UK firms welcome Ukranian refugees with offer of 10,000 jobs
British businesses including Marks & Spencer are calling on government to welcome Ukranian refugees fleeing conflict in Russia.
A coalition of 40 businesses being led by Emma Sinclair has told the government it has 10,000 jobs available for Ukranian refugees. The group, which includes M&S in addition to recruitment companies Robert Walters and FDM, is putting pressure on the government over its response to displaced Ukranians.
“Dignity and independence are what will help improve lives when people have been displaced,” Sinclair, an entrepreneur, told City A.M..
“The goal is being able to hand over an extremely large group of firms who will recruit at scale to the government,” Sinclair added, noting that she plans to meet the minister for refugees Robert Harrington tomorrow.
The UK government has handed out just 1,305 visas to Ukranians since the Russian invasion began, restricting entry to individuals with family members who already have settled status in Britain. Today, the government announced a new policy to provide Brits who provide housing to refugees with a £350 ‘thank you’ payment each month.
“We are standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians which is why we’ve made it easier for those with valid Ukrainian passports to come here. This is alongside changes to visas to ensure Ukrainians in the UK can stay here,” a government spokesperson said.
The business coalition is stepping in to help refugees secure visas, find accommodation and even take language training.
“We are absolutely committed to supporting Ukrainian refugees, through both the humanitarian response underway with our charity partners and with jobs,” a spokesperson for M&S told City A.M., adding that the company is in discussion with the Home Office about the details of the scheme.
A spokesperson for UK high street staple Morrisons also confirmed to City A.M. that it contacted the Home Office just last week to offer jobs for Ukranians.
“Morrisons will welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms,” a spokesperson told City A.M.. “We contacted the Home Office last week to offer any assistance we could through providing employment for Ukrainian refugees and we believe we could find good roles for many hundreds of men and women.”
A host of companies have pulled out of Russia which is facing economic sanctions from governments across Europe and the US. BP sold its stake in Russian oil company Rosneft shortly after the invasion began while rival Shell has also followed suit and pulled out of the country.
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