Seminar in Belgium Focuses on Helping Labour Migrants


Caritas Ukraine employees participated in a seminar organized by Caritas Europe on 15-16 December in Brussels. The seminar explored migration and illegal employment of domestic workers.

Iryna Brych, from Caritas Ukraine and Ol’ha Osadcha and Alla Hushina from Caritas Kyiv attended the seminar.

During the two day seminar Europeans came up with the following suggestions to address illegal migration

• Bring this issue to the attention of governments in the European Union and Ukraine;
• Create a separate domestic service visa;
• Make vouchers for emergency assistance available for sale;
• Create a supervisory body for employers;
• Create self-help groups for illegal employees;
• Make information easily accessible for existing and potential illegal migrants.

Only through the concerted efforts of affected countries will it be possible to successfully resolve existing problems and prevent their future reappearance.

A huge number of illegal Ukrainian migrants provide a wide range of domestic services in their countries of residence. Some of them have medical, legal or pedagogical degrees. Their salaries are significantly lower than those paid to legal employees who have no higher education.

For example, the average salary for a personal care assistant in Belgium is 2,500 Euro; an illegal migrant earns 250-300 Euros for the same job. There is also a serious problem when illegal migrants try to obtain emergency medical or social assistance.

The problems created when migrants’ families (unsupervised children and aging parents) are left behind are also serious. Ukrainian illegal migrants have to deal with all these issues alone,” says Ms. Osadcha, coordinator of Projects for the Elderly at Caritas Kyiv.

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