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This is a guide for people arriving in the UK from Ukraine.
It also includes specific information for those arriving on the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Currently this guidance does not cover children who are not travelling with or to join a parent or legal guardian. Our intention is to allow applications from children who are not travelling with or to join a parent or legal guardian (where sponsor eligibility and parental consent requirements have been met). Safeguarding and welfare of minors remains a key priority. Further guidance will be published when this aspect of the scheme is open setting out all relevant requirements.
Accident and Emergency Department
A medical treatment facility in a hospital specialising in emergency treatment for patients. The department provides treatment for illnesses and injuries which require immediate attention and, in some cases, may be life-threatening. These departments operate 24 hours a day and patients often arrive by ambulance following a call to the emergency 999 telephone number.
Biometric Residence Permit
Is proof of evidence of your right to live, work and study in the UK. This can be used as proof of identity when opening a bank account or renting a property. The electronic chip holds information such as name, date of birth and place of birth. It will also have your photograph, fingerprints, and your immigration status.
A payment made to a parent or guardian of a child or children by the government every 4 weeks. You will be entitled to receive this benefit if you have a child or children under the age of 16 or under the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training.
An independent charity specialising in providing confidential advice to help people with legal problems, debt management, housing and other problems in the United Kingdom. This is a free service with offices in most areas of the country.
A tax paid to the local council to fund services within the area. The tax is based on the value of the house and the number of people living in it. The rate is a fixed amount depending on the value and is reviewed every 12 months.
A card issued by a bank allowing the holder to transfer money electronically from their bank account when making a purchase.
An arrangement made with your bank that allows a third party to transfer money from a person’s account on agreed dates typically to pay bills.
A system to allow you to receive cash payments from your local council. If the local council decides you are entitled to community care services, a direct payment will allow you to arrange your own care services.
A range of disability related financial support which includes payments, grants, tax credits and benefits. Your local employment centre (Jobcentre Plus) will be able to help you with these.
There are 6 stages of education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
- early years or nursery (under 5 years old),
- infant (5 – 7 or 8 years old)
- junior (up to 11 or 12 years old)
- secondary (11 or 12 up to 16 years old)
- further education (16 – 19 years old)
- higher education (post 18 years old)
In Scotland there are 5 stages:
- early years or nursery (up to 5 years old)
- primary (4 or 5 to 12 years old)
- secondary (12 up to 18 years old)
- further education (from 16 years old)
- higher education (from 17-18 years old)
A medical treatment facility in a hospital specialising in emergency treatment for patients. The department provides treatment for illnesses and injuries which require immediate attention and, in some cases, may be life-threatening. These departments operate 24 hours a day and patients often arrive by ambulance following a call to the emergency 999 telephone number.
The police, fire and rescue and ambulance service are all called using an emergency telephone number which in the UK is 999. You will be asked which service you need, and your call will be directed to the correct agency.
English for Speakers of Other Languages Classes (ESOL)
Classes to help you learn or improve your knowledge of the English language.
General Practioner (GP)
A medical doctor based in your community that treats patients with minor or chronic illnesses and will refer patients with serious conditions to specialist consultants in a hospital.
Help to Claim
This service is provided by Citizens Advice and is confidential advice on how to claim Universal Credit
A person is classed as homeless if they have no accommodation in the UK. A person is also classed homeless if they have accommodation but cannot live there for example because of violence or has been evicted
See Biometric Residence Permit
A government funded employment agency and social security office found in most towns and cities. Their aim is to help people to find employment in the UK and they are also responsible for all benefit claims.
A letting agent is responsible for leasing houses/flats for private landlords, finding prospective tenants and very often collecting the rent on behalf of the landlord.
A body of people elected to manage the affairs of a town, county or district rather than the state. The council provides vital services such as social care, schools, housing and waste collection.
Medical Exemption Certificate
People with certain medical conditions, pregnant women and women who have had a baby in the last 12 months can get free National Health Service prescriptions with a valid exemption certificate. You must complete a form to apply for this benefit.
National Careers Service
A government funded agency providing careers information, advice, learning and training in your career. This service is for anyone aged 13 years and over.
National Health Service (NHS)
A government funded national medical and health care service that everyone in the UK can use without being asked to pay the cost of the service. This is funded by the National Insurance contribution tax in the UK.
National Insurance (NI) Number
A unique ‘personal’ account number ensuring all National Insurance (social security) contributions and tax are recorded on your individual tax account. You can start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK.
The national train service providing travel information and services around the UK. Although run by privately owned train companies, you can buy tickets across the whole network.
Protection for Whistleblowing
If you are a worker, and you are concerned over something you feel is wrong such as someone’s health and safety is in danger, you are protected by law. This can be raised in confidence with your employer, and you should not be treated unfairly or lose your job.
Right to Work
The legal right to work once in the UK. All guests under the Homes for Ukraine scheme have the legal right to work full-time if they are over 18 years old.
School Term Times
The vary depending on your local area, however, they tend to follow this pattern:
- Summer Term: March/April – July
- Autumn Term: September – December
- Winter Term: Jan – March/April
Families, individuals, or organisations who are sponsoring people under the Homes for Ukraine.
State Pension Credit
A financial benefit providing extra money for pensioners to help with living costs if you are over the UK State pension age and on a low income.
The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK CPQ)
Is designated by the UK government to provide advice and guidance on the recognition of professional qualifications in an international context.
The payment is made up of a basic ‘standard allowance’ and extra payments that might apply to you depending on your circumstances.
Urgent Treatment Centre/ Out of Hours Service
Are medical centres for urgent care that isn’t immediately life threatening. Appointments can be booked via dialling 111 or through your General Practioner (GP).
Section 1 – Arriving in the UK
1.1: What you need to know in your first few days
Making contact with your sponsor
Before travelling to the UK, you should let your sponsor know when you will be arriving and arrange where you will meet. You should discuss with them whether they will meet you at your arrival point or whether you should make your own way to their home. If they ask you to make your way to their home, they should help explain to you the best travel arrangements.
Security checks prior to your arrival
Security checks will be undertaken on your host and their family. These checks are a necessary step to ensure you and your sponsor are kept safe.
Travelling with medical devices and medication
If you have a medical device which you need to manage an existing medical condition, you may bring this with you to the UK as part of your personal property. You are also able to bring up to 3 months’ supply of prescribed medication. If this medication is normally treated as a controlled drug, special rules may apply. You should obtain advice before travelling.
Pre-entry health screening
The UK currently has no requirement for port of entry health screening for arrivals from Ukraine.
On arrival in the UK
There are a number of major entry points to the UK, including airports, where there will be Welcome Points for you to meet your sponsor and where you can seek support, including to arrange your onward travel. If you are unsure location of the welcome point speak to Border Force or a member of staff at your port of arrival.
These are being established at the following major port of entry locations:
International Rail Terminal: St Pancras Station, London
There are also welcome point arrangements set up or on standby at the following locations:
- East Midlands
- Leeds Bradford
- Doncaster (Robin Hood)
- Teesside International
- London City
- Belfast International
- Belfast City (George Best)
- Birkenhead Ferry Port
- Portsmouth International Port
- Dover Port and Folkstone
- Plymouth Port
- Port of Newhaven
- Port of Tyne
- Port of Poole
- Harwich International Port
- Port of Hull
- Holyhead Port
- Fishguard Port
- Pembroke Dock
Rail and Coach:
- London Victoria Rail and Coach station
- Wrexham General Station
- Cardiff Central Station
- Glasgow Central Train Station
- Edinburgh Waverley Train Station
Once you arrive at the entry point, you will need to show your permission to travel to the UK letter to the Border Force officers. They will stamp your passport with a 6-month entry stamp. The entry stamp is evidence of your right to work, rent, study and claim benefits in the UK. If you have attended a visa application centre and given your biometrics already, you will be given 3 years’ leave to enter on arrival.
If you have agreed with your sponsor that you will make your own way to their home, you will be eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, bus, light rail and coach, free of charge to your destination anywhere in the UK (excluding NI). You only need to show your Ukrainian passport and your boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the country within the last 48 hours. More information is on the National Rail website.
