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Advice on how to employ people coming from the Ukraine.

First published:
11 August 2022
Last updated:


The Welsh Government supports the employment of people who have been displaced from Ukraine following the Russian invasion. Access to employment is important for people from Ukraine in building new lives in Wales. Employing people from Ukraine also provides employers in Wales with access to talent, skills, and experience to support their organisations.

Legal status

People arriving from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and the Ukraine Family Scheme can work and access benefits in the UK for the duration of their visa. Other people from Ukraine in Wales may have a different legal status. Please see information about viewing a job applicant’s right to work details.

Please see information about learning how to view and prove your immigration status and how to prove your right to work to an employer.

How to employ people from Ukraine

If you wish to recruit people from Ukraine, please register your interest with the Welsh Government. You can also register your interest with the UK Government.

If you wish to support people from Ukraine seeking employment, the Working Wales service can provide personalised expert careers advice and employment support. It is a free service available to anyone aged 16 and over and living in Wales. Working Wales offers:

  • careers information, advice, and guidance
  • help to find job opportunities
  • CV and application support
  • job interview preparation
  • support to apply for funding
  • advice and coaching on career change
  • help to upskill and access training
  • referrals to other employability services

Working Wales can also help people seeking sanctuary by providing access to:

  • a language line for interpretation during appointments
  • advisers specialising in support for refugees and those seeking sanctuary
  • transferring overseas qualifications into recognised UK equivalents for those applying for work or training

Recognition of qualifications

Working Wales can help customers to access the ENIC service to get their prior qualifications recognised. Working Wales are able to make the UK ENIC statements available to customers free of charge if:

  • they have overseas qualifications that need to be mapped to UK equivalents 
  • the qualification is a barrier to employment and forms part of a career plan

Please note:

  • Working Wales only use the ENIC statements for the most recent or most relevant qualifications, as it is too costly to do this for all qualifications that an individual might have
  • not all qualifications are covered by UK ENIC

Additionally, where an individual is eligible for the React+ programme, if the ENIC fees are considered a barrier to employment the costs can be funded through the React+ Personal Development Support.

Local authority employability programmes (Communities for Work, Communities for Work Plus and Parents, Childcare and Employment) are able to consider, where the individual is eligible for our community employability programmes, support to fund the ENIC fee if this is considered a barrier to employment.

Welcome Centres and initial temporary accommodation

People from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine Super Sponsor Scheme can work during their stay in a Welcome Centre or in initial temporary accommodation. Individuals must not be charged for their stay in this accommodation.

The Welcome Centre or accommodation provider may offer employment to residents. However, offers of employment must not be linked to continuing in or maintaining their accommodation.

You should not directly recruit people from Welcome Centres and initial temporary accommodation without the knowledge and consent of the appropriate Local Authority. In the event of people from Ukraine leaving a Welcome Centre to accommodation provided by an employer, appropriate safeguarding checks should take place to ensure that the accommodation provided is suitable.

Homes for Ukraine sponsors

If you are a host living in Wales and sponsoring a person or family from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, you can offer employment opportunities to the people you are sponsoring. However, they must not be required to take up or continue in employment to maintain their accommodation.

Employment rights and labour abuse

If you are employing people from Ukraine, you must fulfil your legal responsibilities as an employer. Please see information about employment rights. Advice about your responsibilities as an employer is available from Acas. The Welsh Government promotes fair work and has produced a Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains.

If you have concerns about labour abuse and exploitation, please report this to the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). The GLAA has ‘Know Your Rights’ posters available in Ukrainian which you can download. In addition, you should also report concerns of modern slavery to the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700 or online.

Please see safeguarding and modern slavery guidance for further information.

English language

Welsh Government officials are working collaboratively with our key delivery partners including local authorities, Welcome Centre project leads, colleges, and universities, to assess the English language needs of people over the age of 16 arriving in Wales.

The Sanctuary Wales website has information for those seeking English language support and can be accessed prior to arrival as well as once they have arrived at a Welcome Centre or in the community in Wales. Adult Learning Wales are also providing Welsh for speakers of other languages (WSOL) depending on demand and location.

Using the Regional ESOL Assessment Central Hub (or REACH model) in conjunction with other assessment tools and agencies such as Adult Learning Wales. Local authorities will work with individuals to understand their goals and ensure they have access to the right level of intervention, including enrolment on to part-time courses in person or online where appropriate.

For those people seeking employment, the Welsh Government has taken steps to assist refugees from Ukraine by expanding the eligibility criteria for the ReAct+ programme. ReAct+ is primarily an employment and skills programme and is designed to help people gain the skills sought by recruiting employers so that they can find employment.

The ReAct+ programme can provide ESOL support in 2 ways.

Via the vocational training grant (maximum £1500)

If a refugee has indicated a wish to seek employment in the UK and a lack of English language skills has been identified as a barrier to employment, an application for ESOL training can be considered. When considering an application, advisers need to consider the duration of the course and whether it is likely to enhance the individual’s employment prospects.

Via the ReAct+ Personal Development Support (PDS) grant (maximum £500)

If a refugee has indicated a wish to seek employment in the UK and a lack of skills has been identified as a barrier to employment, the individual may apply for the ReAct+ vocational training grant to address the skills need.

If a lack of English skills is also identified as a barrier to employment, the individual may apply for the PDS grant of up to £500 for ESOL training in addition to the vocational training grant. This second option is likely to be suitable for individuals who already have some skills in English and for whom a shorter ESOL course would be of benefit

The Welsh Government have been made aware of cases where refugees from Ukraine have been disappointed with the advice they have received from Working Wales. The consideration of grant applications from refugees is a new element of ReAct+. Therefore, the Welsh Government intend to re-issue our communications on this matter and work closely with Working Wales to ensure that advisers are aware of how, and in which circumstances, the programme can provide support.

All potential applicants are to receive impartial information, advice, and guidance from one of Working Wales’s qualified careers advisers. Apart from establishing eligibility, the careers adviser will also undertake an assessment of whether the applicant is suitable for the programme and that a ReAct+ grant will best meet the individual’s needs. This means that not all the people who seek advice and guidance from Working Wales will be signposted to the ReAct+ programme.

Opportunities to engage in further or higher education

The Welsh Government are currently updating our eligibility guidance for post-16 funding to make it clear those arriving under the Home Office Ukraine Visa Schemes, will be immediately eligible for post-16 college funding and will be exempt from our normal three-year residency requirements. Officials have written to colleges to confirm this position and enable them to start to support learners as soon as they arrive.

Further Education colleges in Wales are currently open, able, and willing to offer support in terms of post-16 education and training and provide access to student support services. Individuals can get more information on the options available by contacting their local college directly or, where relevant, through their local authority resettlement officer.

Anyone seeking sanctuary wishing to start a course of higher education in the autumn term, should speak directly to their chosen institution's admissions office as soon as possible. The normal admissions process for September 2022 is already well underway through UCAS but universities are able to offer advice and support for anyone wishing to continue their studies. Many universities offer a small number of bursaries and scholarships to people fleeing conflict and it may be helpful to ask the admissions team about availability and eligibility for support from the university as well.