Needs, Intentions and Integration Challenges for Ukrainian Refugees in Hungary

Budapest, 22 August 2023 – More than 5.2 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine due to the Russian war in Ukraine,1 and a further 6.2 million have fled to safety across international borders such as Hungary’s.2  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) carries out regular surveys with displaced persons fleeing to Hungary from the war in Ukraine in order to better understand the current trends, and based on this information, how to best respond to the changing needs of its beneficiaries. IOM Hungary’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Survey with Refugees from Ukraine: Needs, Intentions and Integration Challenges Q2 2023 examines a broad range of issues, and represents one of the largest research samples of Ukrainian refugees across Hungary. The following key findings are based on the answers of 413 respondents:

•    Intention to stay in Hungary: transiting (32%), already settled (24%), planning to settle (19%),
residence in Ukraine (15%), residence in another country (8%);
•    Applied for Temporary Protection (TP): yes (59%), no (40%). Out of those who have already settled, most registered for TP (84%) or are on a work visa (11%);
•    Top practical needs in Hungary:* financial support (51%), transportation (49%), information (40%), long-term accommodation (35%), food (35%), health services (24%);
•    Top areas of assistance received in Hungary:* transportation (80%), food (55%), accommodation (47%); and
•    Top inclusion challenges:* language (53%), financial issue (33%), lack of general information (21%), lack of information on jobs (17%) and housing (15%).

* more than one answer possible


Out of the respondents who already settled in Hungary by the time of the interview, the share of those registered for EU Temporary Protection (TP) in the country increased to 84% in Quarter 2 (Q2) as opposed to 67% in Q1. The number of respondents staying in Hungary on different work arrangements dropped from 22% (Q1) to 11% (Q2), and those staying in Hungary under different legal constructions decreased from 11% (Q1) to 5% (Q2).

At the time of the interview, 44% of all Ukrainian respondents reported having no intention to move away from their current location, while 30% intended to move to another country. To a lesser extent, 11% considered returning to their place of origin within Ukraine, and 3% intended to move somewhere else within Hungary. Less than 1% wanted to return to a place different from their place of origin within Ukraine. Another 11% was unsure about their intentions to stay or move.

The DTM research carried out between April-June 2023, two-thirds of which happened at the border train station in Záhony, revealed that some of the most pressing practical needs of these displaced persons upon arrival were perceived to be financial support and transportation. The share of those signaling a need for financial help has increased dramatically from 27% (Q1) to 51% (Q2). A smaller, yet significant increase was also noted in the need for transportation assistance from 42% (Q1) to 49% (Q2). Other practical needs only varied to a small extent between the two data collection periods. For example, there was no significant discrepancy recorded in the need for long-term accommodation 36% (Q1) and 35% (Q2). 

More than half of all respondents continued to mention language as the most significant barrier to social inclusion: 59% (Q1) and 53% (Q2). This was followed by financial issues, which increased from 25% to 33%. The demand for information specifically related to jobs and employment has doubled (from 8% to 17%). Compared to Q1, there were fewer respondents citing the lack of long-term housing (22% to 15%) and access to social services (15% to 12%) as social inclusion barriers in Q2.

Nearly two-thirds of all respondents (62%) reported having received some kind of assistance in Hungary. Out of them, the most frequently received support was related to transportation (80%) and food assistance (55%). This was followed by accommodation (47%) and financial support (43%). To a lesser extent, respondents mentioned receiving hygiene items (21%), clothes (16%), vouchers (12%) and language courses (11%).

However, the necessity for information about where to turn for specific kinds of assistance is still great. Thirty-six per cent of respondents did not know where to seek assistance (N=149). Among them, 58% needed additional information related to financial support. Other information gaps included long-term accommodation (44%), transportation (40%), food assistance (36%) and general information (32%). This is exactly why IOM Hungary’s free hotline, and the Budapest Helps! Info and Community Centre are so essential to communicating this vital information to beneficiaries in a timely and accessible manner. 

