EU funds, including ESF/ESF+ and ERDF, can support Member States’ measures to provide access to the labour market, vocational education and training and adult learning.

 Over 7 million people have fled Ukraine and reached the EU since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, including many Roma.

While so far only a relatively small number of those of persons of working age have entered the EU labour market, the number of people wanting to do so is expected to rise. Understanding that a swift and effective inclusion into the labour market is important both for host communities and for those fleeing the war to rebuild their lives, continue developing their skills and, eventually, support reconstruction in Ukraine, the European Commission publishes this guidance to help these displaced people to find suitable employment and training (as a critical factor to facilitate entry into the labour market).

EU funds, including ESF/ESF+ and ERDF (along with other funds and instruments such as the FEAD, the AMIF, InvestEU, the Technical Support Instrument, and Erasmus+), can support Member States’ measures to provide access to the labour market, vocational education and training (VET) and adult learning, as stated in the guidance and illustrated in the examples of EU-funded projects included in it.

This was one of the topics addressed at the latest EURoma Management Committee meeting, held in June. Following the review of the specific situation and needs of Roma people fleeing Ukraine (including the challenges it seems they are facing), the instruments available to address their situation were addressed (including the Temporary Protection Directive and the financial instruments that have been put in place, notably the REACT-EU and the CARE, that allow using funds such as ESF+ and ERDF to take action).

About the guidance

European Commission’s guidance:

  • Describes measures that can be taken by Member States based on lessons learnt and best practices gathered so far, building on previous measures at EU level to integrate people arriving from Ukraine into the labour market and support their access to vocational education and training (VET) and adult learning.
  • Features several concrete examples of EU-funded projects that can serve as inspiration for Member States’ initiatives in this area and help ensure that they make the best use of support available at EU level.

The guidance covers both people eligible for temporary protection under the Temporary Protection Directive as well as those eligible for adequate protection under national law.

Access to employment and training

As part of the Guide, the Commission invites Member States to:

  • Provide information and support available to people fleeing Ukraine, such as career guidance, counselling and protection from discrimination
  • Facilitate the inclusion in the labour market of people who benefit from temporary protection and, where appropriate, adequate protection under domestic law through: encouraging those arriving in the EU to register with local public employment services; reflecting the needs of people fleeing war in the work and effort of national authorities and employment services; supporting employers who hire refugees fleeing war and providing start-up grants; and extending entrepreneurship support programs to newly arrived people
  • Provide the broadest possible access to the labour market, taking into account different aspects such as the risk of exploitation and undeclared work through cooperation between the different actors (including police and labour inspection authorities) and not using the option, provided for in the Temporary Protection Directive, of granting priority access to the labour market to EU citizens and other categories of citizens.

Recognition of existing capacities and investment in new ones

The Commission invites Member States to:

  • Ensure that people’s skills and qualifications can be valued, assessed and swiftly recognised, irrespective of whether documentation is available. This can include support to prepare CVs, test skills and retrieve missing qualifications.
  • Provide, as quickly as possible, targeted upskilling and reskilling opportunities, VET and/or practical workplace experience. This requires close cooperation with education and training providers, social partners and the private sector, to ensure that these opportunities are in line with labour market needs and skills gaps.
  • Ensure swift access to initial VET, including apprenticeships, and explore possibilities to prolong ongoing stays of Ukrainian vocational learners, which is especially relevant for young people.
  • Make opportunities available for adults fleeing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine to access general education, including through second chance schooling, as well as enrolment in higher education institutions.

The Commission has also developed several tools of the CV Europass platform available to the public in the Ukrainian language. This will help Ukrainian-speaking users to create CVs, assess their digital skills, submit applications and find job and training offers in the EU. In addition, the Ukrainian translation of the European Multilingual Classification of Skills, Competences and Occupations (ESCO) will be available shortly.

Other resources already published previously

The Commission presented operational guidelines to help Member States implement the Temporary Protection Directive, a recommendation to help refugees with professional qualifications to access employment in the EU, and a 10-point plan for greater European coordination in the reception of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. In addition, several initiatives make it easier for Member States to make full use of available EU funds, notably the Cohesion Action for Refugees in Europe Regulation (CARE). The EU has already made €3.5 billion worth of advance payments available to Member States to help people fleeing war.

Next steps

Member States are invited to continue their efforts to support those fleeing Ukraine and facilitate their integration into the labour market, including by making the best use of the support available at EU level. The Commission stands ready to work with national authorities and other relevant stakeholders further and will continue to provide guidance in light of the evolving situation.

Further information


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