MPs: Ukrainians working in NL should pay towards living costs

A Ukrainian flag hangs on an Amsterdam street. Photo:

Ukrainians living in the Netherlands should pay more towards their own board and lodgings, MPs have said.

Ukrainians who fled after the Russian invasion two years ago were granted special refugee status, allowing them the same rights to live and work as EU citizens.

Ukrainians receive between €280 and €380 from their local authority in living costs, which is supposed to stop once they find work, but councils say this is difficult to monitor.

The rules also exempted them from paying health insurance, household bills and council taxes. MPs say those who have found work should be asked to contribute more from their own pockets.

One-fifth of the 100,000 refugees from Ukraine are living in private accommodation, which entitles them to an extra €93 a month which is supposed to cover their hosts’ expenses.

“More than half of Ukrainians are working,” said NSC MP Casper Veldkamp. “That’s extremely good progress. But I don’t think it’s fair if someone who is working, earning an income and gets free housing, has to pay nothing in costs. A fair personal contribution seems reasonable to me.”

Some 46% of Ukrainian refugees have found a job with a Dutch-based employer, according to latest figures from the statistics agency CBS, a proportion that rises to 77% for third-country nationals, who make up around 8% of the total.

Kati Piri, of the left-wing alliance GroenLinks-PvdA, said: “Ukrainians who are working here should contribute towards their own accommodation. That’s what asylum seekers and people on benefits have to do. Ukrainians should be treated exactly the same as everyone else in this country.”

In Germany, which is home to around a million Ukrainian refugees, individuals receive €500 a month in living expenses, rising to €1,759 for a family with two young children. The amount is reduced if they are working and earning a wage.

Parliament is due to debate the arrangements for Ukrainians on Thursday.

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