New Partnership To Bring Remote Work Opportunities to Displaced Ukrainians

Displaced people queuing  up to register for IOM cash assistance in Uzhhorod, Western Ukraine, April 2022. A new partnership with global freelancing platform Upwork aims to help people like these find work. Photo: IOM / Gema Cortes

Through a new partnership with Upwork, a freelancing platform,  the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is helping displaced Ukrainians find remote, online work, facilitating their entry into the job market. 

IOM will identify displaced jobseekers in Ukraine and neighbouring countries with the right skills in demand on the Upwork platform, provide basic training and support services and assist participants to establish themselves as online freelancers. Upwork will provide training and assistance to onboard participants and link them with job opportunities through the platform. 

As the war in Ukraine is in its fifth month, an estimated 4.8 million jobs have been lost within the Ukrainian economy according to the International Labour Organization. With displacement becoming more protracted, connecting those displaced with income-generating opportunities is increasingly vital.  

In addition to providing a wide range of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, IOM and its partners are shifting to a longer-term approach to meet the needs of displaced populations, addressing issues like social integration and  economic self-sufficiency.  

“Displaced persons often face a number of constraints and challenges in accessing local labour markets,” stated Renate Held, IOM’s Regional Director in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Region.  

“There are often legal issues, issues related to language and skills recognition, as well as concerns about competition between displaced and host communities for limited job opportunities. Giving displaced populations with the right skillsets access to remote, online job opportunities addresses  these issues.” 

The Upwork platform connects people with job offers that can be done remotely from around the world for short and longer-term opportunities. Projects range from data entry, accounting, web design, software development and video editing, to interior design. The assignments vary in terms of duration, requiring from a few hours to several months to complete. 

In partnership with various companies, the platform’s flexible offers make job opportunities more accessible to displaced persons – especially women who fled with their children and currently face multiple challenges, including lack of childcare. The partnership can offer more immediate income-generating opportunities and access to livelihoods, which is especially relevant considering the mentioned challenges in accessing local labour markets. 

“We recognize the importance of bringing opportunities to vulnerable, displaced populations and the transformative role online freelance platforms like Upwork can play in this area,” said Patrick Hedren, Upwork’s Global Head of Public Policy & Government Affairs. “While we are starting our cooperation with IOM in the context of Ukraine, we are committed to seeing how IOM and the Upwork team can help to empower displaced populations in other regions as well.” 

“The platform for finding remote work is a very relevant and important tool for displaced populations,” confirmed Yelyzaveta Bieliaieva, a Project Manager from Kyiv, recently displaced to the Zhytomyr region. “Currently, many people are forced to move away, so we need to look for work. The ability to find a remote job allows us to get more offers and find a relevant job.” 

The war has caused one of the fastest forced population movements since the Second World War. Over 5.6 million are now refugees and more than 6 million people are displaced within Ukraine. 

“IOM is committed to supporting Ukrainians, both within and outside their country, to achieve greater self-sufficiency and dignified employment through entrepreneurship, skills development and job matching programmes, as well as through innovative partnerships with companies like Upwork that harness new technologies to create economic opportunities for vulnerable and displaced persons”, added’ IOM’s Renate Held. 

For more information, contact:  

In Vienna: 
Joe Lowry,, +43 6603776404  

In Ukraine: 

Varvara Zhluktenko,, +38 067 447 97 92 

SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals