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Ukraine Support

With more dreadful news coming out of Ukraine every day, everyone at the BCC hopes that world leaders can work together to secure an end to the violence and displacement of people. Our thoughts are with all those affected in Ukraine and across our Global Network.

The situation is deeply worrying for many businesses in the region as well as here in the UK. International leaders must focus on seeking an end to the invasion and a return to peace as soon as humanly possible.

We will continue to work closely with the UK government to ensure businesses have as much advice, information and support as possible to make decisions, adapt to these circumstances and navigate the challenging times ahead.

The information below will be amended as and when we receive updated guidance.

*Last updated 1 June 2022*

Trade support

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The UK government has announced that tariffs on imports of goods from Ukraine will be lowered to zero. The EU also confirmed this week zero-tariff, zero-quota access to Ukrainian imports for one year.

Further series of sanctions announced

The UK government announced a further series of sanctions against Russia and Belarus on 6 April, designed to further restrict sources of finance or investment to fund the war in Ukraine. This was joined by proposals by the UK’s Trade Remedies Authority to alter tariff rate quotas on steel imports to reflect the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian iron and steel from imports to the UK.

Key additional measures affecting UK businesses from April 2022:

  • Ending imports of Russian and Belarusian iron and steel products.
  • Ban on all new outward financial investment to Russia.
  • Preventing exports of oil refining equipment and catalysts from the UK to Russia.
  • New restrictions on Russia sourcing quantum and other advanced technologies.
  • Asset freezes against Sherbank and Credit Bank of Moscow.
  • Ceasing imports of Russian gas as soon as possible after end of 2022.
  • Trade Remedies Authority consulting on amendment of tariff rate quotas on steel imports to the UK to provide additional import volumes to other countries under the TRQs to make up the imports gap.

On exports, further restrictions on exporting luxury goods to Russia are being introduced. Covering luxury cars, jewellery and works of art. This will come into force "shortly".

On imports, from 25 March 2022 additional tariffs of 35% are being levied on a wide range of Russian and Belarusian goods, including vodka, cement, fertilisers, tyres, iron and steel and also commodities such as copper, wood, aluminium, silver and lead. These additional tariffs apply on CDS and CHIEF. Click here to see the full list of products subject to the additional tariffs.

Q&A on trade with Ukraine, Russia and Belarus

The BCC team has put together a Q&A on trade with Ukraine, Russia and Belarus which may be useful for Chambers and members. This will be updated as required to reflect any new guidance.

ChamberCustoms

ChamberCustoms is offering free export declarations for groups collecting and transporting humanitarian aid out of the UK. See further information here.

A customs easement is now in place making it easier to move aid and donations to help the people of Ukraine.

Export Support Service

For advice contact the free-to-use Export Support Service (ESS) or ESS helpline 0300 303 8955 which can be used by individuals, businesses or charities.

Visa support

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The priority for the Home Office is to support Ukrainian nationals and their family members. They are working at pace to process visa applications as quickly as possible.

The UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals page on GOV.UK is kept up to date with all the support and information for Ukrainian nationals and their family members. Please keep checking this page for up to date information.

The Ukraine Family Scheme allows family members of British nationals, UK settled persons and certain others to come to or stay in the UK. From 15 March, holders of a valid Ukrainian international passport (or expired Ukrainian international passport with an official extension stamp endorsed by the Ukrainian government - including embassies and consulates) who haven't made an online application for Ukraine Family Scheme yet, will need to make an application but will not need to attend the visa application centre (VAC) to submit their biometrics provided they upload a copy of their valid Ukraine international passport (photograph page) on the TLS document upload app (or VFS document upload app if applying in location outside of Europe or Africa). If they can do this, they will be sent a permission letter to travel to the UK and biometrics will be taken once in the UK.

A Ukrainian Family Scheme factsheet is available on GOV.UK in English and Ukrainian.

The Home Office Employers Guide to Right to Work Checkshas an annex on Ukraine to support employers seeking guidance on what documentation Ukrainian nationals will need to prove their right to work.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme allows individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety including those with no family ties. Phase one of the scheme will allow sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.

For Ukrainian nationals in the UK with an existing visa, they are able to extend their stay by extending their visa or switching to another immigration route, where eligible, even if their visa does not normally allow them to do so.

A factsheet is available with information on the immigration routes available or Ukrainian nationals in the UK, British nationals and their family members.

There is a cross government GOV.UK Russian invasion of Ukraine: UK government response page which provides all the announcements and featured articles.

Keep checking the UK visa support for Ukrainian Nationals page for updated information.


Temporary suspension of priority and super priority services in some out of country routes

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is currently prioritising applications made under the Ukraine Family Scheme in response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the invasion of Ukraine.

As a result, UKVI have temporarily suspended priority and super priority services for new study, work, and family applications. Customers with standard applications in study, work, and family routes may experience some delays in the processing of their application. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

This message has been updated on the Visa decision waiting times GOV.UK page. Customers will be contacted by visa application centre (VAC) staff when their passport is ready for collection and are reminded not to attend the VAC until they have been invited to do so.


In-country customers applying for replacement biometric resident permits (BRP) and replacement biometric residence cards (BRC)

To assist the Ukrainian crisis, UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) is working hard to increase appointment capacity.

To support our customers and address demand for appointments, UKVCAS will invite some customers who have been identified by UKVI as having reusable biometrics to apply via the IDV app. If you are applying for a replacement BRP or BRC card, some applications related to nationality or indefinite leave to remain as a partner or parent, you will not be able to book an appointment immediately on registering with UKVCAS. Instead you will be checked for reusable biometrics and then contacted to let you know if you are able to use the app or if you should proceed in booking an appointment.

UKVI and UKVCAS have produced guidance for customers using the IDV App, including a frequently asked questions document and a 'How to’ animated video.

Travel advice

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New FCDO advice published on 8 April

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all travel to the whole of Russia due to the lack of available flight options to return to the UK, and the increased volatility in the Russian economy.

If your presence in Russia is not essential, we strongly advise that you consider leaving by remaining commercial routes.

Humanitarian support

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Homes for Ukraine - sponsorship of Ukrainian refugees

Key elements of the scheme:

  • Individuals, charities and businesses can sponsor named refugees who fill out visa applications to stay in accommodation in the UK provided by the sponsor.
  • Expectation is that accommodation is provided for at least 6 months.
  • Applies to all persons who were Ukrainian nationals or immediate family members of Ukrainian nationals and were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022.
  • Individuals may receive £350 per month for providing the accommodation to sponsored persons.
  • Devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales to seek to become super-sponsors and provide housing and other services themselves to thousands of refugees.
  • Sponsored persons will have full access to benefits, healthcare, employment support, education, English language tuition and to work in the UK labour market.
  • Residency rights and rights to work last for up to 3 years.
  • Visa applications under the scheme go live on Friday 18 March.

Further information for businesses and a link to register as sponsors is available here.

ENGLAND: Guidance from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to councils in England on the operation of the Homes for Ukraine scheme available here.

WALES: Click here to see the announcement from the Welsh Government on acting as a super sponsor for people coming to Wales under the HFU scheme. See guidance for councils in Wales here.

NORTHERN IRELAND: Click here to read a Q&A from the Northern Ireland Executive.

SCOTLAND: See guidance here from the Scottish Government to Scottish councils on the scheme and the Scottish Government's role.

Export Support Service

For advice about transporting humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees, contact the free-to-use Export Support Service (ESS) or ESS helpline 0300 303 8955 which can be used by individuals, businesses or charities.

Useful links below:

Support for employees and workers

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Offer work to people who have come to the UK from Ukraine

Click here for guidance on how employers will be able to offer work to Ukrainian nationals coming to the UK.

Immigration information for Ukrainians in the UK, British nationals and their family members - available here.

The BCC has been working hard to assess how the war in Ukraine will impact Chambers and their member businesses in the coming weeks and months. As part of this work, we asked London Chamber member, Fragomen – a law firm specialising in immigration, to consider how employers can support staff and their families. Click here to access their article.

Additional resources from Fragomen:

  • Exiting Ukraine and immigration considerations for the UK - available here.
  • Land Border Crossing Requirements for Ukrainians - available here.


Cyber Security support

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Following Russia’s further violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the National Cyber Security Centre has called on organisations in the UK to bolster their online defences.

The NCSC has urged organisations to follow its guidance on steps to take when the cyber threat is heightened.

While the NCSC is not aware of any current specific threats to UK organisations in relation to events in and around Ukraine, there has been an historical pattern of cyber attacks on Ukraine with international consequences.

The guidance encourages organisations to follow actionable steps that reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack. Businesses can also follow the NCSC’s LinkedIn and Twitter for further updates. More information on cyber security can be found below:

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