After you arrive in the UK

Although this resource focuses on what will happen once you arrive in the UK and the different services you’ll interact with, much of this information will be useful to know before you arrive. Whether you are waiting to come to the UK or have just arrived, read through the following information to get an idea of how to build a network of support, your rights and responsibilities and what to do if you need help after arrival.  

Finding Local, Community-Led Support

Once you’ve arrived in your sponsor’s home, your sponsor will do the best they can to make sure you feel comfortable. Keep in mind that sponsors may not be able to help you with everything and may only have limited capacity to support you outside of the house. The local authority in your area will be responsible for helping you sign up for essential services when you arrive, but some local authorities are more hands-on than others – you may find that the local authority in your area is very helpful, or you may not have much contact with them. However, there are plenty of organisations, community-led support groups and networks across the UK that can help you.  

You can start to research this before you arrive and contact some organisations that may be able to provide you with support. The best way to do this, is to use Google search and type questions like ‘Ukrainian support in ‘name of town/village)’. You can also use your county name, which you can find by typing in your town/village and then ‘county’. Often, their information will be translated into Ukrainian or Russian, but this is not always the case.  

You can also ask your sponsor if they know of any local groups that could support you in the area. There could be WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups or a small community-led group working around the area which can support you with anything from accessing English classes, opening a bank account, finding a job to enrolling your children in school.  

Understanding your rights and responsibilities

It’s important that you know your rights and responsibilities when you arrive in the UK, including workers’ rights, healthcare rights and property rights.

Immigration Status

When you apply for your visa, you’ll automatically be given six months leave-to-remain status in the UK. Leave-to-remain is not refugee status, but a legal status which allows you to access benefits and your right to live and work in the UK for that period. On receiving your visa approval, you will have 90 days to arrive in the UK. We advise you to let your hosts in the UK know when you are planning to arrive in the UK.  

If you were not required to have a biometrics appointment as part of your visa application process before arrival in the UK, you will have been given six months “leave to enter” the UK. Once you arrive in the UK, you will be able to extend your initial six permission to enter status given to you with your visa to three years “leave to remain”. You can apply for the leave extension and your biometric residence permit here.  

Rights to Benefits

When you arrive in the UK, you will be able to apply for Universal Credit and other benefits. Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with living costs.  

Depending on your circumstances, you may also be eligible for:  

  • Housing benefit 
  • Pension credit 
  • Personal independence payment (PIP) 
  • Child disability living allowance 
  • Carers allowance 
  • Attendance allowance

If you are a pensioner, which in the UK is the age of 66, you will receive pension credit and housing benefits.  

You will need a bank account in the UK in order to receive benefits. You can find more information about opening a UK bank account here

Workers’ Rights

With your leave-to-remain status, you can work as soon as you arrive in the UK. Your employer may ask you for information regarding your address, bank account or benefits status.  

With your right to work, you will be covered by UK law on workers’ rights. Please read the Citizen’s Advice information on what your rights are and what to do if your rights are being neglected. 

Right to Healthcare

The UK NHS healthcare system is free. When you arrive in the UK, you will need to register at your local general practitioner, referred to as a GP. You can read guides provided by the  Red Cross in Ukrainian, Russian or English, or ask your sponsor if they can support you to register. You will also need to register at your local dentist. Keep in mind many dentists will only register private patients and there are often long waiting lists for NHS/low cost dental care.  

Your GP and hospitals will have access to interpreting services for patients who cannot speak English, however, dentists will most likely not provide interpretation.

Property Rights

You will be hosted by your sponsor for a minimum of six months. There is the possibility that your sponsor this will choose to extend your stay for another six months, but this cannot be guaranteed. We encourage you to start finding options for your housing  as soon as you feel able but no more than four to five months of living with your sponsor, unless you’ve made an agreement to stay with them for longer than six months.   

You will have the right to rent a property or your own room anywhere in the UK as soon as you arrive. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unless you have proof of financial stability, it can be difficult to make a contract on a property. 

If things go wrong

Whilst it’s the priority of both the government and our matching service to ensure as many sponsor/guest relationships are as sustainable and comfortable, in a minority of cases this will not be possible. You may be a guest in a home which you do not feel safe in, or your relationship with your host has broken down – if this happens, do get in touch with your contact at your local authority right away or call 999 in emergency situations.

In urgent cases, where you need to leave your sponsor’s home immediately, your local authority may place you in temporary accommodation, like a hotel, until they can help you find a longer-term solution. They may also find another sponsor for you to stay with in your area, which is what we call a re-match.

To be re-matched, you will need to go through your local authority, not through Reset.

Useful Support Links

There are also many well-established organisations and charities in the UK who offer specialist support to people from Ukraine arriving in the UK. It’s good to keep these in mind in case you need their support now, or in the future.  

Barnardo’s UK  

Offering support with:  

  • 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 our trained helpline support workers  
  •  Practical 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) 

Settled  

Offering support with: 

  • Reuniting family members in the UK under the Ukrainians Family Scheme 
  • ‘Homes for Ukrainians’ applications and complications 
  • The Ukraine Extension Scheme from the 03.05.2022 
  • Our level 3 immigration advisers will be happy to assist with complex issues

 

Sane Ukraine  

Offering daily, online trauma and resilience support  

Thrive LDN 

Offering wellness and mental health support  

Refugee Employment Network  

Support with job vacancies across the UK, as well as training for people with a refugee background.