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Employing Ukrainian Refugees: Employer’s Guide

With the UK having received many refugees from Ukraine, employers are looking to help refugees and give talented workers a chance in the UK.

This process can be complex, and there are a lot of legal considerations a business needs to make to employ a Ukrainian refugee. However, IAS can help businesses understand the process and what they must do to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.

Give IAS a call at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to get started on the process of hiring a Ukrainian refugee today

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS For Your Work Visa

    Our team of immigration lawyers can provide the right support to ensure you secure a work visa for yourself or your employees.


    Your immigration lawyer will consider your case and offer bespoke advice, and they will advise you on the optimum route to take to achieve your desired result.

    By working with IAS for your or your employee’s work visa, you make sure that you have an expert eye and hands on your case to boost your chances of success.

    We ensure you are applying for the most suitable work visa to boost your chances of success.

    We provide advice on the appropriate documentary evidence required to support your case.

    You get a personalised approach from a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer

    You work with you and liaise with the Home Office on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.

    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    UK Employers Guide To Hiring Refugees

    As an employer, you can offer work to Ukrainian refugees in full-time, part-time, and voluntary positions. However, it is important that as an employer you check the refugee applying for the job’s right to work.

    If you wish to hire a Ukrainian refugee, you can go onto the UK Government site and use a form regarding the work that you can offer.

    Once you have done this, you will be contacted by someone from the Department for Work and Pensions within 5 working days to discuss the work that you are offering.

    Then, DWP will share the jobs that you can offer to refugees with the Refugee Employment Network (REN) as well as Jobcentre Plus.

    REN is a fantastic charity that works alongside organisations all over the UK to help refugees find work.

    Employing Ukrainian Nationals

    While employers do not have to provide any sponsorship for employees who hold permission under a Ukrainian visa scheme, it is still necessary that they carry out right-to-work checks before the Ukrainian national starts their employment.

    Those who arrive in the UK under the UK’s new Ukraine visa schemes are also issued a Biometric Residence Permit. Since early April 2022, those who hold a biometric residence permit now also have to provide evidence of their right to work by using the Home Office online service.

    Avoid complications. Speak to our immigration solicitors today.

    How Can Businesses Hire Ukrainian Refugees?

    Thankfully, the British government issued guidance for those who are making employment offers to those who are looking to enter the UK from Ukraine. This happened as an unprecedented number of businesses in the UK started offering their support to Ukrainian refugees.

    This guidance lays out a step-by-step roadmap to help those arriving from Ukraine find employment in the UK. This includes the recognition of professional qualifications, determining immigration status and right to work, and providing information regarding employee rights.

    Employment Offers And Professional Qualification Recognition.

    Organisations that are looking to offer opportunities for employment to refugees are typically asked to complete vacancy information questionnaires that outline details of the roles that are on offer. Prospective employers for refugees are then typically contacted by the National Employer and Partnership team of DWP within five working days of the questionnaire completion to discuss what roles they have on offer.

    These job opportunities are then shared with DWP and REN.

    Ukrainian individuals who hold professional qualifications may need these questions to be recognised in the UK. Should the career be a regulated profession such as accounting, this will apply.

    The Professional Qualifications UK Centre will provide a free service that can explain if a professional is regulated and go over any of the entry requirements.

    A Ukrainian body that is likely to have members that seek recognition in the UK is likely to be the Ukrainian Federation of Professional Accountants and Auditors. This is because it is the only Ukrainian professional body for accountancy that is a member of IFAC.

    Immigration Status And Employee Rights

    Those who are arriving in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme can be given leave to remain in the United Kingdom for up to three years. This allows them to live, work, and access benefits and public services in the UK.

    The published guidance for this makes the statement that the UK grants the same employment rights for UK nationals to those who are arriving in the UK as Ukrainian refugees.

    Our immigration specialists can assist your business in hiring Ukranian refugees.

    Conducting A Right-To-Work Check

    Ukrainian nationals who have not applied to get permission to stay in the UK do not have the right to work. Although it is up to the person to regularise their own status, it is possible that, as an employer, you can provide support.

    As an employer of a Ukrainian refugee, you will need to stay on top of your right to work. This ensures that you do not run into any issues at the key points of their UK status. If you do not conduct checks or do not conduct them correctly, this could end up resulting in a penalty or fine.

    When Should Employers Conduct A Right To Work Check?

    Should the employee come to the country using the ‘Ukraine Family Scheme’, it is important that the employer check their right to work before they start their employment. You will also need to check out their right to work again after six months have passed. This needs to be done to ensure that the employee has secured a biometric residence permit.

    Once the person has received their biometric residence permit, it is necessary to complete a right-to-work check once they have reached a point of three years. It is at this point that their right to work might have come to an end.

