Watch the webinar
- Matthew Fell, Chief Policy Director, CBI
- Audrey Elliot, Partner, Employment and Immigration, Eversheds
- Krish Kandiah, Director, Sanctuary Foundation
- Liz Moseley, Editor and Partner, Tortoise Media (Chair)
In this session:
Matthew Fell (CBI)
- Obviously, many ongoing implications from the Russian invasion of Ukraine
- Economic and financial sanctions, disruption to their supply chains, and cyber security – we remain highly attentive to many of these challenges.
- On Sanctions: many firms are going above and beyond - others implementation and divestment more challenging for several reasons. Huge sense of moral obligation to do the right thing but existing contracts and obligations to staff in Russia are both factors.
- CBI have teamed up with MailForce to support food donations. You can read the op-ed from Lord Bilimoria from this weekend here
- Key resources include our Ukraine Hub, Cybersecurity Fact sheet, and do keep feeding in insights to firstname.lastname@example.org
Audrey Elliott (Eversheds Sutherland)
- Important to get terminology right:
- Refugee - someone forced to leave their home country because of war, persecution, or disaster - they may then choose to come to the UK
- Asylum seeker - a refugee who has applied for legal asylum in another country. If it's approved, they have legal refugee status and access to public funds.
- Ukraine nations have the option to apply for asylum if they’re able to reach the UK, but the govt have put in additional schemes / alternatives for Ukrainian nationals which are often better.
- There are two key routes open to Ukrainian national who were resident in Ukraine on 1st January 2022:
- Family Scheme: individuals who have family members or a family connection in the UK – the best route.
- Homes for Ukraine scheme: individuals without any family members can apply via this route. UK residents can act as a 'sponsor' for Ukrainian nationals.
- Both schemes allow full right to work and full access to public funds in the UK - including 36 months leave to remain in the UK.
- New one to be launched on 3rd May - Ukraine extension scheme - if any were already in the UK and had a valid visa e.g., a student visa. They will be able to extend that leave in the UK. Skilled worker routes and student routes will also still exist.
- Tempting to be taken by the situation but employers must do their due diligence. If an individual has got right to remain, they will have documents which prove this.
- Worth noting Right to Work checks changed on 6 April this year – there’s a helpful ‘Annex F’ in Home Office guidance which outlines what’s needed.
- It might be tempting to target roles specifically at Ukrainian nations but important to go back to basics on employment law – the Equality Act protects people from being discriminated against.
- Using a protected characteristic as a method of employment is a risk for a business as you’re preferring someone purely on grounds of race / nationality.
- Other options could be advertising roles with greater visibility for Ukrainian nationals / on dedicated job boards, but process must be non-discriminatory.
Krish Kandiah (Sanctuary Foundation)
- Have been working with refugees since Kosovo crisis - Sanctuary Foundation is an umbrella org which helps biz / civil societies help refugees from all around the world.
- Aimed to mobilise volunteers for the sponsorship route for Ukrainian nations - 11,000 people volunteered before the programme was even opened.
- Opened on 18 March - over 2000,000 people said they wanted to help.
- For both schemes you need a home to be able to welcome a family to live in - but most people can’t help in that way.
- Is Homes for Ukraine scheme working? Overall, yes – but there have been some frustrations - the speed of the visa process is an issue but so far 3,200 arrivals have so far taken place. However, this is compared to 4.2m Ukrainian nationals who have been displaced.
- Top opportunities for businesses to help include:
- If able to offer employment, important that businesses try to properly match people's skills and need to let Ukraine nationals know jobs are here. Also, worth employers knowing that many might need flexible jobs.
- Good example: 'Cook' – a premium pre-prepared food company have an existing scheme called 'raw talent'. They been using for other disadvantaged groups to phase into the workplace. Planning to repurpose this scheme to support Ukrainian nationals who they might employ.
- Might also be worth businesses working with specialist agencies on their recruitment of these groups.
- Support employees who are sponsors:
- Good example: Natwest are offering additional volunteering days for those welcoming refugees.
- Ukrainian nationals should be eligible for housing benefit, but social housing availability is an issue. This could be something your business can get involved in if you own property or can offer homes in the short-term.
- You can support and set-up community networks:
- Churches, Cafe Nero, Punch Pubs are offering places where the community can come and start meeting each other: hosting ‘Coffee with a refugee’.
- Donating funds and goods
- Your business can donate food and other basics that people need to start life again. For example, lots of people arriving with babies and young children and charities are now allowed to accept second-hand donations for bay baby banks. Massive need currently for things like new car seats etc.
- You can get in touch with email@example.com if your business would like to donate.
- Services for sponsors and refugees – Sanctuary Foundation have access to free training and resources for those who are sponsoring families
- Some companies are offering free sim cards, training and expertise for sponsors and companies wanting to welcome refugees.
- Other companies are saying to sponsors - this won’t impact your mortgage / we have your back if you want to do more.
- Please contact Krish on: firstname.lastname@example.org if your business would like to get involved with any of the above opportunities.