Let us know you've arrived
Ask your sponsor to let Hertfordshire County Council know you have arrived. They should email H4Ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk and tell us:
- your full name(s) and dates of birth
- the date that your visas were issued
- the date that you arrived at their home.
When we are notified, we’ll make a £200 payment (per person) via email. These payments will be in the form of Post Office vouchers which don't require a bank account to use. You can visit any Post Office branch to scan the code and receive the cash payment – Find a Post Office.
Next, you need to:
- apply for a biometric residence permit
- Find a doctor
- Contact us about school places if you have a child with you.
Week one guidance for Ukrainians arriving in the UK (GOV.UK)
Find your nearest Jobcentre Plus
- They offer courses for people looking for work. That includes how to write a CV and preparing for interviews.
- They have details of local employers who have job vacancies and support refugee schemes.
- People claiming Universal Credit can get up to 85% off their childcare costs.
- Assistance with travel costs is available for people who do find employment. Temporary bus passes and cheaper travel cards may also be available.
- If you need to prove your qualifications, you could get a Statement of Comparability, even if the original documentation is not available.
Speak to a Jobcentre Plus adviser for more information.
Find a job
Find full or part-time jobs
You can use your Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of your immigration status in the UK, including your right to work.
You can also prove your right to work at www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work.
If an employer requires a DBS check, you can get a Criminal Record Certificate from Ukraine – Criminal Record Certificate from Ukraine
The Refugee Council can also help you get a job – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07931308165.
Setting up your own business
The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications can advise you on working as a professional or setting up your own business.
Calculating take home pay
Work out how much salary you take home and how much tax and National Insurance you pay – www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk.
You may be eligible to claim certain benefits. More about claiming benefits
Translation services are available to help with phone applications – call 0800 328 5644.
When you apply for a school place, ensure that you note on the application that the child is an arrival from Ukraine and what scheme they are under.
You will need to provide:
- proof of the child’s UK address (an email from your sponsor confirming that the child is living at their address, including full names and address)
- a copy of the parent and child's entry documentation (copy of visa and Ukraine passport).
Once we receive your application and documents, your child will be allocated a school place within 15-20 school days (depending on availability of places in the area).
Whilst we are processing your application, you will not receive any updates from us unless there are any queries or issues to discuss. The child should start at the school within 10 school days of being offered the place.
Make sure that where any child has health or special needs that this is indicated on the application. If they had a Ukrainian equivalent of an education, health and care plan, give details of this we will need to ensure our Special Educational Needs team can support children who need specialist placements.
Schools have been asked to place children in a year group where their abilities best fit rather than based on age. This is a decision that the school will be best placed to make.
Free school meals
We expect that most of our Ukrainian guest children will be entitled to free school meals when they first arrive in Hertfordshire. This means they will be given a lunchtime meal every day they attend school. This may change if their parent’s work status changes.
Most schools in the UK have a uniform policy where children must where a specific school uniform when they're at school. Once you have your school place, your school will provide you with further details. Many school uniform items can be bought quite affordably in supermarkets, but certain items e.g. secondary school blazers are more expensive.
Education for 16-18 year olds
If your child is 16 or over, they will need to find a sixth form or college. Sixth forms are part of secondary schools for 16-18 year olds. Contact schools direct
Childcare for younger children
Most children start full-time school the September following their 4th birthday. The government welcome pack explains the different type of childcare options available for children who are too young to attend school. Depending on your circumstances and the age of your child you may be entitled to some free childcare.
Hertfordshire childcare finder
If your child is under 2,there is no government scheme to assist with the cost of childcare for children under two. However, the Family Centre Service offers support, fun play sessions and a chance to meet new people.
If your child is 2, you may be eligible for 15 hours of free childcare each week (during term-time). This depends upon your circumstances. Check whether you are eligible online
If your child is 3 or 4, you are entitled to at least 15 hours of free childcare each week (during term-time). There's no application, code or voucher required. Just find a childcare provider and contact them directly about accessing some free childcare with them.
Hertfordshire adult learning
Step2Skills adult learning
Step2Skills aim to deliver English languages classes where there is a demand, so if you can't find any courses available on their website, email email@example.com.
You can also find free online English courses at ESOL Courses - Free English Lessons Online.
Moving on from current hosting arrangements
Many Ukrainian guests have now been living in Hertfordshire for 6 months and will be looking to the future and their longer-term housing arrangements. The main options for accommodation beyond the 6 months are:
- continue with your original host sponsor
- find a new host sponsor
- secure your own private rented accommodation.
There's currently a shortage of affordable housing in Hertfordshire. Most guests will find it difficult to find affordable private rented accommodation where you're currently settled.
The reality is that living with a host is likely to be the best, most affordable option.
Some current sponsorship arrangements may need to come to an end for a variety of reasons, and new accommodation will need to be found.
What to do if your sponsorship is coming to an end
If you think that your current sponsorship arrangement may come to an end soon, it's important to start planning, reviewing your options and organising your finances.
A planned and managed move to new accommodation will always be the best option for you but, if you believe that your current hosting arrangement might end before you find alternative accommodation, email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Your living arrangements 4 to 6 months after moving to the UK (GOV.UK)
How to find a new sponsor
Some Ukrainian guests will choose to look for a new host sponsor and this process is referred to as ‘re-matching’.
