This page offers practical advice for Ukrainian people in the UK seeking accommodation and work, and details of organisations that provide support.
This page contains the following information. You can click on one of the options to skip through the page.
For further advice about life in the UK, including useful information about legal advice, health support, financial advice and other topics, please visit this webpage.
Cover photo – Dmytro Malenko
Many people from Ukraine seek sanctuary and safety in the UK. While many Ukrainians have reported positive experiences on arrival in the UK, it is always best to be prepared if things do not work out.
The results of our research show that many Ukrainians fear being homeless in a foreign country and being exploited in the workplace. Based on their feedback, we developed practical information for Ukrainians who have been forced to leave their homes because of the war.
By understanding how to find housing and work safely, you will be able to protect yourself and your family.
The “Homes for Ukraine” program is a UK government program that provides shelter for people from Ukraine for at least six months. Read more about the details of the sponsorship program here.
- Sponsor or sponsors refers to an individual, group or organisation who has been approved to accommodate an individual or household from Ukraine under the “Homes for Ukraine” sponsorship scheme.
- Guest or guests refers to an individual or household previously resident in Ukraine, prior to 1 January 2022, who have secured a visa under the “Homes for Ukraine” scheme, which enables them to be housed by a sponsor.
If you or someone you know is considering seeking santuary in the UK, please read the advice below.
Click on the subjects to learn more.
Seeking Sanctuary in the UK
- Contact official organizations that help with finding sponsors.
- If you found a sponsor in social networks, be sure to check their profile and presence online.
- Make several video calls before your arrival, add your family and friends in the conversation.
- Ask the potential future hosts questions about their work, life views and their reason for participating in the program. The more you communicate, the less the risk of becoming a victim of scammers or exploiters.
- Find out your future residential address and check it on Google Maps.
- Share the new address with family and friends.
Here is a list of voluntary and community sector organisations running schemes which provide support for and help match people coming from Ukraine with sponsors in the UK, as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
A sponsor is a person who has voluntarily agreed to host you in their home for a period of 6-12 months. It is important that all participants in this program feel comfortable and safe at all times. To avoid future misunderstandings, it is worth discussing important details before you arrive.
- Get to know the sponsor better – ask about their work.
- Ask them questions about their lives for example:
- Ask how long you can stay in their home and ask what support they can offer you.
- Ask about all the rules in the house.
- Be open and honest with future hosts, because the key to a strong relationship is honesty and trust.
If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts.
You can contact support organisations in Ukraine for help and advice.
The project of Voluntary Registration of Ukrainian Citizens Traveling Abroad (“FRIEND”) is an effective tool for prevention, if necessary, search and assistance for Ukrainian citizens in case of emergency events abroad. You can register here.
Caritas Ukraine’s social service programmes have established rehabilitation centres for individuals struggling with substance abuse, they provide reintegration assistance for Ukrainian migrants, render direct assistance and seminars to prevent human trafficking. Telephone: +38 067 374 91 90 Email: [email protected]
National Migrant Advice and Counter-Trafficking Hotline – 527.
You can get help with housing and benefits if you have:
- refugee status
- humanitarian protection
- leave to remain with ‘recourse to public funds’ a visa under the Ukraine family, Ukraine sponsorship or Ukraine extension schemes.
You can receive support in the following ways:
• receive help with housing if you are experiencing homelessness
• claim benefits to pay for bills and food
• apply for housing cost support via housing benefit from the council when you have a ‘Rental Liability’ after leaving the Homes for Ukrainian Scheme.
Click on the subjects below to find out more.
You have the right to stay somewhere that:
- be kept clean and in a reasonable state;
- have adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
- have access to drinking water;
- have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate;
- have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
- have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
- be almost entirely free of damp or mould;
- have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
- be easy and safe to move around in;
You should not be asked to:
- do anything that makes you feel unsafe;
- for favours, money or anything in return for free accommodation;
Most of the people who open their homes provide great support to Ukrainians. But, unfortunately, sometimes there are unpleasant situations that you need to be prepared for.
You should seek urgent help if your host:
If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, please seek support immediately. There are organisations that can help you.
- Discuss in advance with the sponsor the end date of your stay in the house.
- Try asking a sponsor for support in finding rental housing.
- Ask at the local Job Centre about financial assistance with housing rent.
- Try to find employment to provide yourself financially. Please read our tips about how to find work safely.
If your sponsor asks you to leave your home, contact your local council and ask for assistance.