If you have arranged to meet your sponsor at the Welcome Point, but for some reason your sponsor is late or unable to meet you, staff at the Welcome Point will be able to help you find out what has happened and resolve any immediate problems. This may be through helping you make onward travel arrangements yourself, or through the provision of emergency accommodation for a brief period until your sponsor arrives.
The Welcome Points will be able to support you by providing access to:
- rest point, with toilet facilities, telephone, telephone charging facilities and translation capability
- provision of any necessary immediate assistance including food, drink, (over the counter) medical supplies and other sundries
- triage point if matching arrangements fall down
- signposting access to public services and advice
If you have a working bank card, you will be able to use it at your point of entry to the UK. If you don’t, the Welcome Point and your sponsor will be able to advise you.
Arrivals in Wales and Scotland
In Wales and Scotland, you can also enter through the Devolved Government Sponsorship route. If you are arriving through this route, the arrangements as mentioned above will be very similar. You will be met at your entry point where you will then be taken to one of the welcome centres where further support, information and accommodation will be provided. This guidance contains links to further information on services available in Wales and Scotland.
The Welsh Government have temporarily paused new applications to their Sponsorship Scheme from 10 June 2022. This is to ensure focus can be given to embedding the arrangements for next stage accommodation alongside continued delivery of wider wraparound services. All existing applications will continue to be processed and existing visa holders can travel and will supported as planned. Further details can be found on the Welsh Government website.
What should I expect in my first few days?
Your sponsor is not only providing you with a room or rooms in which to stay, but will also help you, as much as they can, in adjusting to life in the UK. The first thing they will do is try to make sure you are comfortable in your accommodation, and that you have access to basics such as food, bedding and toiletries. They will also have a lot of knowledge they will be able to share with you about the area in which you are staying.
Whilst your sponsor will be able to help you with information such as the location of local schools for your children, local doctors, dentists, shops, churches, community centres, council offices and so on, it is important to remember that they are unlikely to be experts on the provision of services.
Shortly after you arrive at your sponsor’s home, you will be visited by an representative from the local council. This is nothing to worry about. The council will mainly be interested in checking that you have arrived safely and that the accommodation you are living in is suitable.
This pack provides a lot of information that will help you access local services, but if you have questions or other concerns, you should raise them with the council official when they visit. They may not be able to provide you an immediate answer, but they will be able to signpost other services that can.
Living with your sponsor
We understand that it may be a difficult time for you having just moved to a new country under challenging circumstances and that your first priorities are likely to be around getting into your accommodation and organising essentials such as food, toiletries and access to mobile phones and the internet, so you can stay in touch with family and friends.
Talk to your host about how you would like to settle in during your first few days including when you would like some quiet time.
Once you feel more settled, you should talk to your sponsor about basic arrangements for living together under the same roof. This should cover any agreements you need to make over sharing use of common areas of the house, such as the kitchen and dining room, sharing housework chores, or rules your hosts would like you to follow concerning things like smoking, alcohol or noise.
As a way of thanking your sponsor for their generosity, they will be offered an optional payment from the UK government of £350 per month. This is to help them with any additional costs. They are not expected to use this money to provide you food or other support.
Your sponsor is not allowed to charge you rent while you are staying with them, but they may ask you to make a reasonable contribution to any common household bills such as food and utilities. If you feel you are being asked to contribute an unreasonable amount for such bills, you should raise the matter through your local council.
Occasionally things do go wrong and if they do, it may be something simple that can be resolved with a conversation with your host. If, however, your host asks you to leave or you decide to leave, you can speak to your local council who will work with you to find alternative accommodation. Further information is below.
What to do if things go wrong
We hope that you will find the UK a friendly, welcoming and safe place. If for some reason that is not the case, we want you to let us know about it as soon as possible. There are many professional bodies in the UK who are ready to provide you with assistance, should the need arise; you will find useful contacts in the annex.
If you feel that your safety or the safety of anyone in your party is at risk, then you should contact the emergency services by calling 999 or 112. This number covers emergency police, fire and health.
If you have concerns or worries that are troubling you, but do not present an immediate threat to your safety, you should contact your local council, who will be able to advise you further.
If your sponsorship breaks down, or you are worried it is about to break down, you should contact your local council to make them aware as soon as possible. There are different types of support your local council could offer you. For example, they may offer you advice, emergency housing, or they may also offer to rematch you with a new sponsor. The type of help that is offered depends on your eligibility for assistance; whether you are in “priority need”; and what caused you to become homeless. You may be in priority need if any of the following are true: you or someone you live with is pregnant; dependent children live with you; or you are assessed by the local council as vulnerable, for example as a result of old age or disability. Find further examples and information here.
Accessing support while in the UK
The Homes for Ukraine scheme provides you with the right to access a range of benefits and services whilst you are in the UK. As a first step, the government will provide to you and each member of your family that you have travelled with a £200 grant to help cover any immediate costs you have while you settle in. This will be provided through your local council. This is not counted as part of any other benefit scheme which you may be able to claim and will not need to be re-paid.
Section 2 of this guide provides you with guidance on how to access commonly used services in the UK, including information on how to set up a bank account, receive support through your local council, obtain medical treatment, seek employment or access the education system. Your sponsor will also have local knowledge that they will be able to share.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines
The majority of people in the UK have received at least one of their coronavirus vaccine and it is likely that all adults in your hosts household will have received theirs.
For the latest guidance on what to do if you have or suspect you have the virus, please visit the UK government’s COVID-19 advice webpage.
Booking a coronavirus vaccination
You are eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccination through the NHS.
If you are registered with a GP, you can book your vaccination if you are in England.
If you have already had a COVID-19 vaccine in Ukraine or elsewhere, speak to your GP about which further doses you should have in the UK and when you should have them.
You should also tell the NHS about any COVID-19 vaccinations that you have had outside of the UK. This is so the NHS can update your vaccination record. Bookings to make an appointment to get your previous vaccinations recorded can be made online using the National Booking Service or by calling 119. 119 will also have translators available.
1.2: What you need to know about the Ukrainian Sponsorship Scheme – the Homes for Ukraine Scheme
‘Homes for Ukraine’ is the government’s programme to help you and your family arrive safely and adapt to life in the United Kingdom. Under the Scheme, you will be ‘sponsored’ by a UK resident who has come forward and offered you a home to stay in. That resident may be a friend you already know, or just a resident of the UK who has offered to help.
The scheme is intended to provide you a safe space for at least 6 months. Under this scheme, your stay here can be extended up to a maximum of 3 years and have the right to work, study and claim benefits in the UK. During that time circumstances may change, both for you and your sponsor, and you may move on to live with a different sponsor, or to other accommodation that you have arranged for yourself.
Extending your stay in the UK
The entry stamp you received on entry into the UK provides evidence of your right to stay in the UK but is valid for the first 6 months only. To extend your stay for up to the 3 years allowed under this scheme, you will need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit. This will require you to provide biometric information, including a photograph of your face and a sample of your fingerprints.
Once you have provided this information, you will be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit. This permit is an important document which you must keep safe as it is evidence of your legal status in the UK and shows how long you may stay in the UK. It is also a useful means by which you can confirm your identity for purposes such as opening a UK bank account. If you travel outside the UK, you will need to take your Biometric Residence Permit with you to allow smooth entry back into the UK following your travel.
Your Biometric Residence Permit will record:
- your name, date and place of birth
- your fingerprints and a photo of your face (this is your biometric information)
- your immigration status and any conditions of your stay
- your right to access public funds, for example financial support and health services
Section 2 – Getting used to life in the UK
The aim of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ sponsorship scheme is to help you have a safe and comfortable experience in the UK. We know this might take some time.
This section of the guide aims to help you take the first steps towards this by providing some basic information about some key characteristics of the UK and important services you will want to access.
These services include:
- opening a bank account
- claiming social security benefits and getting a National Insurance Number
- local council services
- healthcare services
- finding a job and paying tax
- childcare and education services
- finding accommodation after your initial sponsorship period comes to an end
Your sponsor, together with community organisations and local authorities, will help you with these initial steps.