In the first instance, guests are encouraged to seek new hosts themselves (‘community re-matching’) and there are organisations, such as Homes for Ukraine that can help with this.
Email email@example.com if this happens.
Any new hosts must be registered on the government Homes for Ukraine Scheme website and go through the process of completing the required checks undertaken by local authorities.
Although this may take a bit of time, if a guest decides to proceed with a host who has not undergone these checks, they would be removed from the scheme and they cannot re-enter it.
If the guest is out of the scheme, the host would not be entitled to claim the £350 monthly thank you payment or any further support associated with the scheme. If the guest is still in the scheme, the £350 monthly payments will continue until the end of the 12 months after the guest had first arrived in the UK.
Re-matching via Hertfordshire County Council
Once notified, the Homes for Ukraine team can try to find another host for you. In Hertfordshire, there are only a limited number of potential sponsors currently available for hosting new guests.
We will attempt to re-match families in the area where they have become established, but this will very often not be possible. You may need to move to a different area of Hertfordshire. If a suitable host is found within Hertfordshire, but you don't accept the match, you'll be removed from the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Any new host will be entitled to claim the £350 monthly payment once the necessary checks have been completed. These monthly payments to hosts will end once their guests have been in the UK for 24 months, not from the date of any move.
Can local councils provide housing?
One of the main reasons the Homes for Ukraine (and other sponsorship schemes) exist is that councils don't have enough affordable, readily available homes to house people to meet demand. There are already extremely long waiting lists. Most councils, including Hertfordshire, will therefore not be able to support Ukrainian arrivals with long-term accommodation once their sponsorships conclude.
The worst case scenario is where private rented accommodation is not possible, and a suitable re-match can't be found. In this case, you'll be referred to your local district or borough council to be considered for emergency temporary housing.
If granted, this temporary accommodation would unlikely be as comfortable as existing hosting arrangements. It will be temporary and likely have shared kitchen and bathroom. Unfortunately, temporary accommodation placements are often outside of Hertfordshire, sometimes as far away as Birmingham.
This is why we encourage guests and sponsors to persist with hosting arrangements wherever possible. Staying with a host or finding alternative accommodation will always be better than any temporary accommodation, except in cases where safety is at risk.
Private renting in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is among the most expensive areas for rental accommodation in England.
Therefore, you may want to consider moving to a town or area which offers the best value for money.
Your host may talk to you about moving to a lodging arrangement, which is slightly different to private renting.
Before you start your search
There aren't many affordable rental properties available in Hertfordshire, which means they are taken up very quickly. If you find a suitable property, you must also be ready to move quickly to be successful, with enough immediately available money for deposits and fees.
- In England, it's the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure tenants have a right to rent. If you have not done so already, you need to apply for a biometric residence permit within 6 months of your arrival in the UK.
- Once you have your biometric residence permit, you can apply for a code to prove your right to rent in England. You will need to give this code to your Landlord or Letting Agent.
Finding a property
There are several national websites that advertise property to rent which you can register with, including:
You should also register with local letting agencies in the area you are looking to move to.
Letting agents are looking for the most reliable and financially secure tenants for their landlords. To be successful, make sure you've read the above information and have all the documentation and financial information ready before applying for a property.
Organisations who can help if you've recently arrived in Hertfordshire:
Herts with Ukraine – information and help for sponsors and Ukrainian guests, including local activities.
Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain – the Waltham Cross branch meets twice a month from 1.30–4pm. It's a place to meet other Ukrainians living in Hertfordshire, speak the language and keep the culture and heritage alive. It also has a Ukrainian school on a Saturday morning. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
28 Flamstead End Road, Cheshunt, EN8 OHT.
The Ukrainian Institute of London – support with visas, settling in the UK and free English lessons.
Communities1st is hosting weekly sessions where Ukrainians can meet other Ukrainians in the UK and hosts can meet other hosts. No need to book, just turn up.
Phillimore Court, Phillimore Place, Radlett, WD7 8NN every Tuesday, 12pm – 2pm
St Albans Library – every Friday, 10.30am – 12.30pm.
For more information email email@example.com.
Flourish – help for refugees who need support with their mental wellbeing.
Sunflower Social Club meets every Wednesday, 11am–12.30pm at The Well-being Centre, 501 St Albans Road, Watford, WD24 7RZ. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adult social care in Hertfordshire – support for adults with disabilities or health conditions, older people and carers.
Report a concern about an adult
Report a concern about a child
If a child or adult is in immediate danger, call 999.
Libraries – borrow books, eBooks, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, DVDs and use computers, printers and photocopiers.
Things to do and places to stay in Hertfordshire
Online LGBTQ+ Group – weekly online zoom meetings provided by Herts Mind Network. A safe space, free from discrimination, where you can share experiences, learn new skills and improve your quality of life.
Transgender and non-binary support group – monthly group meetings, swim sessions and more.
Acceptance UK (Herts) – a Facebook support group and place to chat for transgender young people under 18, their family and friends.