Find your local council here.
You can also find a new host
You have a choice about who your new host is. You may already know someone who could host you, for example, through:
- your local faith group
- other community groups
- your work
Once you have found a new host for yourself, you should contact your local council so they can make the necessary checks to approve the arrangement. This should happen before you move in with your host.
If you are already receiving Universal Credit or other benefits, you should inform the Department for Work and Pensions of any change to your address to ensure you continue to receive your correct benefit entitlement.
Read more information here
Finding a home
Most landlords and letting agents now advertise online through one of the major websites:
The adverts should include important information about the tenancy such as
- How much rent will be charged
- Whether a deposit is required
- The council tax band for the property
- How many rooms there are
- How long the tenancy will last for
- The energy efficiency rating (EPC) of the property
To prove your right to rent in England you need one of this documents:
- your biometric residence permit
- your biometric residence card
- your passport or national identity card
Ukrainians who have these documents can do it online.
If you do not have any of these documents, check how to prove your right to rent.
You do not need to prove your right to rent in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
More information about renting private accommodation click here.
The definition of homelessness means not having a home.
You are homeless if you have nowhere to stay and are living on the streets. But it’s important to know you can be homeless even if you have a roof over your head. You can be homeless if you do not have rights or permission to stay where you are, or you live in unsuitable housing.
You count as homeless if you are:
- staying with friends or family
- staying in a hostel, night shelter or B&B
- squatting (because you have no legal right to stay)
- at risk of domestic abuse
- experiencing violence in your home
- living in poor conditions that affect your health
- separated from your family because you do not have a place to live together
You can apply for support from Homelessness organisations if you are experiencing the following:
- You have nowhere to stay.
- You get an eviction notice.
- You are asked to leave by friends, family members, hosts or sponsors.
- You get refugee status and have to leave asylum support or NASS accommodation
- The council must help if you will be homeless in the next 8 weeks.
You can apply in person, over the phone or online. Contact your local council if you’re homeless or you think you may soon become homeless.
You can find your local council here.
You can find details about homeless support organisations on this page. Click here to jump to the relevent section.
Click on the subjects below to find out more.
Whether you are looking for work to provide for your family or to obtain accommodation, it is important to know how to find employment safely.
If you have left Ukraine, here are 4 things you should do to keep yourself safe:
- Tell people where you are working. Note down the address and share it with your friends and family. You can also send them a photo of the address and share your location on your phone.
- Save emergency numbers on your mobile phone and always keep it with you. Make note of support organisations that can help you.
- Always keep your ID, travel, and personal documents safe. Do not let your employer hold on to them.
- Employment contracts can be there to protect you. The lack of a contract poses a risk to your working rights, such as being paid for your work.
A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration that employers can legally pay their employees.
The National Living Wage (NLW) was rise to £10.42 from April 2023.
Some job ads posted online might not be legitimate. You should be suspicious of any recruitment process which has any of the following characteristics:
- The employer demands secrecy.
- Recruiters pressure you, for example demanding personal information too early in the hiring process.
- You are not told the salary for the role at any stage in the hiring process.
- The organisation has minimal online presence.
- You are asked to pay a fee to secure the job.
- The trial period is indefinite.
- You are told that an employment contract is not required.
- The recruiter does not check your right to work.
You can report suspicious job ads via the STOP APP
Once you are employed
You should not have to experience any of the following at work:
- Not been paid for your work
- Your wages being withheld
- Being denied breaks and/or annual leave
- Restricted movement
- Restricted or no access to your earnings
- Being subject to intimidation, coercion, and/or physical or emotional abuse
- No access to your personal documents
- Excessive working hours
If you have experienced any of the above, know this should not be tolerated and there are organisations that can help you.
You can report such incidents within the STOP APP. If possible, document all violations at work in the form of photo/video materials. If anyone is in immediate danger, or a crime is being or has been committed, call the emergency services.
Make sure to make a note of what happened, including details of:
- What the incident was
- When it happened
- Where it happened
- Who was involved + witnesses
This information will be important should you decide to seek help.
Click on the links for further information about your employment rights in the UK.
Watch this video to learn more about your rights when working in the UK.
We work with Breaking Barriers, a UK-based organisation that can provide employment support, job opportunities, education classes and training in Manchester, London and Birmingham. You can read more here: https://breaking-barriers.co.uk/
You can self-refer to Breaking Barriers or we can also refer you on your behalf. You may prefer to refer yourself to them and if so you can do so via this referral form. Please note they only support individuals with the right to work, and the full list of eligibility is on the link.
