After Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022, a persistent refugee crisis erupted in Europe. Europe has recorded almost 8.1 million refugees leaving Ukraine, and by the end of May 2022, it was predicted that another 8 million people were internally displaced. By the 20th of March, about a quarter of the populace had left their homes in Ukraine. 90% of Ukrainian refugees are women and children, whereas most males in the nation between the ages of 18 and 60 are prohibited from leaving. By the 24th of March, more than half of all children in Ukraine had left their families, with one-fourth of them leaving the nation altogether. The bulk of migrants first arrived in Ukraine’s western neighbors, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. Then, about 3 million people migrated farther west to other European nations. Data from the UNHCR show that as of 18 October 2022, Poland (1.5 million), Germany (1 million), and the Czech Republic (0.5 million) were the nations that have taken in the most Ukrainians.
EU legal framework
Due to the association agreement Ukraine has with the EU, Ukrainians with biometric passports have a visa-free stay of 90 days in the Schengen Area. After the invasion of Ukraine, EU states have allowed entry and residency for refugees without biometric passports, on humanitarian grounds, as requested by the Commission. In a historic move on March 4, 2022, the EU Council unanimously invoked the Temporary Protection Directive, enabling Ukrainian migrants to skip the standard EU asylum process. Temporary protection in EU member countries allows for a minimum of one and a maximum of three years of residency for individuals seeking safety. The recipients have standardized rights including freedom to choose residency, access to employment, housing, healthcare, and education for their children. The Council did not implement a system of quotas for internally displaced people, instead allowing the recipients to freely pick their final location.
The most popular destinations for Ukrainians since 2022
The most popular destinations include:
Poland anticipated a potential Russian war on Ukraine as early as February 15, 2022. Communities were urged by the Polish government to make preparations for up to a million refugees. More than 1.2 million Ukrainian refugees have been registered in Poland as of July 25. Poland said that a variety of identification cards will be recognized and drastically shortened the customary border procedures. In all of Europe, Poland has seen the highest number of refugee arrivals. Nearly 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees have found refuge in Poland. The population of Rzeszów, the biggest city in southeast Poland, has increased by 50% as a consequence of the migration. The population of Gdansk has grown by 34%, Kraków’s by 23%, and Warsaw’s by 15%. In the entire European Union, refugees from Ukraine are legally permitted to live and work. They also have the same rights as Poles, including health insurance, free public education, and child support.
989,357 Ukrainians have entered Romania as of May 27, 2022, according to the Romanian authorities. The first migrants came to Romania two days after Vasile Dîncu, the country’s minister of defense, said on February 22 that the country could take in 500,000 refugees if required. About 80,000 people were still living there as of 15 March, according to Bogdan Aurescu, the minister of foreign affairs.
1,041,762 Ukrainian refugees came to Hungary between the beginning of the Russian incursion and July 26. Hungary does not know how many citizens have migrated to other Schengen nations since there are no border checks inside the Schengen region. There were also about 500 foreigners seeking assistance from the police who were students or migrant workers from Asia and Africa who had been living in Ukraine. They came by train to Budapest.
Refugees from the Odesa and Vinnytsia districts were among the first to be taken in by Moldova. To assist refugee housing and humanitarian aid, Moldovan authorities launched a crisis management center. Moldova has accepted 549,333 Ukrainian migrants as of July 26. 100,000 refugees were residing in Moldova, with over half of them being children, according to Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița on April 5. On April 11, the UN reported that Moldova was “hosting an estimated 95,000 Ukrainians.” Medecins Sans Frontières claims that the majority of refugees who don’t remain go on to Romania, Poland, or other European nations. Despite being one of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova received the most refugees per capita of any other nation.
Over 140,000 people had entered Slovakia as of March 8. By the 26th of July, Slovakia had received 627,555 Ukrainian migrants. The majority of the refugees, however, traveled farther west, mostly to the Czech Republic. So far, Slovakia has become home to about 80,000 refugees.
Canada, Mexico, the United States, and other nations outside of the EU have also been popular destinations for Ukrainians since the invasion.