“We have to go back to the Kosovo war, at the end of the 90s, to find such large flows of refugees”, Jean Stellittano slips. This is testified by the general secretary of the Secours populaire des Alpes-Maritimes: since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, “every day” there are knocking on the door of this unique association “between 10 and 12 families”. The department is in fact one of those in France that has welcomed more Ukrainians since February 24, according to the prefecture. As of May 4, it had already issued 5,662 temporary residence permits. It has an overwhelming majority of women and children, unlike previous waves of refugees.
According to the estimate of the state services, they would represent 50% of the people received in the Maritime Alps. Minors would be 30%. And therefore men at 20%. Demographic characteristics that had to be taken into account to organize this temporary protection granted by France.
Single women with “vulnerable” children.
According to the latest tally on Thursday by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 5.4 million Ukrainians have fled their country, of which only 10% are men, between the ages of 18 and 60, probably mobilized, not having the right to leave. “The share of single women and children welcomed is much higher than in other waves of refugees, confirms Jean Stellittano. And it is a particularly vulnerable public ”. The risk ? May the wave of solidarity that followed the outbreak of the war also bring some bad intentions with it.
“Particular attention has been paid by the administration to housing offered to citizens, further anticipates the head of the Secours populaire. On volunteering for singles in particular. For the moment there would be nothing to report from this point of view. I know that some families have changed accommodation along the way, but not because of serious problems. “
Organized trips, meetings … The important thing is above all to socialize these people quickly, “even if most of them want to return to Ukraine as soon as possible”. So that they are not isolated, he adds.
Schools involved for children
The Nice Academy supports the largest number of Ukrainian children in France. At the end of April there were more than 1,200 in the factories, especially elementary ones, in the Maritime Alps and in the Var, the rectorate specifies. “At the college and high school level, many prefer to take distance learning courses,” a spokesperson said. In any case, unprecedented support that led to the creation of new UPE2A classes. In these Teaching Units for incoming allophone students, the teachers note “high standards for mathematics in particular” and “a capacity for rapid adaptation”, let us say again on the side of the rectorate.
The desire to learn French is also significant among adults. “We give a lot of lessons, people are in great demand,” confirms Christine Jomat, from Cannes’ Secours Catholique. Also in Nice the city hall has established special classes. Since March 21 they have been attended by 200 refugees, the vast majority of whom are women, on average every day, according to the municipality.
“Authorized” work for adults “required”
The Ministry of Labor specifies on its website: the temporary protection that France grants to displaced persons from Ukraine “allows them in particular to exercise a professional activity”. “The difference is with migrants from other countries. If you hire an undocumented person, you can be prosecuted “, recalls another member of the association.” The job demand from Ukrainian refugees is significant, but it is also linked to learning French “, continues Christine Jomat in Cannes. , where profiles are often redirected particularly to the hotel sector.
On 7 April the city of Nice organized “a day to facilitate the employment of refugees in sectors that are struggling to recruit”. Including that, again, of tourism. This meeting mobilized 600 people and generated more than 200 job offers.