Ukrainians seeking work in the UK face a ‘hostile environment’

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Delays in processing work permits mean refugees cannot work

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mployers are finding it near-impossible to hire Ukrainianrefugees in the UK because they face a “hostile environment” which prevents them from working, a director of cosmetics company Lush has said.

Hillary Jones, ethical director of Lush, said that her company had around 600 roles available for Ukrainians arriving in the UK, but had only managed to fill one post.

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“We’re bending over backwards to do everything necessary,” she told the BBC.

“The government has talked a good talk about welcoming people, but actually the Ukrainians are facing almost all the same hurdles that refugees from Afghanistan and Syria have faced, this hostile environment for refugees trying to apply to come in.”

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today program on Tuesday, Jones called for civil servants to remove the “huge bureaucratic hurdles” faced by Ukrainians.

She said the government needed to speed up routes to accessing the correct work permits, and urged banks to put in place special measures to allow Ukrainians to easily open accounts.

“We need more businesses pushing for all of this, advocating for this,” she said.

The UK government has promised that people arriving in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, also called Homes for Ukraine, would be granted leave to remain in the UK for three years. That enables them to live, work, and access benefits and public services.

But Jones said that the government should have gone further, giving Ukrainians temporary protection status like in the European Union, which intends to expedite applications to stay in a country.

“The UK government has left all the usual checks and balances in place,” she said.

To enter the UK, each family member must apply separately and provide multiple types of documentation, which can cause delays to people entering the country while they wait for their whole party to be approved.

“It’s a bureaucratic process,” Jones said.


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