This is a new website full of useful information on living in the UK and accessing services for people from Ukraine. A 6-way collective of NGO/Charities has led its creation: Hope for Justice; Justice & Care; Stop the Traffik; The Freedom Fund; Unseen and World Rights Centre. For further information please follow the link Ukrainians Welcome
2.1: Opening a bank account
Opening a UK bank or building society account if you are from Ukraine
If you are new to the UK from Ukraine, you may want to open a UK bank or building society account to manage your day-to-day money. You can receive regular payments into your account, such as wages, benefits, tax credits or pensions. You can also set up payments to come out of your account in whatever way you find convenient. This guide is here to help you understand how to apply for a bank account and what documents you will need to open one.
Banks and building societies will discuss their range of accounts with you to agree which is most suitable. Where a standard account would not be suitable, you may be able to open a basic bank account instead. A basic bank account doesn’t have any fees for standard use or use of an overdraft. Some banks and building societies let you apply directly for a basic bank account, and others only offer basic bank accounts to customers who are not eligible for their other accounts.
How do I open a UK bank or building society account?
There are a range of providers, and you can choose one that suits you best.
To open a bank or building society account, you’ll probably need to:
1. Make sure you have an email address set up in your name and a valid phone number, to help the bank or building society communicate with you.
2. Collect all your identification and visa documents.
To open a bank or building society account in the UK, you also need to show proof of ID. The quickest way to prove identification is likely to be with your passport and/or your Biometric Residence Permit (issued to you by the UK government). Some UK banks and building societies may ask for proof of address, though this is not required by law to open a bank account.
If you don’t have all the identification documents, take all the information you have with you to the bank or building society. Banks and building societies are encouraged to consider alternative ways to identify and verify their customers, and the government has been working closely with the sector to support access for incoming Ukrainian nationals who may not have standard documentation for identity verification.
3. Apply for an account either in person at a bank or building society branch (you may need to make an appointment), over the phone, online or via a bank’s mobile app. If going into a branch, you should take all relevant identification documents with you.
These are the names of just some of the account providers operating in the UK. You may want to open an account with other providers that are not listed here. The list is in alphabetical order and is not intended to be ranked by order of preference.
- Barclays UK
- Bank of Ireland UK
- Bank of Scotland
- The Co-operative Bank
- Danske Bank UK
- First Direct
- HSBC UK
- Lloyds Banking Group
- Monzo (digital only bank)
- Nationwide Building Society
- NatWest Group
- Santander UK
- Ulster Bank
- Virgin Money
Money Helper provides a free comparison tool that lists all providers on its website.
2.2: Claiming Social Security Benefits and getting a National Insurance Number
Access to benefits (monetary payments)
The UK has a welfare system which is designed to help those who face financial hardship, or who have specific needs. This system enables persons to claim regular monetary payments, called “benefits or allowances.”
See a link to all the different types of benefits you could receive and how to apply.
If you are living in Scotland advice can be found at benefits support
See more information on benefits in Wales.
If you need additional help to find out which benefit you may be able to claim your local Job Centre Plus will be able to help. This may include:
- Universal Credit – a payment for those of working age, to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income. You could be working (including self-employed or part time) or be out of work;
- Pension Credit – extra money to help with your living costs if you are over the age of 66 and on a low income. Applications for Pensions is online or via telephone
- Disability benefits – extra money to help with additional costs if you have a long term physical or mental health condition or disability
- Child Benefit - Child Benefit is a universal benefit for parents or guardians that issues monthly payments equating to £21.80 per week for the eldest child and £14.45 per week for each additional child. You can usually claim Child Benefit if you are the parent or guardian of a child or children under the age of 16 (or under the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training). You need to apply for Child Benefit by filling in a Child Benefit claim form and sending it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form. Find more information on claiming Child Benefit, including the evidence that you will need to provide with your claim.
Applying for Universal Credit
You can apply for Universal Credit online.
You will need to create an account to make a claim.
To apply online you’ll need:
- your bank, building society or credit union account details
- an email address
- access to a phone
You’ll also have to prove your identity. You’ll need some identity documents for this, for example:
- a full or provisional Ukraine photo driving licence
- any national identity card, except those issued under the UK ID Card Scheme
- a residence permit, registration certificate or document certifying or indicating permanent residence issued by the Home Office or the United Kingdom Border Agency to a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland
- a Biometric Residence Permit issued by the United Kingdom Border Agency
A link to the Universal Credit eligibility criteria can be found here: Universal Credit: Eligibility - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
If you are in education, you should check the guidance about claiming Universal Credit as a student here: Universal Credit and students - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
There is a Help to Claim service provided by Citizens Advice which is confidential. They will not share your personal information unless you agree.
If you are unable to claim online or to get help with your claim, you can call the Universal Credit helpline. Calls to the Universal Credit helpline are free. Telephone: 0800 328 5644.
When your Universal Credit claim has been made you will be invited for a meeting with your Work Coach at your local Jobcentre Plus.
When making a claim you should use your own bank account details and ensure that you are the only person with access to your account.
National Insurance Number
A National Insurance number is used to make sure your National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name only. This is made up of letters and numbers and never changes.
If you are applying for benefit and do not have a National Insurance number, the Benefit type you are applying for will initiate the process so that you are issued with a National Insurance Number. You do not need to apply separately for one.
You can look for and start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK. You can prove you have the right to work in the UK by showing your employer either your Biometric Residence Permit or your visa in your passport.
Employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees. Having a National Insurance number is not part of these checks, and the possession of a National Insurance number does not prove that an individual has a right to work. The employer you want to work for will tell you what documents you need to show.
If you do not have a NI number you can find further information on how to apply for one. You will be advised of the documents you will need to provide when making your application.
2.3: Accessing essential public services
Your local council
Whichever area you are placed in, you will be able to access support from your local council. If you are unsure who your local council is, you can search on find your local council.
Precisely how council support is provided does differ depending on which part of the United Kingdom you are staying in but, as a general rule, your local council will be the organisation that will:
- Support you with any short-term arrival needs, which could include provision of small amounts of emergency cash support.
- Conduct safety and welfare checks and inspect the accommodation you are residing in after you have arrived to ensure your safety and welfare.
- Provide you with financial support whilst you wait for payments under the Universal Credit scheme. Pension age guests will have access to State Pension Credit provided they meet eligibility criteria.
- Provide school places for children of school age i.e. between 5 and 16.
- Provide advice and referrals to specialist public health services. These services support you if you have specific needs e.g., mental health services, adult social care, and children’s services.
- Support you through providing access to local Jobcentre Plus appointments for benefit assessments and job-seeking.
- Support you should you become homeless. If your sponsorship arrangement breaks down, your local council may support you by finding you a new rematch sponsor within the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
- Support you to integrate into your local communities.
2.4: Accessing healthcare
Registering with a doctor – a general practitioner (GP)
A general practitioner, commonly known as a GP, is the first doctor you will usually visit for routine health problems in the UK. A GP can offer medical advice, provide a diagnosis and prescribe medicines. They might be your first point of contact for many physical and mental health concerns. The GP practice is also responsible for coordinating and managing your long-term healthcare and they can refer you if you need more specialised hospital services
Everyone has a right to register with a GP and you do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number (you may be asked to provide ID but it is not a requirement). We strongly recommend that you register with a GP as soon as possible after you arrive. You can also register temporarily if you expect to be in an area for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months. If you have ID this can help make sure your name is spelled correctly in your NHS records.
To find your nearest GP service and for more information please see how to register with a GP surgery.
You can find out how to register with a GP surgery in Scotland.
Most GP practices are not co-located with a pharmacy. If your GP wants you to take a particular medication, he or she will provide you with a prescription that you will need to take to your local pharmacy or chemist. The GP surgery will be able to advise you about where you should go to collect your medicine. You can also find information about the location of local pharmacies online.
There is normally a small charge for prescriptions, which you will be asked to pay when you collect your medication at the pharmacy. However, prescriptions are provided free of charge if you meet certain requirements. There is some variation in what prescriptions are provided depending on where in the UK you are living, but in general, your prescription will be free if you are:
- age 60 or over
- age 16 or under
- age 16 to 18 and in full-time education
- pregnant (or have had a baby in the previous 12 months)
- an inpatient receiving care in an NHS hospital
This list is not exhaustive; free prescriptions may also be available if you have certain specified medical conditions or a continuing physical disability. If you think this may apply to you, you should ask your GP who will be able to provide you with advice.
