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Hiring Refugees from Ukraine in the UK: FAQs for Employers

This article was last updated 6 April 2022. For information about hiring refugees in the EU, click here.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee and seek safety and possible resettlement throughout Europe. Employers across the UK have the opportunity to help refugees with their resettlement process when it comes to securing both short- and long-term employment. As part of Indeed’s commitment to support job seekers who face barriers to employment and to help employers to connect to this talent pool, this article answers common questions for employers looking to hire refugees from Ukraine.

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Can UK employers hire refugees coming from Ukraine?

Refugees fleeing Ukraine will have access to work authorization in the UK if they are granted a visa through one of the available programs. Refugees who are family members of British nationals or of non-British nationals living in the UK can apply for a visa through the Ukraine Family Scheme. Refugees who do not have a family member in the UK can be sponsored for a visa by an individual or organization in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine program. Check here for updates on eligibility and for other visa programs.

Who is eligible for employment in the UK and for how long?

Successful visa applicants through the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine will be granted permission to stay in the UK for up to three years with the right to work. Visa recipients will also receive public funds such as Universal Credit and access to public services such as schools and health care.

Can employers outside of the UK hire refugees coming from Ukraine?

To check for work authorization for refugees in your country, refer to your government’s information about temporary protected status or visas for those fleeing Ukraine.

  • EU: The European Commission issued the Temporary Protection Directive to support those fleeing the war in Ukraine. As part of this directive, starting March 4, 2022, people fleeing Ukraine are provided protection and support if arriving in one of 26 member states of the European Union.* Check here for updates on the EU Temporary Protection Directive.
  • U.S.: Click here to learn more about Temporary Protected Status and here to learn more about other immigration avenues.
  • Canada: Click here to learn more.

*The Temporary Protection Directive applies in all EU Member States except Denmark. It does not apply in Schengen-associated countries (Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland).

How can I prepare to hire and support refugee job seekers?

For some refugees, entering the workforce in a new country may be challenging after arrival. It’s important for employers to understand these challenges and prepare for how you will hire and support refugee job seekers. Ultimately, these challenges are surmountable with preparation and connection to the available resources.

As part of our response to the war in Ukraine, we’ve asked experts like the International Rescue Committee (IRC) what refugee job seekers need to know about a potential job opportunity. They’ve told us that information on language requirements and training, as well as work location or relocation assistance are some of the most useful insights for a refugee job seeker to make an informed decision about any job application.

Psychological and emotional trauma

The experience of fleeing one’s home to escape danger can create serious psychological and emotional trauma. Consider how you will accommodate and support refugees’ mental health needs in the aftermath of this trauma. There are also mental health resources available through the National Health Service (NHS).

Limited language proficiency

Many refugees may not have English language proficiency. When it comes to language, employers should consider what positions are available and if there are opportunities to provide employment for individuals who aren’t proficient in English. Employers can also explore avenues to assist new hires with developing local language skills.

Transferability and recognition of qualifications and skills

People fleeing Ukraine may have the necessary training and skills to perform a job for which you’re hiring, but they may not hold the formal education or corresponding permit to hold that job in the UK. Consider if there are positions that do not require licenses that those fleeing Ukraine can fill, while your company assists new hires in obtaining the locally required occupational license.

In addition, the UK European Network Information Centre (UK ENIC, formerly UK NARIC) can provide advice on behalf of the UK Government on the comparability of

Ukraine qualifications to UK qualifications. Click here for more information.

Care for children and elderly family members

The vast majority of refugees from Ukraine at this time are women, children, and the elderly. Adult working-age women may be available for and need employment, but will need support for family care. Consider what subsidies or support you can offer these job seekers to help them to get and stay on the job. Refugees may also be able to access governmental resources for child care.

Access to transportation and relocation resources

Refugees arriving from Ukraine will be eligible for free travel in the first 48 hours from arrival in the UK on National Rail train operators, light rail services, and the majority of bus and coach services in England, Scotland, and Wales. However, job seekers may need additional resources to relocate or to reunite with their families. Your company should consider what kind of relocation assistance you can provide new hires that are fleeing Ukraine.

Legal documentation (e.g., licenses, passports, etc.)

Employers should be aware that, due to dangerous circumstances, refugees may have left home quickly without their documents, including passports or licenses. Potential employees may need additional time to work with local authorities to validate their status as a result. You may consider contacting your local government to determine whether alternate forms of documentation are acceptable to establish right to work or contact relevant professional organizations for advice on documentation of specific qualifications for individuals fleeing the war.

With critical evaluation of these special challenges and some preparation, employers can hire refugees and ensure their success.

How can my job postings effectively reach refugees?

To reach refugee job seekers, there are a number of steps you can take when crafting your job postings:

  • Post jobs for free* on Indeed.
  • Indicate the language requirements for the job and if you offer language training.
  • Indicate if you offer relocation or other forms of assistance referenced above.
  • In addition, Indeed is asking all employers for additional details when posting jobs. Please consider providing this information where possible.

In the UK, employers can also submit their available positions to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to partner with the DWP or the Refugee Employment Network (REN) to hire refugees from Ukraine.

*Terms, conditions, quality standards, and usage limits apply.

What are the benefits of hiring a refugee?

As an employer, you will be able to contribute to the refugee re-settlement process in a receiving country by providing a learning environment for those fleeing their home country. A learning environment includes providing opportunities to learn about your country’s culture, opportunities to communicate in the language of the receiving country, development of new skills, as well as providing financial support and autonomy to those in need. In addition, employers will benefit from the skills and talents of those coming from Ukraine.

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*Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your recruiting or legal advisor, we are not responsible for the content of your job descriptions, and none of the information provided herein guarantees performance.