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6 Oct, 2023 13:48

European nation to pay Ukrainian refugees to leave – media

Switzerland has developed a strategy to encourage Ukrainians to voluntarily return to their homeland
European nation to pay Ukrainian refugees to leave – media

The Swiss authorities are reportedly willing to pay up to $4,000 to each Ukrainian refugee if they agree to go home, SwissInfo news outlet reported on Wednesday, citing a government report.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has developed a provisional government strategy under which Ukrainian refugees would be expected to leave Switzerland within a window of six to nine months.

The plan is based on lifting the ‘S protection status’ for migrants sometime in 2024 or 2025. At that point, it is expected that around 70,000 Ukrainians would be able to safely return home, with 80% of them expected to do so voluntarily.

However, the remaining 20%, or 14,000 people, are expected to remain past the departure deadline date, the report claimed, noting that the longer these people stay in Switzerland, the less likely they will be to leave of their own free will.

In light of this, the SEM insisted that everything must be done in order to encourage voluntary departures, including providing financial assistance to the refugees.

“The articulated amounts vary between CHF1000 and CHF4000 [$1,090 and $4,355] francs per person depending on the departure phases,” SwissInfo reported.

Poland has announced that it is planning to gradually phase out financial assistance to Ukrainian refugees starting next year. Government spokesman Piotr Muller explained in an interview this week that the period during which Ukrainians were fleeing en masse from their country has already passed and therefore the financial aid given to them, which was meant to be temporary, should now also be phased out.

According to the latest UN estimates, there are over 6 million Ukrainian refugees recorded globally, most of them reportedly living in Europe, primarily in countries such as Poland and Germany. The Russian security services, as cited by TASS in January, however, claim that an additional 5.2 million refugees have crossed into Russia since the fighting began last year. 

The authorities in Kiev have been urging Western countries not to view Ukrainians living there as refugees, but as people who have been “forced to leave Ukraine.” The head of Ukraine’s State Migration Service, Natalia Naumenko, insisted that the migration services of other countries should not create any programs for the integration of Ukrainian citizens.