As well as providing you with any prescribed medication, a pharmacist can also give you free advice on treating minor health problems, such as colds and coughs. Some very common medications, such as painkillers and cough medicines, are available for sale over the counter. You will not need a prescription for these types of medication, but you will have to pay for them yourself.
Access to medical support in an emergency
If you or a family member has a serious accident or a sudden serious illness you should go to your nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency department. Emergency treatment at Accident and Emergency services at NHS hospitals is free for everyone.
If it is an extreme emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance to transport you to a hospital. This service is free of charge but should only be used in an emergency. If you are able to do so, you may also make your own way to the Accident and Emergency department.
You can find out more information on when to call 999.
Walk-in or Urgent Treatment centre
If you need treatment or advice that is not an emergency, but cannot wait until you next see your GP, you can obtain advice by calling 111. This is a service operated by the NHS. NHS 111 will be able to refer you to a doctor or to a local Urgent Treatment Centre or provide you other guidance, depending on your circumstances and needs.
In many parts of the country, NHS also provides Walk-In or Urgent Treatment Centres where you can receive treatment for minor injuries such as cuts, sprains and small fractures, or receive urgent medical advice, without having made an appointment. These centres are usually open during daytime hours. Find your nearest Urgent Treatment Centre.
Mental Health Services
Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. We understand that you have been through a very traumatic time and been exposed to a huge mental stress. There are Mental Health Services available throughout the country that can help you if you are struggling. If you, or someone you love, need help this is best arranged through making an appointment with your GP.
If you are struggling but do not want to talk to a GP, there are a wide-range of support organisations that offer helplines where you can talk in confidence to a trained advisor. These include:
- Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 - (Textphone: 18001 0808 808 8000)
- Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 to talk to a trained volunteer
- Mental health organisations
Further information on these and other support organisations and helpline services is available at NHS mental health for England or NHS inform - mental health if you are in Scotland. To find support in your local area, you can also use the Hub of Hope. You can access some services directly, without going to your GP for a referral first.
Maternity care and services
You will be offered free care when you are pregnant and after you give birth. This is likely to be arranged through your GP. Maternity services cover care from the beginning of pregnancy through to sign off by a midwife: this is usually around 10 days after the birth but can be up to 6 weeks postnatally. Midwives ensure that personalised care is provided throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. Much of this care will be provided directly by midwives, who will also coordinate the provision of obstetric or other medical involvement if necessary.
You should contact a GP or midwife as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. It’s important to see a midwife or GP as early as possible to get the pregnancy (antenatal) care and information you need to have a healthy pregnancy.
You are also entitled to support from a health visitor. A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who has had extra training. They’re there to help you, your family and children up to the age of 5 years old to stay healthy.
See information on all you need to know about pregnancy, labour, birth and NHS maternity services.
For Scotland: NHS inform: ready steady baby.
Dentistry/ dental care and services
You are entitled to NHS dental care to help keep your mouth, teeth and gums free of pain. If your tooth is painful you should call NHS 111 for Urgent Dental Care Services.
You can search for local dentists and ask to register for an appointment. NHS dentistry is only free by exemption (for example, if you are aged under 18 or in receipt of low income benefits). Costs for dental appointments depend on what treatment you are having. Search for a dentist at How to find an NHS dentist and find a breakdown of costs at How much will I pay for NHS dental treatment.
Scotland provides free dental checks. You can find a dentist near you - Receiving NHS dental treatment in Scotland
You can make an appointment with any high street optician to have an eyesight test or get help with your glasses or contact lenses. There may be costs unless you are eligible for a free NHS eyesight test or optical vouchers.
Scotland is the only country in the UK to provide free universal NHS-funded eye examinations. These are available to anyone ordinarily resident in the UK and to eligible overseas visitors. In some cases, the NHS will also give an optical voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses
Protection against infectious diseases
NHS vaccinations are free to everyone and give the best protection to children and adults against infectious diseases such as meningitis, mumps, measles, and rubella. Speak to your GP if you think you or your child have missed any vaccinations and an appointment can be arranged.
2.5: Finding a job and paying tax
Support available for you at your local Jobcentre Plus
Jobcentre Plus helps people move from benefits into work and helps employers advertise jobs. They provide a free employment advice service, can provide access to training opportunities and signposting to trusted partner organisations for specialist support. They also deal with benefits for people who are unemployed or unable to work because of a health condition or disability.
Jobcentre Plus has public computers to help you in your job search and offices can be found in most cities and some towns across the UK.
To note, there is no obligation to accept a work offer and your visa is not dependant on any work offer you may choose to do.
Your work coach
You will be allocated a work coach who you will meet on a regular basis.
They will give you support to build your skills and explore different job options and training opportunities.
If you are disabled, a disability advisor can support you and help you access correct support and suitable employment.
Usually your employer will provide you with a payslip. This will show:
- your earnings before and after any deductions
- deductions (for example: tax, National Insurance)
- the number of hours you worked
Every employer must pay their employees a minimum amount per hour. From April 2022 those minimums are listed here:
- age 23 and over - £9.50
- age 21 to 22 - £9.18
- age 18 to 20 - £6.83
- under 18 or Apprentice - £4.18
Your rights at work
You have the right to be treated fairly at work. Men and women have the right to work and have equal rights and duties.
You have the right to work in a safe environment and be free from threats, violence and harassment from your employer, colleagues, or customers.
Employers must respect the needs of employees as long as it does not interfere with the work they are employed to do.
It is illegal to discriminate against anyone applying for a job or in the workplace on the basis of gender, race, religion, being married or in a civil partnership, disability, age, sexual orientation, being pregnant.
Working hours - This is usually a maximum 48 hours a week on average. If you are under 18, you can’t work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.
You should keep your ID documents (for example your ID or passport) – your employer does not have the right to keep them.
The terms and conditions of your work will be in your contract. Make sure you read your contract carefully before signing it.
How to find a job or apprenticeship
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is co-ordinating pledges from employers who are interested in recruiting people from Ukraine. Details of these job opportunities will be shared with work coaches, so they are accessible for all DWP customers.
Find a job and Find an apprenticeship: Free online job website. Contains latest vacancies for jobs or apprenticeships across different career opportunities and job sectors. Available 24/7, 365 days a year. You can search for jobs without an account. You need to create an account to apply for a job.
National Careers Service: Provides free, impartial and personalised information and guidance on careers. Can help you to make decisions on learning, training and work. Advice is delivered through individual and group face-to-face sessions, over the telephone and online.
Skills Advisory Panel: Publishes reports on local skills online. Contains career information for local people. Examples include jobs in health services, care sector, engineers and IT.
You could also consider:
- your local council website - lists jobs locally, and may also have information about recruitment events and companies hiring in your area
- job fairs - events where recruiters come to meet potential employees
- local and national newspapers – will have a section with a list of job vacancies
Applying for a job or apprenticeship
Once you have found a job you want to do, you need to submit an application. Your work coach can arrange help for you with this.
Your application might include:
- application form
- cover letter
Once you have submitted your application, you may be invited to an interview.
Employers may ask to see your documentation. It will help if you can bring original documents (biometrics residents permit, proof of your qualifications and experience).
Employers may ask for references from people who can verify your suitability for the job.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A CV (curriculum vitae) lists your skills, education and work experience. You normally need in your CV as part of a job application.
You should try to tailor your CV to the job you are applying to. You can find free templates for CVs online. You can ask your Work Coach to help you.
After submitting your application, you might be invited to an interview.
Do not worry if you do not hear back from the employer – applying for jobs is competitive. It is normal to apply for many jobs at once.
Interviews can vary – you might be asked a series of questions or asked to complete a trial shift.
Read the interview instructions well – you may be asked to prepare something in advance.
Try to arrive early to the interview and check what the dress code is.
You can ask your work coach to help you prepare.
Voluntary work means working for an organisation without being paid. This could be for a charity or a voluntary organisation.
Volunteering can be a good way you build your confidence and skills, meet new people and give back to your local community.
Voluntary work increase your chance of getting a job, especially if you haven’t worked in the UK.
What to do if you think you have been unfairly treated by an employer, or need support?
