From March 15-18, 2006, Ukrainian World Congress president Askold S. Lozynskyj visited Ukrainian communities in Portugal. Some two hundred thousand Ukrainians reside in Portugal, essentially all new arrivals over the last seven years. Only one third have legal status. The composition is gender equally diverse, children, average age in the late thirties, highly educated. Their lines of employment range from desk administrative positions to construction and taxi driving. In March 2005, a treaty between Ukraine and Portugal took effect regarding migrant workers, affording opportunities to procure workers’ visas for not more than one year with extension possibilities pursuant to contract with a Portuguese employer. The treaty provides for full protection and security afforded to indigenous employees. However, statistically, few have arrived pursuant to this treaty.
The stark movement of Ukrainians to Italy, temporary or not, can be explained by several factors: lax border control by Italy and propensity for corruption, job opportunities particularly for middle age women as caretakers of the elderly who dominate Italian society, periodic legalization amnesties and easy transport via cars and buses as well as airplanes. A legal and illegal network of busing from Ukraine throughout Italy from Naples to Milan provides facile legal and illegal transport for humans, parcels and money.
The community is structured but not centralized with regional and local associations such as the Christian Association of Ukrainians in Italy, the Association of Ukrainians in Italy, Ukraine Plus, Association of Ukrainian Women and Association of Ukrainian Women Workers. The contemporary community leadership actively has sought and established relations with municipal authorities, trade unions, international organizations (Red Cross, International Organization for Migration, the latter in the area of human trafficking) and the media. Several communities boast of a Saturday/Sunday Ukrainian school program with facilities provided by local government officials and organizations. Text books are brought over by the teachers themselves from Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ministry of Education has been less than helpful. Aside from general legalization, the greatest need is a treaty between Ukraine and Italy regarding the logistics of receiving an Italian pension upon return to Ukraine. [...]
After reading this, I don't really understand why we need to join the EU. It seems like we're already there...