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Refugee shelters near full capacity as Ukraine war continues

Refugee shelters near full capacity as Ukraine war continues

11.07.2022 From our online archive
Refugees struggle to find housing in expensive Luxembourg
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

By Yannick Lambert and Florian Javel

Shelters for asylum seekers in Luxembourg are almost at full capacity as refugees fleeing the ongoing war against Ukraine seek protection in the Grand Duchy and arrivals from other countries are reaching pre-pandemic levels.    

The structures hosting asylum seekers whose claims are being processed are currently at 96% capacity, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn said on Monday, with new infrastructure only set to open later in the year. 

Syrians and Afghans are among the main groups seeking protection in Luxembourg and predictions show that asylum applications could be twice as high this year as in 2021, Asselborn said.

In July, the government decided to invest €7.5 million in a new structure in Contern to be able to accommodate around 500 people seeking protection. More than 690 beds should also be available by the end of the year in a building in Kirchberg  to take in more Ukrainian refugees. The opening of the building was delayed due to supply issues.

Of the 7.5 million Ukrainians fleeing the Russian war of aggression within the EU 4,054 have received temporary protection status in Luxembourg, including 2,107 women and 1,496 children, Asselborn said. Ukrainians with temporary protection status can immediately access the labour market. People stay in the shelters hosting first arrivals for an average of 600 days, despite having been granted the protection status, he said. People who stay in these structures struggle to access the housing market due to high prices, the minister said.

To date, 600 Ukrainians have registered with ADEM job agency as jobseekers but Asselborn said he did not know how many of them have since found work.

Around 145 third-country nationals who were in Ukraine before the war began can now benefit from temporary protection status in Luxembourg, Asselborn added. 

Under EU law, refugees fleeing Ukraine but who do not have Ukrainian nationality will only fall under the temporary protection regime if they are unable to return safely to their home country. So far, 108 people have been rejected in this context, a foreign affairs spokesman said in an email last week.

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