Aug 24, 2023

Czechia to Facilitate Voluntary Return Home of Ukrainian Refugees

Ukrainian refugees gather in Prague's Old Town Square.

The Czech government is developing a special program to support the voluntary return of Ukrainian refugees living in the country, the CTK news agency reports.

The draft of the program was made available to the news agency by the government’s press department.

According to the document, the Czech government would provide concrete assistance to Ukrainian refugees wishing to return to their home country and would cover part of the costs.

The state would, for example, pay for the cost of tickets and ensure the repatriation of the refugees’ personal belongings. The draft will shortly be submitted to the government, which will set up the necessary financial fund once it is adopted.

The document shows that the Czech government would first extend the temporary protection package for Ukrainian refugees by one year, from March 2024 to the end of March 2025.

Under a government decision last year, refugees from Ukraine will be granted temporary residence permits that entitle them to benefit from the Czech social and health insurance system.

Children will be able to go to school and adults will be free to work. Refugees also receive financial support of several thousand crowns a month for a certain period. Since the invasion of Ukraine in February last year, more than half a million Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the Czech Republic.

According to the Czech Interior Ministry, 360,900 of them, mostly women and children, were still in the Czech Republic at the beginning of August. That number is about 4 percent of the country’s population of some 10.5 million.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees recently called on member states not to forcibly return refugees to Ukraine, as the war could drag on. Under the Czech government’s draft, everything would be done on a voluntary basis.

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