- Complain directly to your employer
- Use someone else to help you sort it out (mediation/alternative dispute resolution)
- You can find out more information about your rights by contacting the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 0300 123 1100.
- Make a claim in a court or tribunal. You can get further advice and support from the Equality Advisory Service
- If you are being forced to work or your employer is not respecting your rights, you can get advice from the Modern Slavery Helpline by calling 0800 0121 700.
Your rights and protection at work
The UK is proud to extend to you all of the rights and protections in law that we extend to our own citizens.
When you go to work, you have the right to be treated fairly and work in a safe place. You also have the right to be able to work without fear or harassment from your employer, colleagues or customers.
In the UK, when you get a job, you should also get a job contract or a job agreement. The terms and conditions of your work will be in your contract or agreement. Make sure you read this carefully, with an interpreter, if necessary, before you sign.
Your employment rights at work - like the minimum amount you should be paid, or whether you’re entitled to take paid leave from work for holidays or maternity leave - are determined by your “employment status”.
In the UK, we have 3 main types of employment status:
- Employees get all employment rights subject to some conditions (for example, some rights need you to have been working continuously in the same job for a certain amount of time to qualify) and have responsibilities towards your employer.
- Workers get certain core employment rights (minimum wage or national living wage, holiday pay and protection against discrimination), but have more flexibility over when, how much, and where they work.
- Self-employed workers have no employment rights but have complete flexibility in deciding how and when they work.
If you are a worker, you will be entitled to employment rights such as:
- a minimum wage of £9.50 for people aged 23 and over
- protection against your employer taking money from your wages
- one 20-minute break if you work more than 6 hours a day
- to work a maximum of 48 hours on average in a week or to opt out of this right if you choose
- being protected against illegal discrimination
- being protected if reporting wrongdoing in a workplace
- being treated the same if you work part-time as someone who works full time
If you are an employee, you may also get:
- sick pay
- maternity pay
- paternity pay
- adoption pay
- shared parental pay
See more detail on employment status.
If you work as an agency worker you will also have rights from the first day of your employment.
If you think you are not getting all your employment rights, you can speak to an organisation called ACAS on 0300 123 1100. They have translators that can help. You can find more information on Employment rights.
Every employer in the country must pay their employees or workers a minimum amount per hour. How much this is, depends on how old you are. Please check National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates for the most up-to-date information. The rates increased on 1 April 2022. You can also find out more information at Check Your Pay.
You can get careers advice and support from the National Careers Service which gives careers information to adults in England – in the community, online and on the phone. Young people aged 13+ can call the telephone number 0800 100 900 for help.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is Scotland’s national skills body. The Individual Helpline can be reached on 0800 917 8000.
Careers Wales can help you to plan your career, prepare to get a job, and find and apply for the right apprenticeships, courses and training.
Careers Service provide careers information, advice and guidance to people living in Northern Ireland.
Get your professional qualification recognised in the UK
If you have a professional qualification, you will need to have this qualification officially recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in the UK. It will need to be recognised by the appropriate regulator for your profession. You will need to do this even if you are doing temporary or one-off work.
The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK CPQ) is a free service that can provide you with information to help get your qualifications recognised in the UK. You can look at the UK CPQ website for more information like whether a profession is regulated and the entry requirements.
There are over 200 regulated professions in the UK. A list of the regulated professions and the associated regulators is also on the UK government website.
You will have to pay tax on your earnings if you earn over a certain amount. Your employment status, such as self employed or agency worker, can affect the amount of tax that you pay. You can check your employment status here.
In the UK the government (through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)) collects tax on labour and assets. Taxpayer’s income is assessed for tax according to a prescribed order, with income from employment using up the personal allowance and being taxed first, followed by savings income (from interest or otherwise unearned) and then dividends.
You have a responsibility to pay the right amount of income tax. Income tax is a set percentage of your yearly income. If you are employed by someone else, it is often deducted directly from your monthly salary through a system called Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
If you are not employed by a company or another person but earn an income, you have a responsibility to declare that income and pay the right amount of tax. Self Assessment is a system HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses to collect Income Tax from self-employment on an annual basis. The UK annual tax year for self assessment runs from 5 April.
For more information on self assessment and when you need to send your annual return to us please check https://www.gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns.
The amount of tax you pay depends on how much you earn. You can check this at https://www.gov.uk/estimate-income-tax. For further advice, you can contact HMRC directly, or Citizens Advice, as well as professional accountants.
Paying National Insurance contributions (NICs)
You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension. You pay mandatory National Insurance if you’re 16 or over and are either:
- an employee earning above £184 a week
- self-employed and making a profit of £6,515 or more a year
Find more information on National Insurance.
2.6: Childcare and Education Services
Childcare and education provision vary across the different nations that make up the UK.
Childcare choices is a useful website to take you through your options.
You can get help towards childcare depending on your circumstances, including:
- free childcare places for children aged 3 and 4
- extra free childcare if you are working and your child is aged 3 and 4
- free childcare if your child is 2 and you are on a very low income
You may also be able to get money off your childcare bills if you are working or are on Universal Credit.
- for more information, please speak to your local authority or go to get childcare
You can get help towards childcare including:
- childcare for children aged 3 and 4
- childcare support for parents whilst training or looking for work
- your local Family Information Service (FIS) provides free advice on childcare
For more information, please go to Help paying childcare
You can access a specified amount of free childcare for children depending on your circumstances. Read childcare for more information.
In Scotland childcare is free of charge for eligible children. Currently, if your child is 3 or 4 years old, you can get up to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare a year. This is equivalent to 16 hours a week if taken in term time or around 12 hours a week if taken all year round.
The Scottish Government increased the number of hours of funded early learning and childcare to 1,140 hours a year from August 2021. That’s about 30 hours a week if taken over school term time or around 22 hours a week if taken all year round. In some areas, the extra hours might already be available so it’s best to check with the local authority where you live.
Your child may be able to access funded early learning and childcare earlier than 3 but this is more limited and depends more on local rules. Please speak to your local authority to discuss you and your child’s circumstances to see if there is anything available before the universal offer locally.
You can find out more information on early learning and childcare.
In England, children aged 5 to 16 are required to be in full-time education. The local authority supporting you and your family will assist you with accessing this.
This can either be:
- within a free state-funded school
- within an independent school (otherwise known as a private school or public school), which will normally charge fees for your child’s education; or
- you can choose to home-educate your child
Children from the age of 4 can be enrolled in a local primary school which usually teaches children from the ages of 4 to 11.
Children 11 and older can join a local secondary school which teaches children from the ages of 11 to 16 or 11 to 18. There are sixth form colleges in some areas which teach young-people aged 16 to 18. Please see the ‘Further Education’ section below for more information.
Contact your local council to find:
- state-funded schools in your area
- admissions criteria for the schools you are interested in
Detailed guidance on how to apply for a school is at Annex A.
It is likely, when you first arrive in England, that your application will be under the in-year process, so pay special attention to that section of Annex A.
Parents and carers should contact the local authority for guidance on applying for a school.
Every child aged between 4 and 16 is entitled to a school place. If your child is eligible for primary or post-primary school, you must apply for their place.
For more information see Applying for a school place
Scotland provides free school education for all children from the age of around 4 and a half years old, up to the age of 18.
Your local council is responsible for providing school education in the area you live. You can find full information on applying for all school places and placing requests.
Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
Most schools and colleges are expected to identify and meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities. Your local council will be able to offer more support and information. You can find your local council.
Additional Support for Learning (ASL) in Scotland is different to Special Educational Needs & Disability in England (SEND), but your child will still receive support if they need it.
Additional Support Needs (ASN) are broadly defined, including those which might impact on children from Armed Forces families, such as transitions, interrupted learning and dealing with separation and loss. They can be of short or long-term duration and occur for a variety of reasons. ASN in Scotland includes needs defined as SEND in England.
There is a Scottish advice service for additional support for learning, where you will find useful information about when your child might be entitled to extra support.
Further education to 19 years old
Further education (FE) includes any study after secondary education (normally for young people 16 or over) that’s not part of higher education – that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree.
All young people in England are required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday and most continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 18. Local authorities (LAs) have a statutory duty to support 16- and 17-year-olds to move into education and training. You should contact your LA for support in finding suitable education.
