Wednesday, April 10

Moldova welcomes Ukrainian refugees, offers them jobs amid labor shortage

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing for their lives have arrived in Moldova, a country on Ukraine’s southern border, since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine last week. 

Although Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries, it has taken in at least 88,000 Ukrainians. 

Moldova, like Ukraine, was part of the former Soviet Union, and is facing a labor shortage. More than 1 million Moldovans have left the country of about 3.5 million since 1991, according to Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. 

Ukrainians fleeing to Moldova are being offered jobs in a wide array of fields, including as teachers, construction workers, in the country’s burgeoning information technology sector and in the service industry, the report said

“If these refugees decide to stay in Moldova they are welcome,” Veaceslav Ionita, a former member of parliament, said. “That would be a solution for them – and it would help Moldova because in my opinion, the biggest challenge for Moldova in the next two or three years is it has no workers.”

 He said the country’s tech sector could easily offer 5,000 new jobs.  

The country has also taken steps to get refugees bank accounts, enrolled in health care and their children in local schools. 

Mihaela Lavrov, an office manager at Purcari, Moldova’s oldest winery, said Moldovans “can’t ignore” Ukrainians’ “hard times.”

Refugees fleeing war in Ukraine board a bus as they arrive to Palanca, Moldova.
Refugees fleeing war in Ukraine board a bus as they arrive at Palanca, Moldova.
AP Photo/Aurel Obreja

The winery has allowed refugees to stay at its château and another hotel it rented for free. Only two other countries – Poland and Hungary – have taken in more Ukrainian refugees so far. 

Refugees “should be integrated economically and earn money,” Igor Grosu, president of Moldova’s parliament, said in an interview. 

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Business owner Anastasia Nistor said she has an office manager position that could be good for a working mother. Most of the refugees are women and children because Ukraine isn’t allowing men between 18 and 60 to leave the country. She said her business also needs a graphic designer, according to the newspaper. 

Still, some Ukrainians are concerned about staying in Moldova, saying it could be vulnerable to invasion too. 

Refugees fleeing war in Ukraine arrive to Palanca, Moldova.
Refugees fleeing war in Ukraine arrive in Palanca, Moldova.
AP Photo/Aurel Obreja
Russia's invasion of Ukraine as of March 1, 2022.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as of March 1, 2022.
NY Post Graphics

“Moldova is too close,” Ukrainian refugee Vitaliia Shcherbakova said, according to the newspaper. “We don’t know what’s going to happen – and Putin has said something about the nuclear weapons. So we want to be as far as possible.”

Images have recently emerged of Putin ally Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko standing in front of a map that appears to show Russia may intend to attempt an invasion of Moldova via the city of Odessa, Ukraine, according to The Hill and other outlets. Lukashenko was addressing his security council at the time. 

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