At least 300 Ukrainian refugees in Belgium have returned home

At least 300 Ukrainian refugees in Belgium have returned home
Asylum seekers from Ukraine waiting to register at the old Jules Bordet hospital in Brussels. Credit: Belga

The number of Ukrainian refugees in Belgium who have already officially deregistered from Belgium in order to return home is now 298 people, Le Soir reports, with reference to the Office of the Commissioner-General for Refugees.

According to UN statistics, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has forced more than 13 million Ukrainians to flee their homes. Some chose to travel to Europe, including over 1 million to Poland, and others to other cities within Ukraine.

A total of 595 Ukrainians have deregistered from their municipalities, either signalling their departure from the country or a move to a different area.

According to the General Commissariat for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRA), the number of Ukrainians taking steps to leave the country has been rising in recent weeks. Spokesperson Dominique Ernould said that the commissariat is not notified of all departures and the real statistic is expected to be much higher.

Not all Ukrainians take the official steps when leaving the country, while others notify the municipality, but leave before the process is complete.

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To date, around 47,000 temporary protection statuses have been issued to Ukrainian refugees in Belgium. 38,803 Ukrainians have gone on to register themselves with a Belgian municipality.

Due to the relative calm situation in Ukraine’s capital, many Ukrainians in Europe are making the decision to travel back to their homes. Some struggle to acclimate in European cities, others have struggles with finding meaningful employment, and many simply miss their homes and other family members.

Recent estimates from the UNHCR states that more than 2.3 million border crossings back in Ukraine have been made by Ukrainians. Ukraine’s border force estimates that around 30,000 Ukrainians return to the country every day. In May, Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko said the city’s population had returned to almost two-thirds of its pre-war levels.

According to Le Soir, some Ukrainians are worried about crossing the border back into Ukraine for fear of losing their temporary protection back in Belgium. Under the current regulation, those who remain outside the country for longer than 28 days without justification will lose their social security income.

NGOs are calling for more clarity on the rights of Ukrainians to leave Belgium and to facilitate trips to help the beneficiaries of people with temporary protection in Belgium.

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