When the editor proposed to me to write about problems of Ukrainians in the EU, firstly I thought „no“. “No sence to write about problems of honest hard-working people, if you are not able to help them”, I noted. You can find a lot of articles and documantaries about this theme. But then I changed my mind. I can tell something from my own experience – it is like my own diary about situations that happend to me and the people I know.
I’m 30 years old and I was born in Kiev – the capital of Ukraine. My parents still live there, and I‘m in Prague. During the last two decades, Ukraine has not developed it’s economy at all – no new factories or working places with competitive salaries exist. The nature around Ukrainan villages is incredible, but there are not enought products in shops, and prices for goods are very high. The prices for food or clothes are similar to those in Prague, but the salaries in Ukrainian villages and small towns are 35-100 euro a month, in Kiev - 200-500 euro. That’s why we have a lot of poor people, who are still looking for opportunity to apply for job abroad.
The European businesses do not wish to hand over working visas to Ukrainians, so our people must work on tourists visas. For example, last year, Czech Republic deported 85 Ukrainians, who worked in Prague in the shops. Since 1991, the Ukrainian society has been divieded into two cultural groups: Ukrainians, who speak English, and Ukrainians, who use only Russian language. The Russian speaking empoyers together with the European officials seem to be recruiting those Ukrainians, who speak English badly, and don’t give them any opportunity to study. They don’t pay taxes for them, don’t give them working permit etc. The deported Ukrainians in March 2017 couldn’t speak English.
I tried to find work in the Russian speaking companies in Germany in 2016 and in Czech Republic in 2017. In the German city Goettingen the Russians proposed to me to work as a nurse in the house for the elderly with a salary of 700 euro a month, 27 working days a month, 8 hours every day. The German officials in the small city of Goettingen gave me visa, which allowed me to work only in this working place with a very hard physical work and low salary. I lived there in poverty and envied Polish workers, which are able to receive an excellent job. That time I understood, that “Ukrainian language+Russian language” together seems like nothing, and “Ukrainian+English” can be a wonderful opportunity to feel like a human and receive a respectable job. I still write and speak English with mistakes, but I don’t clean toilets any more.
My friend with advanced education - a degree obtained at an Ukrainian university -, cleaned dishes in Prague restaurant last year – because she didn’t speak English, her native languages are still Ukrainian and Russian. With such skills she might the whole life be a cleaner in the EU. Before the civil war in Ukraine, well-educated people asked for a normal life – such as have the people from Latvia or Estonia, or the Czech Republic.We want to feel like humans: not to buy every year visas in EU-agencies (mostly Polish agencies) for 800-1000 euro, trying to earn this money back by cleaning EU toilets. The Latvians and Lithuanians do not do that and also have a border with Russia. The Latvians or Lithuanians do not clean dishes or toilets in the Czech Republic or Germany. It’s time to understand that Russian speaking employers are still mistreating highly educated Ukrainian cleaners, nurses, with low salaries. The Ukrainians have been angry about it for a long time.
Furthermore, a lot of young Ukrainians became Catholics, because Italians are ready to help them with visas. The UAE and Qatar in November 2017 implemented a free-visa regime with Ukraine . The Arabic employers give visas to English speaking workers from Ukraine with no problems, and nobody even thinks to deport Ukrainian workers from UAE or Qatar. Also, if European business people do not want to put their faith into Ukraine, Ukrainians will open their arms to investors and tourists from the rich Muslim countries.
A documentary about Ukrainian economic migrants in the EU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHE0Gc8Duro