YEREVAN — As of April this year, approximately 16,300 Artsakh Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh have officially found employment in Armenia, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan announced on Thursday.

More than a thousand refugees have registered as individual entrepreneurs and/or fully or partly own businesses, Khachatryan reported during a government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

The latest employment data indicates a significant increase from the number of officially employed Artsakh Armenians recorded by the Armenian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in early December, which was 5,350 at that time.

Over 100,000 ethnic Armenians, constituting nearly the entire remaining population of Karabakh, were forced to flee to Armenia in late September as Azerbaijan gained full control of the region following a months-long blockade.

Last month, the Armenian government approved a five-year program of financial assistance for Karabakh Armenians willing to buy or build new homes, primarily in rural areas. Each individual, including children, will be eligible for government grants ranging from 2 million to 5 million drams ($5,000-$13,000) to be used exclusively for housing needs.

In a separate development, the government announced on Thursday that the European Union will provide an additional 15 million euros ($16 million) in aid to the refugees. This money will be spent on meeting their “urgent needs,” according to a government statement.


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