Austria — Displaced Persons from Ukraine in Austria
The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 forced millions of Ukrainians and third-country nationals living in Ukraine to flee their homes, many crossing international borders. With the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive (2001/55/EC), the European Union introduced a regime that grants those who fled Ukraine and who fall under the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 a residence permit, as well as access to social welfare, education, employment and health care. By December 2022, there were 87,570 Temporary Protection holders in Austria, where the system of basic care (Grundversorgung) provides immediate support and housing for asylum-seekers and other non-Austrian citizens who are in need of protection and assistance. Unlike asylum-seekers, for whom the system was originally established, the majority of displaced persons from Ukraine (i.e. 72% of all Ukrainians receiving basic care) live in private accommodation instead of organized accommodation provided by the authorities. According to the survey, of those in private accommodation, 66 per cent (+/- 4.9) rent and 27 per cent (+/- 4.6) are hosted by friends, relatives or people not known to them before arrival. The fact that a significant proportion of displaced persons from Ukraine is
living in private accommodation presents particular challenges and potential vulnerabilities. \Seventy-seven (77) per cent of adult Temporary Protection holders residing in Austria are female and 35 per cent of Temporary Protection holders are children, representing a group that is at an increased risk of vulnerability to violence, exploitation and abuse, including human trafficking. Although most offers of private assistance are well intentioned, living outside of the organized housing system poses challenges to monitoring and protection measures. Information about living conditions in private accommodation is limited, including on potential risks of violence, exploitation and abuse encountered by displaced persons from Ukraine.
To fill this data gap, IOM Austria took part in a panel data collection that was jointly implemented by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Austrian Integration Fund. In the third wave of the survey, which took place from 17 January to 8 February 2023, a set of questions on the topic area was added. The self-administered online survey was sent to 7,274 displaced persons in Austria. Of these surveys, 552 were completed and submitted.
One of the objectives of this non-representative survey was to identify risk factors of experiencing violence, exploitation or abuse when accommodated in private versus organized, public housing. The data collected support the anecdotal evidence that vulnerability to exploitation and housing are linked. This Survey Report summarizes the data collection findings with the objective of making the information collected accessible in order to strengthen existing protection, assistance and awareness-raising interventions and policies.