Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started in February, 1,323 Ukrainians who arrived in Belgium registered as job seekers with Brussels employment service Actiris, a number that is increasing slowly. In the past two weeks, fewer than 100 registrations were added.
Actiris had expected 5,000 registrations this summer, but at a current total of 1,300 job seekers, it seems unlikely this number will be reached soon.
“Many Ukrainians have no intention of staying here long,” Actiris spokesperson Jan Gatz told Bruzz. “That makes them a very specific target group. Many have not been here long and have looked for a place to stay or possible childcare before starting their search for work.”
As most of the registrations were recorded over the last three months, it remains difficult to determine how many Ukrainians have successfully found employment in the capital region, Gatz said, adding that the follow-up will take several months.
The large majority of job seekers — eight in ten — are women, and almost all of them (99,4%) have a diploma that isn't recognised in Belgium. Seven in ten are between 25 and 49 years old, while one-tenth of the job seekers are younger than 25.
However, data from Actiris shows that Ukrainians who registered to work in Brussels would be able to work in various sectors. About 10% of job seekers have experience in administrative positions and another 10% in security or cleaning services. This is followed by management (8%), trade and sales (7%), economics and law (7%), catering (7%) and transport and logistics (6%).
Despite nearly all job seekers having a diploma, just over half (55%) have at least basic knowledge of English and only 21% of them know basic French. “There is a language barrier for a lot of them,” said Gatz.
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“During the first contact, we invariably point out the options available to them to learn French, English or Dutch.”
In total, Actiris has already distributed 280 language checks for free language lessons among Ukrainians. Four-fifths of those checks are used for French lessons.