As an individual living in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine you are eligible to enrol as a student, although colleges (but not state-funded schools) may ask to see evidence of your eligibility.
Further information on Further education courses and funding.
Further information on Further education courses and qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds.
If you are in Scotland you may wish to contact the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).
Further education and training for adults
You can find information on further education courses, including educational courses for adults, by contacting your local council or local Further Education College directly.
Alternatively you can search for courses.
If you are aged 19 or over and have entered the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme, the Homes for Ukraine Scheme or the Ukraine Extension Scheme, you will be able to access adult education, including English for Speakers of Other Languages .
Education and training will either be fully funded or co-funded (approximate 50% government contribution) depending upon your age, prior attainment, and circumstances. Please contact your local provider/college for more information.
If you are aged 19 or over and have entered the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, you will be able to apply for Skills Bootcamps. Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks. To view the full breadth of courses offered under Skills Bootcamps, please see the list of Skills Bootcamps courses currently on offer.
An apprenticeship allows you to work and earn money, as an employee, with a contract of employment and holiday leave, while learning and receiving training.
It can take between 1 and 6 years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one you choose, what level it is and your previous experience. Apprenticeships are funded from contributions made by the government and your employer.
To become an apprentice, you must:
- be 16 or over
- not already be in full-time education
- live in England
If you don’t live in England, please see apprenticeship options in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
You usually have to be 18 or older to take a higher education course. Higher Education is provided through:
- specialist institutions like art schools or agricultural colleges
Universities control their own admissions policies and requirements so you should contact the relevant higher education provider you are interested in directly if you have any questions.
You can search and apply for most higher education courses online. Information on UK study options and the application process can be accessed at UCAS.
From 1 August 2022, if you have been granted leave under the Homes for Ukraine or Ukraine Family schemes, or under the Ukraine Extension scheme, and have been a resident in the UK, you will be treated the same as a UK resident for higher education funding. You will also qualify for advanced learner loans for further education courses. You do not need to demonstrate three years ordinary residence in the UK before the start of your course, but you will need to show that you have been resident in the UK since your leave was granted.
Find further information on how to access student funding.
The government plans to announce shortly how people arriving from Ukraine will be able to access funding for higher education.
The UK European Network Information Centre (UK ENIC, and formerly UK NARIC) provides expert advice on behalf of the UK government on the comparability of international qualifications, including those from Ukraine to UK qualifications.
UK ENIC has conducted research into the comparable levels of the years of study that precede the full completion of a course of study and are therefore able to issue Statements of Comparability, despite a formal exit qualification not having been completed. This is to help guide schools and colleges on A level enrolment and 16-19 funding exemptions.
Teachers from Ukraine
Teachers from Ukraine can gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England by completing an accredited course of teacher training in England.
Teachers can also work without QTS in some types of schools known as academies and free schools. Overseas teachers, including those who qualified in Ukraine, can also work in maintained schools without QTS for up to 4 years. Once working in this way, teachers can complete the assessment-only route in order to gain QTS.
If you are settling in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland there are different routes to work as a teacher, details of which can be found at:
Teaching Vacancies is the official job-listing service from the Department for Education and used by over 17,000 schools to post their teaching roles. You can search for a job at a school or trust in England, save jobs and set up job alerts.
2.7: Finding accommodation after your sponsorship ends
At the end of your 6-month sponsorship period, you may need to find alternative accommodation for you and your family.
Renting a home
You must prove that you have a right to rent property in England. You will be able to use your Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of your immigration status in the UK, including your right to rent in England.
To prove your status digitally to a landlord or letting agent in England you can use the online service.
Rented housing can be found through local lettings agents and on property listings websites. The types of privately rented housing available is different across the country.
Letting agents will carry out any referencing checks within the law as they deem appropriate before accepting you as a new tenant. This may include income requirements or the need for a guarantor, dependent upon the decision of the individual landlord. If providing references proves challenging for you, we would encourage you to discuss your personal circumstances with the letting agent or landlord about alternative forms of reference that might be acceptable.
When you find a house or flat you will probably need to pay a deposit. You will then need to sign a ‘tenancy agreement’. This is a legal contract between you and the landlord. Your tenancy agreement will set out how much rent needs to be paid and how often, a list of repairs and maintenance that are your responsibility and which are the landlord’s responsibility, and any other rules or restrictions e.g. smoking restrictions.
The tenancy will usually be for a fixed period of 6 or 12 months. The landlord must allow you to stay in the property for a minimum of 6 months. If you want a longer initial fixed period, you can ask whether the landlord is willing to agree to this. You will be obliged to pay the rent for the duration of the tenancy.
You can find out about your responsibilities and rights as a tenant in the government’s How to rent guide
Comprehensive information for tenants about private renting in Scotland.
See more information about renting a home in the social rented sector.
If you move out of sponsored accommodation into privately rented property or a home of your own, you will become liable for paying Council Tax. This is a set amount for the financial year which runs from April to March, and you can pay this monthly. Council Tax is a tax which goes to your local authority for local services such as care, social services, police and local facilities.
If you become at risk of homelessness, you should contact your local authority as soon as possible.
Other contact details for support:
There are different types of support your local authority could offer you. For example, they may offer you advice, emergency housing, support to find longer-term housing or help so you can stay in your home. The type of help that is offered depends on your eligibility for assistance, if you are in “priority need”, and what caused you to become homeless.
Section 3 – What to do if things go wrong
Protecting and caring for your children
The UK takes the welfare of all children very seriously. If you are worried about your child or another child for any reason, you can contact:
- The local council where the child is accommodated
- National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) on 0808 800 5000
- Childline on 0800 1111
You can contact us outside of these hours by email at email@example.com. It’s free and you don’t have to say who you are. If you think that a child is at immediate risk of harm, please call the Police on 999 or112.
Domestic abuse is a serious crime in the UK. Anyone who is violent or abusive towards their partner, spouse or another family member, whether they are a man or a woman, married or living together, or separated can be prosecuted.
Domestic abuse can include a wide range of behaviours and is not limited to physical violence; it can include emotional, psychological, controlling or coercive behaviour, sexual and/or economic abuse. Domestic abuse can continue and may escalate after a relationship ends so it is important to seek help at the earliest opportunity.
Domestic abuse can have a significant impact on children and young people and families may need support from children’s social care to help ensure children are not at risk of harm and to help them to stay safe and address any trauma they have experienced through abuse.
For further information and help:
Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 or visit (access live chat Monday to Friday from 3pm to 10pm)
Modern slavery and human trafficking
The people of the UK are happy to offer you a warm welcome into the UK. However, as is the case everywhere, there may be a small number of people who may look to exploit vulnerable people.
Modern slavery can affect people of all ages, gender and races and includes a range of different forms of exploitation.
There are four main types of modern slavery – labour exploitation, criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation, and domestic servitude. Read modern slavery awareness and victim identification guidance for more information and how to spot the signs.
If you have concerns that you or someone you know may be being exploited, there people who can help you. You can contact:
- The police on 999
- The Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700 or online at Modern Slavery Helpline.
If you, or someone you know is being forced to work for someone against your will either under threat or menace then you can report this to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority on 0800 432 0804 or through their website.
The police are there to help and assist you as part of their role to keep people safe and uphold the law you should not be afraid to approach them if you are the victim of a crime, see a crime happening, or for general assistance; for example, if you are lost.
To report a crime, you should call the following telephone numbers:
- 999 – This is the number to call in an emergency. For example, if you are the victim of an assault or see a crime taking place. Ask for the ‘police’ when you get through. This is also the number to call if you need an ambulance or if there is a fire.
- 112 – is a common emergency telephone number that can be dialled free of charge from most mobile telephones, and in some countries, fixed telephones in order to reach emergency services - ambulance, fire and rescue, police.
- 101 – This is the number to call for less urgent situations. For example, if your property has been damaged.
If you are not satisfied with the service you have received from the police, you can complain directly to the police unit or office in question or the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which is responsible for overseeing the system for handling complaints made against police forces in England and Wales, or the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner in Scotland. The role of these institutions is to impartially, independent of the police, investigate conduct and behaviour.
