Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Bulgaria has taken in 782,043 migrants at its borders and provided temporary shelter to about 136,818 Ukrainian refugees, 87% of whom are women and children, in accordance with the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive. As of October 5th, 54,579 Ukrainian refugees were still inside the nation. According to the Bulgarian Asylum Law, 1,287 petitions for international protection from Ukrainian refugees were registered during the first half of 2022.
The number of asylum requests from non-Ukrainian caseloads rose in Bulgaria at the same time. The State Agency for Refugees (SAR) received 8,840 applications for international protection, a 288% increase from the same period in 2021. Many of them come from North Africa, Syria, and Afghanistan. Following the Regional Refugee Response Plan, UNHCR has expanded its operations and capacities in Bulgaria and is now in charge of the multi-agency response (RRP).
Compared to the previous month, the UNHCR saw a significant increase in the number of Ukrainians leaving Bulgaria in September. Between September 5th and October 5th, it was reported that over 100,000 Ukrainian migrants had departed Bulgaria. The number of Ukrainians who arrived from Romania in August matched the number of people who left Bulgaria for other countries.
Smaller numbers of refugees are thought to be leaving Bulgaria for other parts of Europe, while the majority are considered to be returning home to Ukraine. According to UNHCR, there may be an increase in refugee migrations to Bulgaria via Romania, Moldova, Serbia and Hungary. While non-Ukrainians encounter difficulties entering Bulgaria, refugees from Ukraine have free access to the country. They are given temporary shelter without questioning their identity, background, previous address or anything else.