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How UK businesses can offer work to Ukrainian refugees

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 09 May 2022

ICAEW advises businesses to follow new government guidance as they look to welcome Ukrainians displaced by the war into their workforces.

The UK government has issued guidance for businesses that are considering making offers of employment to those coming to the UK from Ukraine, amid an unprecedented number of British businesses offering their support.

The publication lays out each step on the road to helping arriving Ukrainian people into employment, covering recognition of professional qualifications, information about employee rights, and how to determine the immigration status for their right to work.

“The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of supporting people in their time of need, and we are grateful for the unprecedented number of British businesses like yours offering their support,” the government guidance states.

Offering employment

Those organisations looking to offer employment opportunities are being asked to complete a Vacancy information questionnaire, to outline details of the roles on offer. Prospective employers will be contacted by the National Employer and Partnership Team in the Department for Work and Pensions within five working days, to discuss the roles available.

Job opportunities will then be shared across the DWP Jobcentre Plus network and with the Refugee Employment Network (REN), a charity that works with organisations across the UK to support refugees into work.

ICAEW’s Head of Business, Simon Gray welcomes guidance to connect Ukrainian people in need of employment with businesses that will value their skills.

Gray says: “We have already heard about the positive contribution to the economy that Ukrainian workers are already making. Currently, many businesses are facing staff recruitment and retention challenges, and this publication not only helps Ukrainian people, it also benefits UK businesses.”

Recognition of professional qualifications

Ukrainian people who hold professional qualifications may need them to be recognised in the UK, if they work in a regulated profession - such as accountancy.

The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications provides a free service, which explains whether a profession is regulated and any entry requirements: 0871 226 2850.

ICAEW’s Director of Policy and Strategy, Jonathan Jones, said he is not aware of any current ICAEW recognition for Ukrainian qualifications but that holders of Ukrainian qualifications who wanted to study for the ACA would be entitled to apply for credit for prior learning and we would be happy to assess their applications.

“The one Ukrainian body likely to have members seeking UK recognition would be the Ukrainian Federation of Professional Accountants and Auditors – as this is the only Ukrainian professional accountancy body which is an IFAC member”, explained Jones. “Though of course that would not preclude members of other Ukrainian bodies applying for recognition in the UK.”

He added: “So, a power under the Companies Act, 2006 (section 1221) would have to be used by the FRC. And this is a rarely used power. I can only recall it being used twice since 1989 (to recognise an Australian qualification and a Canadian qualification).”

In terms of process, it would depend upon what is being applied for. Regarding UK audit rights, recognition of foreign qualifications for a UK audit qualification is not controlled by ICAEW, ICAS, CAI, ACCA and AIA (the UK RQBs) but by the FRC.

However, the practise of accountancy is not legally restricted by qualification in the UK. So, a Ukrainian accountancy professional with the right to be in the UK would not need membership of a UK body to offer certain accountancy services to the public. 

Employee rights and determining immigration status

People arriving in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme, or the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) will be granted leave to remain in the UK for three years. They can live here, work here, and access benefits and public services.

The published guidance states that the UK extends the same employment rights that everyone in the UK is entitled to, to people arriving in the UK from Ukraine. If a business is offering employment opportunities, they should make sure that the organisation understands these rights, which are determined by the employment status of the worker.

Key contacts

GOV.UK guidance outlines details on employment status and rights. If a business would like further advice on employment rights, they can also speak to ACAS on 0300 123 1100.

Organisations with queries around employing people arriving to the UK from Ukraine can also contact the Department for Work and Pensions at offerwork@homeoffice.gov.uk

Read the full publication on Guidance for businesses offering work to people coming from Ukraine

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