Reporting war crimes from Ukraine
The Metropolitan Police is supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation regarding possible war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. If you have personally experienced or have witnessed any crimes, further information can be reported to the War Crimes Team in the Metropolitan Police. Report a war crime.
If you need to report a fire you should call 999.
Section 4 – Legal rights and responsibilities
Rights and freedoms
Every person in the UK has the same basic human rights and freedoms, which are protected in law. These underpin how people live in the UK. For example:
- every person has a right to liberty
- every person has freedom of thought and the right to practice their religion
However, it is illegal if, as part of this, you take part in activities which break UK laws. It is against the law to discriminate against or persecute someone because of their beliefs.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has translated guidance into Ukrainian reminding individuals working in the UK of their rights and how to complain if they feel they are not being treated properly or fairly.
Values and responsibilities in the UK
Based on the rights and freedoms protected in law, everyone living in or visiting the UK is expected to adhere to a set of shared values and responsibilities:
- respect and obey the law
- respect the rights of others, including their right to their own opinions
- treat others with fairness
Being a victim of crime
We are confident that Ukrainians who choose to make the UK their home, and move here with their families, will be welcomed and able to integrate.
Targeting someone because of their race or other characteristic is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated and we encourage anyone who suffers hate crime, or receives a serious threat against them to report it to the police, either by calling 101, 999 or 112 in an emergency or online. People should be able to live their lives free of harassment and fear.
If you are in Scotland, you can report it online to Police Scotland.
Section 5 – Life in the UK
Your local neighbourhood
Cities and towns will have a local post-office, pharmacy, supermarkets and food shops that cater for a range of tastes.
Your local neighbourhood may have local parks and libraries, which are both free to use for everyone. There may also be an inexpensive leisure centre or gym where you can play sport or exercise. Libraries offer:
- free access to computers and wifi
- free access to materials to learn English, and access to physical and online resources in other languages
- free activities and reading resources for children and families
- trained workforce who can help with access to information and resources
- signposting to local education, health and wellbeing services
- signposting to other council services
- signposting to community organisations and resources
The currency in the UK is the Pound Sterling (£). £1 (one pound) = 100p (100 pennies, or pence).
The UK is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country committed to the values of freedom, liberty, the rule of law, and mutual respect, where people from all backgrounds live and work together. It has a population of around 66 million and its cities, in particular, are renowned for their diverse communities.
Places of worship
The largest religion in the UK is Christianity, with 33.2 million people (59% of the population). The second largest religion is Islam, with 2.7 million people (5% of the population). Around a quarter of the UK population practise no religion.
Many newcomers to the UK have found great support, comfort and new friends through their place of worship. Groups like the Inter Faith Network for the UK may help you to find a place of worship such as a local church, mosque or Buddhist temple.
The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London can provide information on Ukrainian Catholic churches across the UK.
The UK uses British spelling. There are many different regional accents across the UK. English is spoken in all regions of the UK. Welsh is also widely used and taught in Wales and there are other recognised regional languages such as Scots Gaelic, Scots, Irish/Gaelic and Cornish.
Weekends and public holidays
The UK weekend falls on Saturday and Sunday when most offices close. Banks and post offices are usually open Monday to Friday and on Saturday morning, but close on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. However, most shops and restaurants remain open on Saturday and for much of Sunday.
There are a number of public holidays throughout the year. Some apply across the entire UK and some are specific to England, Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland. Most businesses close, but shops, restaurants and leisure facilities usually remain open.
In the UK, local government is responsible for a range of vital services at a local level. Councils (also known as local authorities) are responsible for children’s and adult social care, schools, housing and planning and waste collection, as well as services such as licensing, business support, registrar services and pest control. In Northern Ireland, these functions will be delivered by the Northern Ireland Executive and District Councils.
Councillors represent and work with local people and partners, such as local businesses and other organisations, to agree and deliver on local priorities. The decisions are implemented by permanent council staff and council officers. You can also contact your councillors if you have any local issues you feel that they can raise on your behalf.
Further information on how to find your local council is available.
There is an extensive train and bus network across the UK, particularly in cities and urban areas.
For national trains or buses, tickets are usually much cheaper if bought in advance. You can find out more information on the national rail website.
You don’t need to show identification to travel within the UK unless you are travelling by plane.
You must have both a full driving licence and in date motor insurance to drive a vehicle on UK roads.
If you have a full driving licence issued in Ukraine, you may use this licence to drive small vehicles (such as motorcycles, cars, and vehicles up to 3500kgs or with up to 8 passenger seats) for up to a year in the UK. The licence must cover the vehicle being driven and must still be valid.
To continue to drive after this, you must obtain a provisional driving licence and pass a UK driving test before the 12 months ends.
Applicants for a provisional driving licence will need to complete a D1 application form available from Post Offices, or from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, and send it together with supporting documentation including proof of identity and proof of lawful residency. If the document(s) you provide is not in English, you will need to provide a translation that has been issued in the UK and signed by an official translator belonging to the Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation & Interpreting. A translator who is employed by a recognised Translation company or a member of the Association of Translation Companies.
If you took your driving test in a country other than Ukraine, different rules may apply.
Annex A: Applying for a School place in England
Those children of families we have welcomed to the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine are entitled to a school place.
If you live in England you are required to ensure that any of your children aged 5 but under 16 receive a full-time education.
Children will normally begin to attend school, full-time, in the September after their fourth birthday but you have the option of taking up a place part-time until the start of the term [footnote 1] immediately after the child turns 5. Alternatively you can keep your child at home or in nursery while they are 4 and apply for your child to start school from the start of the term following their 5th birthday – although your choice of school may be more limited.
It is likely, at least in your first year in England, that you will need to apply for ‘in-year’ admissions.
Applications outside the normal admissions timeframe – ‘in-year’ admissions.
The majority of applications from families moving to the UK from Ukraine, at least in their first year in England, are likely to be what are called ‘in-year’ admissions.
An in-year admission is:
- an application for reception[footnote 2] or year 7 after the start of the school year; or
- an application for any other year group at any time.
There should be an application form for in-year places on your local authority website.
Although some schools will have places available throughout the year, your choice of school is likely to be limited by the fact that some of the most popular schools will be full when you are applying.
You can obtain information on which schools have places still available from the local authority within which the schools are located.
You will need to ask the local authority whether you should apply directly to the school or to the local authority in which the school is located as this differs from area to area.
The co-ordinated admissions process.
For applications for schools in the normal admissions round, there is a process called the ‘co-ordination of admissions’ run by the local authority (‘LA’) where you live to allocate children school places. You can find your home LA.
This process will only apply in the following circumstances [footnote 3]:
if you are applying for a place in reception for a child who will be 4 or 5 the following September and you can apply for a school place by 15 January at the latest; or
if you are applying for a place in-year 7 for a child who will be 11 the following September and you can apply for a school place by 31 October at the latest.
You apply for places to your home local authority on the common application form[footnote 4] which it will publish on the ‘school admissions’ or ‘schools’ section of its website. You can express a preference for any schools but in general, the closer to your home a school is, the better chance you have of being offered a place there.
You will be offered your highest available preference by your home local authority. If you cannot be offered any of your preferences, you will be offered an alternative school which has vacancies.
The local authority will send out offers of places on the following dates:
- secondary – 1 March
- primary – 16 April
The co-ordinated process, with the local authority offering places in the above year groups, continues until 31 August for late applicants and those who cannot be offered a chosen school on the dates above.
How are places allocated?
Whether you apply for a place in-year or in the normal admissions round, each school has only a finite number of places available. If there are more applicants than places available, the school must apply its published admission arrangements in order to determine who is admitted. West Buckland primary and The Harefield Academy are a couple of examples of an admission policy. You will see the admission number and the criteria the schools use to prioritise children in these documents.
What admission authorities may request before offering a place
School admission authorities may ask for evidence of your address with your application. This is important because some schools operate catchment areas (prioritising children for admission who live close to the school) and distance from home to school is also often used as a first tie-break to determine who is offered a place.
Schools with a religious designation (e.g. Church of England, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim etc) may prioritise children for admission based on the family’s religion. Admission authorities for these schools may ask you to complete a supplementary application form to ascertain whether you are a practitioner or member of the relevant faith group.
Schools may ask for evidence of your child’s date of birth once a place is offered.