    Alternatively, if the employee comes to the UK using the ‘Homes for Ukraine Scheme’ then the dates should be the same. This check should be conducted after six months, and again, this should be checked after three years.

    However, if the Ukrainian national is already employed, the employer needs to conduct a right-to-work check when they look to extend the visa they currently have.

    How Should An Employer Conduct A Right To Work Check?

    In April 2022, new digital technology was put in place to check an employee’s right to work. This type of check differs only slightly from the temporary adjusted coronavirus digital checks. It also has its own process.

    To use the service, it is imperative to have a few things prepared. These include the following:

    • The employee’s date of birth.
    • The employees share the code.
    • A photograph of the employee

    Once these are collected, it is necessary to also collect evidence that the employee has a right to work. Should you be performing a check before the six-month deadline, then a passport that has a six-month entry stamp could also be used as evidence of having the right to work.

    In the event that the individual does not have a valid Ukrainian passport, they could get an FAV (Form of Affixing the Visa). This could then be used as a form of proof of their right to work, along with a Home Office Positive Certificate Notice. Aside from this, a BRP can also serve as sufficient evidence for the right to work.

    All relevant documents need to have been gathered previously, including the original right-to-work document. Always ensure that the documents are accurate, genuine, and valid. With all documents collected, keep secure and dated copies for each as preparation for subsequent checks.

    The Process For Employees With A Valid Ukrainian Passport

    The Ukraine Scheme allows individuals who have a Ukrainian Passport to apply for the scheme without having to attend an application centre for visas to submit biometrics. Those assessed without submitting biometrics will be issued a permission to travel letter.

    Upon UK arrival, the UK Border Force stamps the passport of the individual with permission to enter the UK code, which is valid for six months with no restrictions on resources, public funds, or taking on employment.

    In places where the Border Force has granted permission to enter the country with a Leave Outside the Rules (LOTR), the individual will need to submit biometric information to gain a biometric residence permit. This permit is then endorsed with permission to stay for up to 36 months. This part of the process can be done at any time during the six-month validity of the permission to enter.

    However, until the person gains the BRP, they will have a 6-month time-limited right to work under their LOTR stamp. Should they not obtain a BRP before gaining employment, the employer needs to conduct a manual check on their right to work.

    The Process For Employees With No Valid Ukrainian Passport

    Should an individual not have a valid UK passport, they will need to provide biometric information at a Visa Application Centre overseas. After doing this, they are then provided with entry clearance, which will be attached to a Form for Attaching the Visa.

    After the individual arrives in the UK, their BRP will be available for collection. With this online right, checks can be carried out in a normal way. Employers can then maintain a statutory excuse against any civil penalties.

    In cases where the individual needs to begin work before being able to collect their BRP, they can use their Form for Affixing the Visa Document as a form of proof of their right to work. However, this needs to be done in conjunction with a positive verification notice, which can be obtained through the Home Office.

    Enlist one of our legal advisor on immigration law regarding refugees.

    How IAS Can Help You With The Legalities

    Hiring workers from abroad is complex, and hiring refugees can be even more so. It is always advised to speak to an immigration expert and enlist legal advice on immigration law regarding refugees. Doing so can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible for both you and the refugee.

    You will need to ensure that the process and the individual are in compliance with all the mandatory regulations regarding refugee hiring. You and the employee need to ensure all required forms are accurately filled out, and you need to assemble all of the necessary supporting documents ahead of time to make sure things go smoothly.

    Here at IAS, we have a team of dedicated immigration consultants who can help you throughout the process and ensure compliance is met in all regards.

    IAS lawyers can liaise with you via the phone at +44 (0)333 305 9375, in person, or online whenever suits you. Our lawyers can assess the employee’s right to work, check over all documents, assist in the BRP acquisition, and even liaise with the Home Office to assist with the process.

    Give us a call today at +44 (0)333 305 9375, or send us an email to get started.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Refugees can legally work in the UK; however, refugees have to decide whether or not they are refugees first. Until a decision is made on whether or not they are refugees, they are known as asylum seekers.

    In the UK, asylum seekers do not have the same rights as British citizens or refugees. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work, but refugees are. So, while refugees can work, they must first gain this title upon decision.

    Licenced sponsors can recruit Ukrainian nationals by giving them a certificate of sponsorship via the Skilled Worker visa. This means that the job itself would need to comply with the typical criteria involved in the points-based system for this visa type. The worker would also need to have the relevant qualifications and meet the requirements to be considered a skilled worker.

    That being said, not all Ukrainian refugees will need to be hired under this visa type. A Ukrainian refugee can also enter the UK and gain work through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme or the Ukraine Family Scheme. If the refugee can gain entry and employment under one of these schemes, then a Skilled Worker visa will not be necessary

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