Sunday 02 April 2023

Some Ukrainians are going back, but most are here for the duration

A protest banner in Amsterdam. Photo:

An increasing number of Ukrainians may be leaving the Netherlands according to justice ministry figures cited by the Telegraaf, but most are here for the duration.

Some 8,820 Ukrainians de-registered in the cities where they had been living until  September 9, the figures showed. The ministry said it did not have data on where people were going but thought it likely most would have travelled back to Ukraine.

The number may be higher still because not all may have notified their local authority that they are leaving.

Another indicator is the declining number of Ukrainians seeking help with repatriation, the paper said. Some 170 people requested assistance at repatriation service Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek a month ago, compared to 240 this month.

Homesickness, family and the wish to help the war effort were among the reasons mentioned most often for wanting to go back, the service said.

‘We are also seeing people who think the situation is safe enough now and are motivated to help build up the country,’ a spokesman for the ministry told the paper. ‘But the country is still at war and it is likely to continue to be at war,’ he said.

Long-term strategy

The Clingendael Institute for international relations said the cabinet would do well to come up with a long-term strategy because most of the Ukrainian refugees will be here for a longer period. Research by the institute has shown a quarter of Ukrainians wanted to emigrate before the war started, so the intention to return will be limited, the institute said.

‘Some Ukrainians are going home,’ Tilburg University and Ukrainian network coordinator Maria Shaidrova said. ’They go and come back more often, also to and countries like Poland and Germany. Some go back to find the situation is not better but worse. They still run the risk of being killed in a missile attack.’

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