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advice for jobseekers - working in the UK

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A Brief Guide for Ukrainians Looking for Work with UK Companies

by Liz Norman, founder & CEO of specialist data, analytics and market research recruiters Elizabeth Norman International

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ENI has been helping Ukrainians find new roles, and we realised that navigating the UK system isn't easy. Working with recruitment professional associations like APSCO this is what we have learned so far.

Ukrainians looking to work for a UK employer can potentially be employed by companies in two ways:
  1. As a permanent employee living and working in the UK, having got a visa (which initially lasts 6 months or 3 years).
  2. As a contractor living outside the UK. As a contractor no visa is needed but the individual will need to set up a company (outside the UK, IR35 does not apply). The contractor is liable for their own local tax. However, the employer should consider the contractor is likely to want to be paid in a currency local to where they live.

Getting a visa

There are two ways Ukrainian nationals can get visas to live, work and study in the UK with access to public funds/benefits. Initially that visa is for six months, but if the national chooses they can extend their stay for up to three years. The two schemes are:
  1. The family visa scheme. This is for Ukrainian nationals with an immediate or extended family member with British nationality or indefinite leave to remain. Applications are online with biometric information provided on arrival.
  2. Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Under this scheme anyone in the UK of any nationality can apply to host a Ukrainian individual. At the moment those offering homes can only apply to sponsor a specific Ukrainian individual or family, so the UK home owner and Ukrainian national need to find a way of making direct contact. Once a home has been secured the Ukrainian national can apply for a visa, with full rights to live and work in the UK for up to three years.

If you want to find a UK householder offering a home, there are some charities assisting with the connections. These include:
  • Refugees at Home
  • Room for Refugees
  • Shelter 4 Ukraine
  • Reset.

ENI suggests you also consider using Facebook, as most successful examples we have come across have gone this route. There are a number of Facebook Groups offering this service.

The Department for Levelling Up is responsible for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, while The Home Office is responsible for the visas. The government offers advicehere.

In summary, whilst the current schemes allow any Ukrainians into the UK to work, potentially for 3 years, the reality is the system is not easy to navigate and it's likely the individual will not be able to move here for several months. Meanwhile a lot of UK employers will employ Ukrainians as contractors until they have an option/choose to move to the UK.

Liz Norman