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Supporting refugees from Ukraine


11 Mar 2022


Social Europe & Jobs

The World Employment Confederation-Europe issued a statement regarding the situation in Ukraine, calling for all measures to be taken to bring back peace into the region. The private employment services industry is now focusing on how it can lend its support to people, including those displaced by the crisis.

Published on 8th March 2022

The World Employment Confederation-Europe (WEC-Europe) strongly condemns the unilateral use of armed force, wherever it occurs, which disrupts peace, the multilateral order, and territorial integrity, values on which the United Nations and European Union were built. We call for all measures to be taken to bring back peace to the Eastern European region and express deep concern about the situation in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all the people and families impacted by the crisis, locally, and throughout the world.  

The private employment services industry is now focusing on how it can lend its support to people, including those displaced by the crisis. The first priority of private employment agencies in the region is to support their own colleagues and agency workers, as well as their families as many attempt to flee Ukraine. 

  • For Ukrainians who were in neighbouring countries prior to the invasion, private employment agencies have commenced discussions with clients to ensure employment opportunities continue.
  • Many private employment agencies are offering transport, accommodation as well as legal and psychological assistance for family members of colleagues and agency workers.  
  • Websites and local support centres are being put in place by the private employment services industry to assist refugees.  
  • In some countries, cooperation agreements are being developed with central employers’ organisations and/or public employment services to facilitate access to the labour market for displaced workers.  
  • Several WEC-Europe members are also activating the Tent Partnership for refugees that they joined years ago, which is mobilising the private sector to improve the lives & livelihoods of more than 30 million refugees around the globe. WEC-Europe members also have relationships with the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross / Red Crescent, and the UNHCR

The World Employment Confederation-Europe calls upon national governments in the region to take all necessary measures to support refugees during the war in Ukraine. Assistance needs to include humanitarian support by admitting refugees, providing them integration support and allowing them to work in the country in which they are residing. For refugees it is important to gain access to employment as soon as possible, as work provides new stability and safety to their lives. Agency work can be particularly beneficial to refugees, also considering the fact that a large share of them are women with caring responsibilities for children. The private employment services industry can play an important role in meeting the needs of refugees in terms of labour market and housing access, skills assessment, training and social protection. 

The World Employment Confederation-Europe fully supports and welcomes the decision of the EU Council to activate the Temporary Protection Directive (2001/55/EC) to offer quick and effective assistance to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Under this Directive, war refugees will be granted temporary protection in the EU, meaning that with the registration at public authorities, they will obtain a residence permit and will have access to education and to the labour market. The World Employment Confederation-Europe calls on EU Member States to fully apply the provisions of the Temporary Protection Directive to the refugees from Ukraine.