Employment

Over 100 UK firms are stepping up to hire Ukraine refugees

Iceland, Tesco, AstraZeneca, Aldi, and Nestlé have joined Marks and Spencer, Asos and Lush in adding their names to the list.

Major UK supermarkets are keen to hire people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Image: Unsplash / Markus Spiske

Over 100 businesses have come forward wanting to hire Ukrainian refugees when they arrive in the UK, including supermarket giants Tesco, Iceland and Aldi. 

High street shops Marks and Spencer, Lush and River Island have also expressed their desire to take part in the initiative, being devised by businesswoman Emma Sinclair.

“For refugees, when they have got somewhere it’s one thing to have accommodation but quite another thing to be able to feed your family and work,” Sinclair, who is chief executive of Enterprise Alumni, told the Mail Online.

“There are millions of jobs available in the UK and it will benefit the economy.”

The UK is facing a shortage of over a million workers, leading many businesses to rethink their recruitment strategies, increase pay and expand their search for recruits

Sinclair says she spoke to minister for refugees Richard Harrington this week about her plan and the backing it has received from businesses. Harrington described how the government’s first step is to help Ukrainian refugees in to the UK and find a place to stay under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. More than 100,000 people have already signed up to that.

“If people are going to build successful lives here they are going to want to have a job,” she said. “If you want to get a job you will probably need a laptop, if you have just fled a warzone you might not have brought that – but this is something that is growing with people wanting to help.”

The Big Issue recently found that nine in ten Brits agree it’s impossible to find or secure work without an internet connection.  

People claiming asylum are currently not allowed to work, however the House of Lords recently voted to allow asylum seekers to work if they are still waiting on a decision on their asylum claim after six months.

Currently asylum seekers cannot apply for permission to work until they have been waiting for more than 12 months, and then they can only apply for jobs on the shortage occupation list which includes scientists, ballet dancers and architects. It was recently amended to include care workers. 

Ukrainian refugees will not be classed as asylum seekers when they arrive in the UK as the Home Office is issuing visas. The Home Office recently announced that people who have fled the war in Ukraine will get full access to state benefits for up to three years including the right to work. 

About 4,000 visas have been issued to Ukrainians with “tens of thousands” more expected to be provided, according to levelling up secretary Michael Gove.

Gove told parliament while discussing the Homes for Ukraine scheme that those coming to the UK from Ukraine “will want to work” and that he supports that.

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