IOM Hungary Offers Viable Solutions 

“IOM Hungary has been supporting refugees arriving from Ukraine with vital assistance since February 2022. As of June 2023, IOM Hungary has supported more than 6,000 Ukrainians and Third-Country Nationals with life-saving emergency assistance. This has been made possible by understanding the mobility patterns; profiles, and the ever-evolving needs and challenges of refugees arriving, transiting and staying in Hungary. DTM findings have significantly contributed to designing adequate interventions that benefit not only the displaced, but also the host community affected by the humanitarian crisis.”
- Dániel Bagaméri, Head of Office, IOM Hungary

Based on the findings of the Displacement Tracking Matrix Survey with Refugees from Ukraine: Needs, Intentions and Integration Challenges , IOM continuously identifies the changing needs of the beneficiary populations and adapts its programs to help alleviate some of the most difficult obstacles for both short- and long-term returnees. DTM reports provide the much-needed evidence base for humanitarian programming, and inform humanitarian and charity organizations, as well as local public authorities on the situation and needs of the affected population. IOM Hungary conducted 1,635 interviews during the first half of 2023 to identify and assess the intentions, needs and integration challenges of people fleeing Ukraine. Aggregated statistical data of the interviews are available on an interactive dashboard with filtering and comparison functions to facilitate user-friendly individual analysis of DTM data.

Since the beginning of the war, thousands of people in Hungary have received direct assistance from IOM, including food, non-food and hygiene items, vouchers, mental health and psychosocial support, and have received timely information to help prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Refugees returning home to Ukraine are met at the Záhony train station by our IOM Hungary field teams on the Hungarian side of the border to help translate, answer questions and distribute information in Ukrainian, Hungarian, English and Russian. In vulnerable cases, in coordination with IOM Ukraine, information can be provided about services available in Ukraine. 

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is a system used to track and monitor displacement and population mobility. Survey forms are utilized to capture data about the main displacement patterns for refugees of any nationality fleeing from Ukraine because of the war. The surveys are conducted in person. The demographic profiles of respondents, and if any, the group they are travelling with, are noted with an emphasis on their intentions relative to the intended final destination; prospects for permanent residence in the country of the survey/first reception; and their most pressing needs at the moment of the interview. 

This report is based on surveys collected among Ukrainian nationals in Hungary between 1 April and 30 June 2023 in Budapest and in Záhony (Szabolcs Szatmár Bereg County) at various sites, including transit points (e g train and bus stations) and IOM premises.

The expansion of IOM’s DTM activities in the region was made possible with financial support from the U.S Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Japan, the Government of France and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

For more information:
•    Download Q2 DTM Report
•    All graphs, tables and photos can be found here.
•    Find all published reports at
•    IOM Hungary’s photo gallery for press can be found here.

IOM has been providing emergency response, transition and recovery support to affected populations in Ukraine since the outbreak of the conflict in 2014. Since February 2022, IOM Hungary has assisted over 25,000 vulnerable, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and people in need from Ukraine through its conflict-response in Hungary. The regular DTMs assist us in gauging what the most urgent and differing needs are for the very diverse groups of displaced persons – ethnic Hungarians, Ukrainians, Third Country Nationals, Roma... and enables us to adapt and respond effectively. IOM calls for support for its Crisis Response Plan to support meeting time-critical humanitarian needs and allow for the reprioritization of response activities. 

Established in 1951, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. IOM is amongst the largest humanitarian actors in the world, and one of the few international organizations directly implementing programs across the humanitarian, development and peace nexus providing comprehensive, holistic and inclusive responses throughout all phases of crises. IOM is committed to saving lives and helping populations move out of harm’s way. We protect and assist those displaced or stranded by crisis, and support populations and their communities to recover. We work to mitigate adverse drivers that force people from their homes, help build resilience and focus on reducing disaster risk so that movement and migration can be a choice.

IOM supports migrants across the world, developing effective responses to the shifting dynamics of migration and, as such, is a key source of advice on migration policy and practice. The organization works in emergency situations, developing the resilience of all people on the move, and particularly those in situations of vulnerability, as well as building capacity within governments to manage all forms and impacts of mobility. The Organization is guided by the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, including upholding human rights for all. Respect for the rights, dignity and well-being of migrants remains paramount.


1According to January 2023 data extracted from: Ukraine — Internal Displacement Report — General Population Survey Round 12 (16 - 23 January 2023) | Displacement Tracking Matrix (
2According to July 2023 data extracted from:

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being
SDG 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions