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500,000 Ukrainian refugees crossed the Bulgarian border, but… |

She worked as a nurse in the anesthesiology department all her life Svetlana Denichenko fled the war and went to Bulgaria. However, he began to feel that his professional skills were not needed there. Therefore to him offer had to accept the jobs of maid, cleaner and cook’s assistant.

“I applied to all the hospitals in Varna for a job, but they didn’t call me,” – Denichenko told RFE/RL’s Bulgarian service.

Bulgaria with a population of 6.5 million Europe It is the poorest country of the European Union (EU). Volunteers and experts working with Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria tell RFE/RL that refugees with relevant work experience cannot find jobs in the health sector amid a shortage of doctors and nurses.

in Bulgaria political the discussion has focused on refugee resettlement rather than jobs. The program of accommodation of refugees in tourist hotels is in danger of being closed. Refugees are told to either pay or go home.

On October 31, the Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Demerdzhiyev of the state Ukraine announced that it will stop paying money to hotels that accommodate refugees. According to this plan, refugees who cannot pay from their own pockets will be moved to state-owned houses.

However, despite Demerdzhiyev’s statement, the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria in November extended the hotel program until February 24, 2023. As a member of the EU, Bulgaria must comply with the Union’s Temporary Protection Directive. The directive states that refugees should be given a job, a house (to be rented) within three years, educationhave the right to receive financial support and access to medical services.

EU concessions do not mean successful results in practice. Moreover, the problem in Bulgaria is much bigger than housing.

More than 9 months have passed since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, but Bulgaria still has no strategy for the integration of refugees into society. Successive governments make hasty and chaotic decisions in this area. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 500,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed the Bulgarian border since the beginning of the war. However, according to UNHCR and UNICEF figures for July, only 87,000 refugees remained in Bulgaria.
Denichenko, who hails from Chernigov, an hour’s drive from Kyiv, arrived in Varna in May. An acquaintance living in Varna gave him a place to stay offer did.

“I have a 26-year-old son who fought as a volunteer in the war. He forced me to leave the country to be in a safe place.”, – said Denichenko, adding that he has been living in Bulgaria for six months and has no complaints. His only complaint is that he cannot work here.

At the end of October, he got a job in the warehouse of a pharmaceutical company offer accepted immediately.

There is no shortage of jobs in Bulgaria’s healthcare sector. A large number of doctors and nurses, especially those in the early stages of their careers, prefer to work abroad for better pay, higher living standards, and better career opportunities.

of Bulgaria National According to the Statistics Institute, in 2021, the number of nurses in the country decreased by 1730 people compared to 2019. That’s a 6% drop in two years. In June, Bulgarian Radio reported on the acute shortage of medical workers across the country news spread According to a report by the Open Society Institute, only 5% of Bulgarian doctors were under 30 years of age. The report also states that 1/3 of doctors in Bulgaria have reached retirement age.

In the country political politicians as a result of instability Ukraine they could not develop a normal strategy for their refugees.

2020Since 2010, there have been protests in Bulgaria about state corruption. Conservative “Citizens of Bulgaria Europe For the sake of development” (GERB) organization and its leader Boyko Borisov has become the main target of these protests. Borisov 2010was the prime minister of Bulgaria in

However, on October 2, the Bulgarian people went to the polls for the fourth time in 18 months and voted for GERB by 25%. This means that the country may still hold snap elections.

Some politicians have criticized the government’s policy on Ukrainian refugees. MP speaking to Azadlig Radio Kremena Kuneva says that although 1,500 Ukrainians working in the medical sector came to Bulgaria, only 150 of them remained. “Our country has done absolutely nothing to keep these people,” said Kuneva, who is a member of the anti-corruption, pro-EU electoral alliance Democratic Bulgaria.

He in late October Prime Minister powers execution who did Galab Donevas well as healthcare, labour and social He says he sent his questions to the political ministers. One of his questions is whether the government has any plans for the integration of Ukrainian refugees.

According to Kuneva, one of the main problems in Bulgaria is healthcare and education is the acceptance of foreign diplomas in the sectors. Europe Despite the commission’s recommendations, Bulgaria has never adopted simplified procedures for accepting foreign degrees of people fleeing Ukraine.

Director of the Refugee and Migrant Legal Protection Program of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Iliana Savova also says that politicians’ approach to the issue is ineffective.

He says that government officials have not considered it important to deal with the issue of space for refugees, thinking that the problem is temporary. “The issue here is to give people the opportunity to support themselves and live a somewhat normal life, including the right to work,” – he says.


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