a temporary measure and now more than ever newer refugees fleeing to safety here need our help”, Mr O’Keeffe said.

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times