29 October 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on international mobility and migration patterns of Ukrainians, highlights IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in its latest publication “Migration in Ukraine: Facts and Figures 2021”. Last year, the number of border crossings by Ukrainian nationals exiting Ukraine was 11.2 million, or almost three times less than in 2019. The most pronounced decrease, 5.5 times less, was reported in the number of Ukrainians travelling to the Russian Federation. Another decrease was recorded in the number of Ukrainians who reported intentions to go soon to work abroad: 12 per cent in 2020 against 16.4 per cent in 2019.

IOM publication suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions on cross-border mobility have not stopped labour migration completely but rather made it more difficult. Some 300,000–400,000, or about 10 per cent of Ukrainian labour migrants, returned home in the spring of 2020. They faced difficulties in finding a job and, for the most part, returned to countries of employment at the first opportunity.

“Expected consequences of the pandemic are increased popularity of neighbouring countries as destination for labour migration, more organized and regularized forms of migration, and a trend for longer stay abroad,” says Olena Malynovska, IOM consultant who compiled the report.


“Ukraine faces the same challenges in terms of migration management as many other countries. Besides being a country of origin for migrants seeking better employment and living opportunities abroad, Ukraine is also a transit country on the way of migrants to the EU as well as a destination country,” said IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission Anh Nguyen. “The national as much as international community is in need of a reliable and nuanced evidence base that reflects the rich complexity and fast-paced dynamics of the movement of people, and informs policies, practices and public opinion on migration in development, humanitarian and other related fields in order to leave no one behind,” he added.


At the presentation of the publication, the Deputy Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine Serhii Donsky highlighted the importance of credible data for effective migration management: “The synergy of the long-term cooperation between IOM and the State Migration Service of Ukraine brought forward significant results. By the end of the year, we plan to launch the process of developing an information system that was created with the involvement of IOM. This tool will enable us to digitize all statistics for previous years and start collecting data in an automated manner. As a result, an information platform will be created in the future allowing all stakeholders to analyze available data on migration processes in Ukraine.”

The IOM publication provides an overview of recent statistics and data on migration, an analytical assessment of the drivers, positive and negative impacts of migration, as well as of the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants. It also accentuates the significance of contributions made by Ukrainian migrants into the country’s economy and development, highlighting the IOM underpinning principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.