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Czech region accommodating roughly 50 Romani refugees from Ukraine without problems, "benefit tourism" is not their motivation

30.5.2022 17:18
Refugees from Ukraine in front of the Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine in Prague. (2022) (PHOTO: Lukáš Cirok)
Refugees from Ukraine in front of the Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine in Prague. (2022) (PHOTO: Lukáš Cirok)

About 50 Romani refugees are currently being accommodated in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic and their registrations have all been processed by the Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine (KACPU) in Hradec Králové. Speaking to the Czech News Agency (ČTK) on Friday, Regional Authority spokesperson Dan Lechmann provided that information.

According to Regional Governor Martin Červíček (Civic Democratic Party - ODS), the region has not yet noticed any problems with what is being called "benefit tourism". About 16 000 refugees from Ukraine overall have been registered by the Hradec KACPU since it began operations on 2 March. 

Since 24 February, when Russian troops invaded Ukraine, over 350 000 temporary protection visas have been issued by the Czech Republic to refugees from the war. "We continue to work with the available accommodation capacities every day and we are able to gradually house low numbers of any eventual Romani refugees," the Regional Governor told ČTK. 

"We do not differentiate ethnicities at the KACPU, and in the Hradec Králové Region we have not yet noticed any fundamental problems with so-called 'benefit tourism'," the Regional Governor said. Romani refugees are among the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. 

There are several thousand Romani refugees from Ukraine currently in the Czech Republic. The biggest concentration of Romani refugees in the Czech Republic is in Prague, with more than 100 still stuck living at the main railway station

Hradec Králové Regional Governor Červíček previously told ČTK that it is necessary for the state to either provide maximum accommodation capacities through the Refugee Facilities Administration (SUZ), or decide to continue building suitable "tent cities" for refugees. According to him, such capacities could augment the current options available in the regions. 

Since March, the Hradec Králové Region has reportedly been relieving other overloaded regions elsewhere in the Czech Republic, although according to the spokesperson for the Regional Authority, refugees of Ukrainian origin who have found accommodation there were not part of any redistribution of refugees between the regions; the Hradec Králové Region has paid roughly CZK 25 million [EUR 1 million] as aid in response to the aggression perpetrated by Russia against Ukraine by covering the costs connected with the influx of refugees, CZK 19.2 million [EUR 777 000] of which has been spent on accommodating them, while the Hradec KACPU operations have cost CZK 4.1 million [EUR 166 000] to date. Most of the registered refugees in the region are being accommodated in housing that is owned either by a municipal department, a municipality, or the Regional Authority itself, as well as in other housing that is non-commercial, such as the different properties and residential hotels owned by nonprofit organizations. 

Many refugees from Ukraine also moved into existing households in the region because of the big diaspora from Ukraine there. According to the Regional Governor, nearly 7 000 Ukrainians already lived in the region before the Russian invasion.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Hradec Králové, Immigration, pomoc, refugee



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