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UK employers guide to Ukrainian visas and rights to work in the UK

With the Ukrainian crisis leading to an increase of Ukrainian nationals arriving in the UK, many employers are asking what employment rights Ukrainian nationals will have and what documents are needed to prove their right to work.

Ukrainian nationals entering the UK under one of the new humanitarian schemes, including the Ukrainian Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, will be granted permission to enter the UK for a time limited period. Most will be required to extend their permission while in the UK before the expiry of this period. During this time, they will have an unfettered right to work in the UK. This means they can work for any employer, in any role, at any skill level, provided the role satisfies all required employment regulations such as minimum wage and working time requirements.

There are currently no changes to right to work processes for employers, including for the employment of Ukrainian nationals. Current guidance should be followed.

It is anticipated that the initial permission to enter will be endorsed as a stamp in their passport or an immigration status document which will confirm they have a right to work. An immigration status document is a paper document with a visa issued as an attached sticker or vignette. A right to work check will need to be carried out by UK employers against the endorsement in their passport and/or immigration status document. A repeat check will be required prior to the expiry of their time limited permission to enter. If a Ukrainian employee has applied for an extension but has not been granted prior to the expiry of their entry visa, an employer can use the Employer Checking Service to confirm ongoing right to work. It is anticipated that after a successful extension of their permission, Ukrainian nationals will be granted an eVisa. Employers can check right to work status via the online right to work system.

Ukrainian nationals in the UK with permission under another immigration route (except visitor) may work in line with the conditions of that route. Any restrictions on employment will be listed on the candidates’ BRP or set out on the online right to work system.

Ukrainian nationals in the UK with permission as a visitor are not permitted to take employment in the UK. Current visa concessions now allow Ukrainian nationals to switch their visit visa to another type of visa which will allow them to work in the UK. They must be granted permission in another route which allows them to work before they can commence employment in the UK.

UK employers should not employ any person who is residing in the UK as a visitor or who is unable to prove their right to work.

We wish to highlight that this is a rapidly evolving area. Employers should check current right to work guidance before onboarding a new employee.

If you would like any further information or guidance on anything that is covered in these articles please contact Emma Brooksbank, Partner in our Business Immigration Team

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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