Press remarks by Commissioners Johansson and Schmit on the launch of the EU Talent Pool and strengthened support to provide certainty for those fleeing Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine

Brussels, 10 October 2022

"Check against delivery"

Commissioner Johansson:

This morning everybody, we woke up again to bombs falling in Kyiv, in Odesa, in Lviv and in many other cities, and its ongoing.

That only shows how important it is with our support and solidarity with Ukraine and with Ukrainians in these days.

I am here today together with Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, and with Ambassador Chentsov Vsevolod Head of the Mission of Ukraine to the European Union and also with the Executive Director for the European Labour Authority, Cosmin Boiangiu.

Today's event is about the support the European Union is giving to Ukrainian refugees – both within the European Union –  and to those that would to go back home to Ukraine.

In a moment, I will make two announcements on the formal support we are giving to Ukrainians within the EU and to those that would like to go back home or need to flee again.

Then I will hand over to Nicolas and Cosmin to outline the details of the EU Talent Pool pilot.

This Talent pool is designed to give Ukrainians staying in the EU easier access to the European job market.

You will soon hear the details, but first I wanted to mark today's launch by inviting onto the podium two people who represent the importance of this tool.

They are Vira Karahan and Anna Vertiieva.

Welcome. Anna and Vira are among the first to register for our EU Talent Pool portal.

Anna is an engineer by background, who has studied in Donbass State Engineering Academy.

Until February this year she was working as a project manager in a tech consulting firm.

Vira was recently studying Physics in Kyiv National University until the invasion started.

She has worked as a translator and as a bartender.

Vira and Anna represent everything that is normal and exceptional about the situation after Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Normal because, like thousands of other Ukrainians in or entering the European job market, they want to contribute.

By finding work they can be independent.

They can contribute to the community hosting them.

But Exceptional because despite all they, and their families, have gone through in the last year, they have the resolve to take these practical steps.

These two woman wish, like the 600,000 plus Ukrainians who have successfully done so, to enter the EU job market.

This is the famous Ukrainian fighting spirit – embodied by these two women.

Our job as the European Commission, is to support Ukraine

And to support Ukrainians in the EU who want to participate in the labour market.

Thank you Anna thank you Vira.

Before I hand over to Nicolas to outline the Talent pool I want to make two announcements:

As you know, since the start of the invasion, the European Union has granted immediate protection to those fleeing to the EU.

We acted as a united EU and in record time activated for the first time ever the Temporary Protection.

4.2 million Ukrainians currently are under the ‘umbrella' of this protection.

That gives them accommodation support, healthcare, education access, and the right to enter the EU job market.

I would like today to announce that the Temporary Protection Directive will continue to be in place at least until March 2024.

And what we saw this morning also make this very clear, that we continue welcome those that need to flee to the European Union.

So the Temporary Protection directive will be active at least until March 2024.

My second announcement is a direct appeal to those Ukrainians planning to return home for the long-term.

As we see today, the security situation remains very unstable.

We have recently seen the significant progress on the battlefield from the Ukrainian side.

This is very encouraging.

This might also be the reason why we now see the desperate Putin regime that are felling the bombs again.

The enthusiasm and impatience for Ukrainians to start rebuilding Ukraine is so inspiring.

Last week, I saw this attitude myself when I discussed with the Mayor of Bucha.

He told me that 70% of the people in his town and surrounding areas have returned already.

Rather than the horrors of the past they are looking to the hope of the future.

Of course, if or when you decide to go home, back to Ukraine, and then the situation suddenly can change and then you need to flee again. The EU will always welcome you and continue protecting you.

So if you made a decision to go back home and things are changing, you are always welcome back to the EU and to the Temporary Protection.

The Temporary Protection is for those that are refugees in European Union.

When you go back home for a longer period you are no longer a refugee.

Therefore formally not under the temporary protection.

And should therefore deregister from the Temporary Protection Directive.

Butas I have understood after I have met with several people during my visit in Kyiv in August and what we see today, when bombs are falling again many refugees that have gone, or plan to, go back are afraid of deregistering

Because they might need to flee again. And I fully understand that.

That's why we have decided that you do not need to deregister when you need to go back, you can keep your Temporary Protection that you have received in the Member State. The only thing you need to do is to notify the national or local authorities in your hosting country that you are returning back to Ukraine. But you do not need to return your card. You can keep your registration and you just need to notify that you are going back, so make it easy if necessary to flee again.

I discussed this when I was in Kyiv with Minister Monastyrsky and again with last week with deputy Prime Minister Stefanishya.

And we are fully in line that we have should also run together an information campaign to help those who wish to return.

Authorities need to have a record of you to be able to help you.

That is the bottom line.

Now I would like to hand over to Nicolas to take us through the Talent Pool tool, thank you.

Commissioner Schmit:

It is a very important signal to launch the Talent Pool pilot for people who have had to flee the war in Ukraine precisely today as the Ukrainian people are again victim of the criminal aggression against the civil population from the Russian regime.

This marks another concrete step in our efforts to integrate the people displaced from Ukraine into the European labour market.

It also demonstrates our continued solidarity with Ukraine. Not just in words, but with action.

Based on the partial data available, we see that the number of people under temporary protection entering the labour market is gradually increasing.

A survey of Member States carried out during the summer shows that more than 370,000 people were registered as employed in 15 Member States.

And, according to data gathered by Eurostat, in August 250,000 people were officially registered as jobseekers in 18 Member States.

We of course all wish we were not in this situation. We wish that people like Vira and Anna who are here with us today had not been forced to flee their homes.

But it is now the duty of all of us to provide as much support as we can to help make a life for themselves in the EU, as they have done here in Belgium.

Because we know from experience that learning the language and getting a job is the best way to integrate into a new country.

We hope that the Talent Pool pilot that we are launching today will speed up the process of accessing jobs in the EU.

The EU Talent Pool pilot is available in English, Ukrainian and Russian. It is implemented through EURES, which is a job-searching portal managed by the European Labour Authority that brings together national employment services, private employment agencies and employers across the EU.

People registered under the Temporary Protection Directive who are searching for a job can make their CVs available to employers and employment agencies across the EU.

Already five Member States have joined the Pilot – including Poland where the greatest number of refugees have arrived. I really encourage all actors to show solidarity and support this Pilot.

For employers in the EU, who we know are facing labour shortages across many sectors and in many different skillsets, this can be an important resource which you can draw upon.

So, I call upon employers to make use of this tool and offer good quality jobs to refugees. And I repeat good quality jobs because the last thing we want to have is that refugees are being exploited, therefore their access to labour rights and social protection is of essence.

Finally a word on recognition of qualifications. The European Training Foundation has established a resource hub to help Ukrainians seeking assistance in having their qualifications recognised, and others who need help in interpreting them. And the Europass CV tool is also in Ukrainian.