Ukrainian refugees expected to move to Bulgaria’s interior as hotel scheme nears end

It is expected that Ukrainian refugees currently accommodated in hotels at Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast will begin to move inland as the state scheme to subsidise their stay at the hotels nears its end, according to a statement by the Plovdiv district administration on August 26.

The hotel support scheme was put in place by the former Petkov government after Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s war on their country began to arrive in Bulgaria in large numbers.

A few days before leaving office, the Petkov government extended the second phase of the scheme, which had been due to end on August 31, to the end of September.

The caretaker government appointed by President Roumen Radev, which has been in office since August 2, has offered no clarity about assisting Ukrainian refugees in need of assisted accommodation.

The statement by the Plovdiv district administration said that there were close to 5500 Ukrainian refugees in the Plovdiv district, and a further 100 new families were expected to arrive in September.

Some of these people are looking for work and apartments for rent, and many of them are interested in living in settlements near Plovdiv, the statement said.

The statement followed a working meeting initiated by Plovdiv district governor Angel Stoev, aimed at providing coordinated support for the integration and adaptation of Ukrainian refugees in the region.

It was attended by mayors of settlements who are ready to support the accommodation of refugees, finding jobs for them and securing places in kindergartens and schools.

The honorary consul of Ukraine in Plovdiv, Dimitar Georgiev, and Natalia Ellis from the Ukraine Support and Recovery foundation, which manages the Second Home centre in the former Lung Hospital, took part in the meeting.

The new migration wave of refugees from coastal cities to the interior is linked to the end of the state’s program to help hoteliers at the end of September, the statement said.

At the same time, employers in the industrial area and agricultural companies need labour and are ready to hire workers immediately.

“The purpose of this meeting is to create a direct connection between Mr. Georgiev and the foundation with the mayors of populated areas, so that the job search process can be accelerated for the people who fled the horror of the war,” Stoev said.

He said that Plovdiv municipality could hardly take in all the refugees and therefore welcomes the approach of the foundation, which links adaptation with a quick start to work and the inclusion of refugee children in schools in the Plovdiv area.

Ellis said that the war would not end soon, and Ukraine’s recovery would continue for at least a further five years after that.

“We do not hide this from our people and do our best to adapt them quickly and include them in Bulgarian language learning courses. We know that until then they can do general work, but they have to join the labour market,” Ellis said.

(Photo: Plovdiv district administration)

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