The CBI is working with members to actively support the humanitarian consequences of the Ukrainian crisis. To date we have been coordinating activity between business, trade associations, the Ukrainian Embassy and across UK government departments.
Read this factsheet for the latest guidance for businesses on humanitarian aid for Ukraine from HMRC.
Humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees
The British public has already responded with immense generosity, donating millions of pounds to support those impacted.
In line with advice from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and the Charity Commission, HMRC recommends that individuals and organisations wanting to help should give money through the Disasters and Emergencies Committee campaign and other trusted charities and humanitarian aid organisations.
The Disasters and Emergency Committee has launched a Ukraine fund and the government has pledged to match public contributions from the public, up to £20m.
- The Professional & Business Services sector has three factsheets available for anyone who needs them
- The REC is joining forces with the Refugee Employment Network (REN) to provide refugees with the support they need to access the UK’s labour market. This programme is now in a pilot phase and applies to refugees coming from all countries as long as they are eligible to work in the UK, including people from Ukraine
- London First has put together resources on how businesses can support the Ukrainian refugee effort, both in the short and the longer-term
- ‘United for Ukraine’ has been set up by businesses and other partners across the North of England to support evacuees coming to the region. The site provides access to employment and support services.
Humanitarian Sponsorship Pathway
The Home Office has also announced a Humanitarian Sponsorship Pathway led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC). Apply for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme or Ukraine Family Scheme.
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme enables individuals, charities, businesses and community groups to sponsor Ukrainian nationals without family ties to the UK to stay in the UK for up to 3 years. Sponsors are required to provide suitable accommodation for a minimum of 6 months and will receive £350 a month. Employers can register their ability to provide accommodation or signpost the scheme to interested staff.
Ukrainians who have limited leave in the UK will be able to extend their stay under the Ukraine Extension Scheme. Ukrainian nationals in the UK who had work, study or travel visas on or before 18 March will be able to apply, without paying the usual charges, from 3 May.
For more advice see:
- Immigration Update: Ukraine Crisis
- CIPD's immigration tips for employers: help for workers in the Ukraine crisis
- Read the Homes for Ukraine Scheme FAQs for more information.
Offering work to Ukrainian refugees
Ukrainian nationals who are granted a visa under the Homes for Ukraine or Ukraine Family Scheme have the right to work in England if they choose to do so. Employers are required to conduct right to work checks with a valid passport or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) in the usual way. See more detailed guidance here.
Employers may want to register their job opportunities, which the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Refugee Employment Network (REN) will help share across the UK’s Job Centre network and with local refugee support staff. REN also has a jobs board where employers can advertise roles.
Employers will be asked to consider, but are not required to provide, additional support for Ukrainian refugees, for example through Employee Assistance Programmes or specialised mental health support, English language classes or childcare vouchers.
For more advice see:
- Listen to the CBI’s webinar for guidance on how best to support Ukrainian nationals
- Read the UN Refugee Agency advice for UK businesses seeking to employee refugees.
Advice for businesses
Most goods crossing borders will require customs declarations and may be subject to checks.
Duty and other border taxes may be payable on entry into other customs territories, such as the EU. This includes goods donated to charities, such as food, blankets and clothing (known as ‘in kind assistance’). Goods sent to support those affected by the invasion that don’t follow export and import processes could be delayed getting to people in need.
HMRC strongly encourage organisations wishing to support efforts in Ukraine, and in the surrounding countries, to follow FCDO advice and make a financial donation through a trusted charity.
UK businesses can contact the Export Support Service (ESS) which the Department for International Trade has expanded to act as a single point of enquiry for businesses and traders with questions relating to the situation in Ukraine and Russia.
Useful resources on moving humanitarian goods from Great Britain to the EU
HMRC has issued some legislation to make it simpler to move humanitarian aid from Great Britain to support those impacted by the Ukraine crisis.
The simplification of customs processes applies to goods intended to support those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine (which are exported from Great Britain). Provided the goods are not exported to, or through, Russia or Belarus, then these simplified processes apply to qualifying goods regardless of the destination to allow maximum flexibility to get aid to where the need is greatest.
