Ukrainian refugees feel welcome in Germany, 37% keen to stay permanently: survey

BERLIN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The majority of the more than 1 million Ukrainians who fled to Germany after the Russian invasion feel welcome there and around 37% would like to settle permanently or for several years, a government-backed survey said on Thursday.

The poll of 11,225 refugees carried out jointly by several bodies, including the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, said that a further 34% of refugees planned to stay until the end of the war and 27% were undecided. Some 2% planned to leave within a year.

Germany has taken in more Ukrainians than any other European Union country except Poland after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February and triggered the largest movement of refugees since the end of the Second World War.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pledged to support Ukraine "for as long as it takes", and along with other Western allies has sent aid and weapons to Kyiv to withstand the Russian assault.

The vast majority of adult Ukrainian refugees - some 80% - were women, the survey showed, and tended to be better educated than the average Ukrainian, with 72% having a university degree.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ordered a mass mobilisation at the start of the war, forbidding men of fighting age to leave the country.

According to the survey, only 4% of Ukrainians knew German well but half were attending German courses. Three-quarters were living in private accommodation and only 9% lived in public housing for refugees.

Most rated their health as good. However, they have significantly lower life satisfaction than the German population, and Ukrainian refugee children also have a lower well-being than other children in Germany, the survey said.

Some 17% of working-age Ukrainian refugees were employed at the time of the survey, and 71% of the employed refugees had a job requiring a vocational or university degree.

Ukrainian refugees expressed a need for more support, especially in learning German, seeking employment, obtaining medical care, and finding housing, the survey said.

Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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