What to do if you do not get the school you want
You might not be offered a place at your chosen school.
If you are refused a place, you can ask the admission authority for the school to place your child on the school’s waiting list if it has a waiting list at that time. Your child can attend a school and remain on other schools’ waiting lists in case a vacancy arises.
Whenever you are refused a place, the admission authority for the school must offer an appeal. The appeal panel is independent of the school. Guidance for parents on the appeals process is set out. You can ask someone to represent you at the appeal or you can present your own case.
Appeals can be held virtually rather than in person.
You can appeal for a preferred school which has refused to admit your child even if your child is attending a school already.
Choosing a school
There are a number of resources which parents can use to help them choose a school.
You can search for schools near your home by searching on ‘Get information about schools’. You can filter your search by distance from your address and type of school.
Each local authority also publishes an admissions guide on its website listing all local schools[footnote 5].
You may find it useful to compare the performance of the schools you are considering by looking on the compare school performance website. If you want to look at this in more detail, all but the very newest schools will have an Ofsted inspection report, and you can search for these on the Ofsted website.
Applying for a sixth form place
Sixth form study is normally undertaken by young people aged 16 and over.
Such post-16 study will be offered by:
- some schools
- sixth form colleges; or
- colleges of further education
The National Careers Service website sets out which post-16 courses are offered by individual schools and colleges.
The ‘Get information about schools’ website will show you which local schools provide for young people aged 16-18. You should then search on their websites for how to apply and for any deadlines for applications. The deadlines set out above won’t apply to sixth forms.
Most places will be allocated before the start of the school year. The same will normally apply to sixth form colleges but local colleges of further education are likely to offer places throughout the year, depending on course availability.
Types of state funded school
There are a wide range of state-funded schools in England. What they all have in common is that they will deliver a broad and balanced education for your children, although the small number of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and Studio Schools will offer a more vocationally-oriented education, mainly for children aged 14 and over.
The 163 grammar schools will offer an education targeted towards the most academically able children. Your children will need to pass a selection test to be considered for admission. These are administered by the admission authority for the individual school, or the local authority. Not every area has a grammar school.
The most common form of secondary school (nearly 3,200) are comprehensive. They educate children of all abilities. Every one of the (just under 17,000) primary schools educate children of all abilities.
Schools with a religious designation can be primary, comprehensive or grammar schools.
Annex B: Quick guide to key services
The United Kingdom is home to a broad range of various opportunities, this list will help you link up to some of the key services to help you navigate and adjust to life in the United Kingdom.
You should note that these lists are not exhaustive, and there are more options available if you do not feel the lists below meet your needs.
National Health Service (NHS)
If you’re unwell it’s important to get medical help if you think you need it.
- For help from a GP – use your GP surgery’s website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery
- For urgent medical help – use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online
- For life-threatening emergencies – call 999 for an ambulance
If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go.
You can find your nearest A&E department.
For less severe cases, you can always use the NHS website which lists a range of medical issues with potential treatments.
To register with a General Practitioner (GP), you will need to identify a GP practice within your local area and register with them directly. You can do so by using NHS find a GP.
Healthcare in Scotland is provided by Scotland’s public health service, NHS Scotland consists of 14 regional NHS Boards who are responsible for the protection and improvement of their population’s health and for the delivery of frontline healthcare services. You can find more information on NHS Scotland
Your nearest A&E.
Your nearest services.
Reporting a crime
In any cases where you feel you are in any immediate danger; you should always call 999.
If you have witnessed or been victim of a crime, you should report it to the Police by calling 101 or if you live in England you can report it online.
If you would like to report a crime anonymously, you can do so to Crimestoppers by calling them on 0800 555 111 or by using their website.
You should always endeavour to do your own research and find a bank that meets your specific needs. The following list is a range of account providers operating in the UK. You may want to open an account with other providers that are not listed here. The list is in alphabetical order and is not intended to be ranked by order of preference.
- Barclays UK
- Bank of Ireland UK
- Bank of Scotland
- The Co-operative Bank
- Danske Bank UK
- First Direct
- HSBC UK
- Lloyds Banking Group
- Monzo (digital only bank)
- Nationwide Building Society
- NatWest Group
- Santander UK
- Ulster Bank
- Virgin Money
Finding a job
he United Kingdom has ample opportunities for jobs, and you are sure to find a job that suits your skillset. You can use government website Find a job in England, Scotland, Wales to find a job that matches what you may be looking for, but you should note that there are other options to find jobs available.
For jobs in Northern Ireland use: Job Apply NI
Early education and childcare
In the United Kingdom, you will have access to various support to help you with childcare.
- If you are residing in England, you can look for these services at: Find free early education
- If you are residing in Scotland, you can find out more information on early learning and childcare at Parent Club
- If you are residing in Wales, you are look for these services using: Family information services
- If you are residing in Northern Ireland, you are look for these services at: Childcare
Children and young people’s services
If you are concerned about your child’s health and wellbeing, and you think they may need some extra support, you can use the NHS website for further information and the support that is available.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice is an organisation which can provide you with confidential information to help you with any legal, debt, consumer, housing and many other problems in the United Kingdom.
This network of independent charities offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free for any problem
You can use these links and telephone numbers to access their services:
These agencies are independent from Citizens Advice, but they can still give you advice.
Community Advice Antrim & Newtownabbey
- Farranshane House, 1 Ballygore Road, Antrim
- Dunanney Centre, Rathmullan Drive, Newtownabbey
028 9590 6505
Community Advice Ards & North Down
- Hamilton Community Hub, 39A Hamilton Road
- Queen’s Hall, Sullivan Close, Holywood
- 75 West Street, Newtownards
0300 123 9287
Community Advice Armagh
- 9 McCrums Court
028 3752 4041
Community Advice Banbridge
- 77 Bridge Street
028 4062 2201
Advice Space (Belfast)
- Merrion Business Centre, 58 Howard Street
- The Arches Centre, Holywood Road
- 40-44 Duncairn Gardens
- Unit 2 The Spectrum Centre, Shankill Road
- 208 Andersonstown Road
- 77a Springfield Road
0300 123 3233
Community Advice Causeway
- 1-5 Brook Street, Coleraine
028 7034 4817
Community Advice Craigavon
- Mount Zion House, Edward Street, Lurgan
- Portadown Health & Care Centre, Tavanagh Avenue
028 3836 1181
Community Advice Fermanagh
- Fermanagh House, Broadmeadow Place, Enniskillen
028 6632 4334
Community Advice Lisburn & Castlereagh
- Bridge Community Centre, 50 Railway Street, Lisburn
028 9266 2251
Mid & East Antrim Community Advice Services
- 4 Wellington Court, Ballymena
- Unit 1, 11 Antrim Street, Carrickfergus
- 2 Station Road, The Market Yard, Larne
028 9600 1333
Community Advice Newry Mourne & Down
- Ballymote Centre, 40 Killough Road, Downpatrick
- Ballybot House, 28 Cornmarket, Newry
0300 3030 306
Advice North West
- Embassy Court, 3 Strand Road, Derry
- Spencer House, 14-21 Spencer Road, Derry
- 17 Dock Street, Strabane
0300 303 3650
028 7136 2444
028 7134 2536
028 7138 2665
Advice Northern Ireland
Forestview, Purdy’s Lane, Newtownbreda, Belfast, BT8 7AR
0800 915 4604
Terms: the school year is normally divided into 3. Although dates may vary from area to area, Autumn Term will begin after 31 August, Spring Term after 31 December and Summer Term after 31 March. Each term normally includes a short half-term break with a longer break between terms. The longest break is normally about 6 weeks between the end of Summer Term and the start of the next school year. ↩
Reception is normally for children who are already aged 4 at the start of the school year (September) and year 7 is normally for children who are already 11 at the start of the school year. ↩
If you cannot apply by these dates but want a reception or year 7 place for the following September, you should speak to the local authority about how you should apply, but please do so at the earliest opportunity. ↩
All parents seeking a place during the co-ordinated admissions process must fill in this form. ↩
These are two examples of local authority admissions websites https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/schools-and-education/schools-and-colleges/school-admissions/ and https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Education/Schools/School-admissions-places-appeals-1.aspx ↩