The government recommends that organisations and people who would like to help donate cash through trusted charities and aid organisations, do so rather than donating goods. Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it’s needed and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what’s most needed.
- There is support available for moving goods and HMRC has useful step-by-step guides for understanding the processes for exporting goods, along with general information on the export declaration process
- The UK Tariff provides details of how to complete an export declaration and the different procedure codes that can be used when exporting goods
- You can find export custom procedure codes for CHIEF, here
- The Customs & International Trade Helpline (0300 322 9434) is also available for help with questions about exporting with support also available online
- The management of EU import and export procedures is the responsibility of the customs authorities of the EU Member States that the humanitarian goods are entering into or leaving. HMRC advises businesses and individuals to confirm the processes with the relevant member state and any conditions or procedures that may apply
- While customs processes will still need to be followed for moving goods, both the EU and UK provide for relief from customs duty on humanitarian goods. As these donations are moving from Great Britain to the EU, there are no UK duty or VAT liabilities at export but there may be upon entry to the EU, so the EU relief would be applicable. Find more information on the EU relief.
How business is helping the humanitarian efforts
Businesses of all sizes and sectors are supporting NGOs to get help to people affected by the conflict.
With a lot of the work going on behind the scenes, below you’ll find just a snapshot of efforts being made by businesses, which we will continue to update.
Logistics UK is working with the CBI to provide much needed aid to the humanitarian crisis in Eastern Europe, with its members pledging air freight capacity and road transport to move donated food, medicines, clothing and other items to Poland and Germany, to support those fleeing the fighting in Ukraine.
A food company specialising in making ration packs for relief areas has also recently made a substantial contribution.
The government has announced that the UK will donate more than 500 mobile generators to help keep the lights on in Ukraine.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry is leading the UK industry’s response to the Ukraine crisis, supporting the mission of the broader sector and of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. This includes in kind donations of medical supplies and financial support to NGOs.
Loughborough-based Morningside Pharmaceuticals has donated 60,000 packs of essential medicines – 1.29m doses – after a CBI-convened meeting with the Ambassador of Ukraine. After ensuring the medicines could be shipped rapidly as humanitarian aid, Morningside used its own logistics partner to transport the supplies to the Embassy’s distribution hub in Poland. From there the medicine will be distributed to hospitals, healthcare centres and patients throughout the Ukraine. The company has also donated storage space to local initiatives gathering supplies to support Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
The BRC has also highlighted some of the British retailers donating money and goods to support the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Donating €5m to aid organisations.
Donating £1m support package to those affected.
Donating 20,000 items of winter clothing, plus a £1.5m package to help children and families in need. This includes £500,000 towards the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with an additional £500,000 for matching fundraising across its global colleagues and double donations on Sparks transactions to support UNICEF.
Donating £2m through Comic Relief to address urgent needs such as water, food and medicine.
Working with the Red Cross providing direct support to the people of Ukraine, including supporting refugees by providing food, water and other emergency supplies. Calls to Ukraine via Tesco Mobile are free for those trying to reach loved ones. Tesco Bank has removed fees for those transferring money directly into Ukrainian bank accounts.
Donating $5m to aid organisations and matching up to an additional $5m in donations from employees. It has also added donation buttons to homepages in UK, US, Poland and Germany and is waiving associated processing fees. Amazon Web Services is working closely with Ukrainian customers and partners to keep their applications secure, or securely migrate their on-premise infrastructure onto AWS to protect it from any potential physical or virtual attack. Read more.
Initial donation of £150,000 and will be supporting all employees raising money through employee matched fundraising.
As an eBay customer, there are two ways you can donate to the emergency appeal through eBay for Charity, with match funding raised up to £150,000:
- Donating via Give at Checkout when you shop
- If you’re selling items on eBay, you can donate between 10-100% of the proceeds to the British Red Cross.
eBay has also suspended all selling fees for users in Ukraine and suspended all international deliveries to Ukraine and Russia since 3 March to protect buyers and sellers impacted by shipping disruptions.
Alongside its work on detecting cyber threats targeting Ukraine, the company is supporting humanitarian organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. It has also activated the Microsoft Disaster Response Team to provide technology support, and the company is matching employee donations from around the world to nonprofit organisations on the frontline. Read more.