We would love to help you if you would like us to refer you to them or if you have any questions you can get in touch with us at [email protected] or message us on social media. Please note that if you would like our support there is no charge and you do not have to do anything in return for our help.
You contact these organisations for free confidential help and advice.
Please mention STOP THE TRAFFIK if you make contact with any of the organisations listed below.
If you (or someone else) are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police or an ambulance.
Opora supports Ukrainians fleeing the war in rebuilding their lives sustainably in the United Kingdom. The Opora platform offers a support hub for Ukrainians in the UK, offering direct assistance to Ukrainian arrivals from our growing network of partners, from travel, baby supplies and tailored employment opportunities and business grants for long-term sustainable support.
The Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline
The Modern Slavery and Exploitation helpline provides information, advice, and guidance about any modern slavery issue relating to potential victims, businesses, and the public in the whole of the UK. It is free, confidential, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and available in 200 languages.
National Domestic Abuse helpline
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Abuse hotline free of charge and in confidence, 24-hours a day. You can also make contact online, using live chat which is available Monday – Friday, 3pm – 10pm https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/en/Online-chat
The Ukrainian Support Helpline provides holistic support service individuals and families fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Support provided includes: Therapy with a qualified psychotherapist – delivered via the phone or online, with access to interpreters, Advice on a range of issues e.g., housing, accessing key health services, education, employment and more via trained helpline support workers and ractical support - access to digital devices to ensure families stay connected to loved ones during this worrying time, as well as stimulating toys for children, vital baby items and more (subject to demand). All services include access to interpreters in Ukrainian and Russian. The Helpline is open Monday – Friday 10.00am-8.00pm and Saturday 10.00am-3.00pm.
Shelter helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness through free advice, support and legal services. They also detail housing-related information on their website, offering practical advice on homelessness, housing benefit, council housing, private renting and much more.
Shelter solicitors provide free legal advice and attend court to help people who’ve lost their homes or are facing eviction.
They run a free emergency helplines across England, Wales and Scotland to answer calls from anyone struggling with a housing issue or homelessness. You can find details of Shelter in the nations of the UK below.
If you are in Northern Ireland, Housing Rights Northern Ireland can offer help and advice. You can call 028 9024 5640 to speak to a housing adviser. The helpline is open between 09:30 and 16:30 Monday to Friday and closes on public holidays.
Shelter England's free emergency helpline opening times are: Monday to Friday, 8am - 8pm and weekends and bank holidays, 9am - 5pm. Call the helpline if you: are homeless, have nowhere to stay tonight, are worried about losing your home in the next two months, are at risk of harm or abuse.
Shelter Scotland hotline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and closed during bank holidays. If English is not your first language, please tell the adviser at the beginning of the call. Calls are free from UK landlines and main mobile networks.
The STOP APP enables anybody who knows, has seen or even heard a situation that they believe to be human trafficking, to talk about it in a safe and secure space. You can report the incident anonymously and securely through the STOP APP. There will be no record of the report submitted on your phone. The app is available in Ukrainian language.
- Have you seen a suspicious job advert online?
- Has someone offered you work that seemed suspicious?
- Are you or someone you know being forced to work, or being exploited?
Let us know. You can report your suspicions or observations by downloading our STOP APP. Make sure you are in safe place away from the suspected incident when making the report.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a human trafficking prevention organisation. This app collects individuals’ stories of global human trafficking to disrupt and prevent this crime. We are not a rescue organisation and this app is not monitored 24/7 but will be checked on the next working day. If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime has been committed please contact trusted authorities.
Information about human trafficking
Human trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people, either through deception, coercion, or force for the purpose of exploitation. Traffickers often profit financially from exploiting people. People on the move from a conflict can be vulnerable.
There are many ways people might be lured and trapped into exploitation, including:
Refugees are often offered help with travel and accommodation in exchange for payment later. Do not agree unless you know all the details. This is a method traffickers use to control and exploit people and an example of debt bondage.
It is very important that whatever choice you make, you ensure you put your safety as a top priority.
A trafficker could be anybody. They can be any age, gender or nationality.
Most people want to help refugees, but there may be some who shouldn’t be trusted.
Traffickers often force people into doing things they don’t want to do. They will pressure and force people to stay in the situation using threats and intimidation.
Control methods include:
If you have found yourself in a situation you want to escape, there are organisations that can help you.