Ukraine Resettlement Stakeholder Reference Group minutes: June 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the Stakeholder Reference Group on 8 June 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Refugee Council (co-Chair)
  • Emma Roddick MSP, Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees (co-Chair)
  • Councillor Maureen Chalmers, COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing (co-Chair)
  • Andrii Nadych, Community Development Officer, Scottish Refugee Council (SRC)
  • Wafa Shaheen, Head of Asylum, Integration and Resettlement, SRC
  • David Beauchamp, Policy Officer (Ukraine), Migration, Population and Diversity Team, COSLA
  • Anna Kulish, Chair of Housing Group, Ukrainian Collective
  • Oleksandra Novatska, Chair of Language and Culture Group, Ukrainian Collective
  • Oleksandr Chernykh, Chair of Employment Group, Ukrainian Collective
  • Anna Kitzberg, Communications Officer, Help Ukraine Scotland
  • Rob Murray, Director for Scotland, Health and Local Crisis Response, British Red Cross
  • Karen Campbell (for Kirsty-Louise Hunt), Children's Service Manager, Barnardo's Scotland Welcome (Ukraine) Service
  • Masha Allan, Management Team, ScotHosts 
  • John Hawryluk, Ukraine Project Coordinator, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC)
  • Olha Maksymiak, Communications Officer, Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) Glasgow
  • Hannah Beaton-Hawryluk, Branch Chair, AUGB Edinburgh
  • Tanya Balanova, Community Coordinator, AUGB Edinburgh
  • Hannah Shepheard, Assistant Service Manager, Aberlour (Ukraine Children and Host Family Service)
  • Bobby Curtis, Guardian, Aberlour (Ukraine Children and Host Family Service)
  • Catherine Brown, Head of Strategic Policy and Engagement, Scottish Government (SG)


  • Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice


  • Elodie Mignard, Senior Partnership Manager, Scottish Refugee Council (SRC)
  • Paul Wilson, Third Sector Interface (TSI) Edinburgh (Volunteer Edinburgh)
  • Bridie Ashrowan, TSI Edinburgh (EVOC)


  • Oleksandr Chernykh, Chair of Employment Group, Ukrainian Collective
  • Rona Hunter, CEO, Capital City Partnership
  • George Inglis, Senior Performance Manager, Fair Start Scotland, SG


  • Nicolle Malcolm, Group Partnership Manager, DWP Scotland
  • Katey Tabner, Policy Manager, COSLA
  • Jenny Bann, Private Rented Sector and Employability Team Leader, SG
  • Tessa Quinn, Design, Digital and Data Service Owner (Ukraine), SG
  • Pauli-Samantha Walker, Project Manager for the Ukraine Long-Term Resettlement Programme - £50 million Fund, SG
  • Jenny Kehoe, New Scots Policy Manager, SG
  • Dominique Taylor, Strategic Policy Officer, SG


  • Paula Cassells, Strategic Policy Manager, SG
  • Jane Macfarlane, Strategic Policy Officer, SG

Items and actions


Sabir Zazai (SZ), as Chair, welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for their attendance. Emma Roddick MSP, Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees was introduced as the new co-Chair. 

The Minister said some words of welcome and introduced Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, who attended as a guest. The Cabinet Secretary expressed Scotland’s solidarity and sympathy for those affected by the ongoing war against Ukraine.

Terms of reference

The Chair raised three proposed updates to the terms of reference:

  1. amend Scottish Government Minister co-Chair to Emma Roddick MSP, Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees
  2. revise frequency of meetings to quarterly
  3. addition to the strategic aim of the group: it is not a forum to discuss individual cases or specific local authority (LA) issues, which should be raised through the appropriate channels. If members are unsure who to contact or an issue remains unresolved this may be referred to the secretariat for further advice


  • amendments to the terms of reference were agreed

Actions from previous meeting

  • secretariat advised all actions from the previous meeting are complete 
  • secretariat will provide an update to Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) members on the Ukrainian Collective Housing Group recommendations, which have been considered by the Warm Scots Welcome (WSW) working group chairs and Delivery Board. There will be an opportunity to discuss the response at the next SRG meeting


  • actions were agreed

Warm Scots Future policy paper

This paper sets out the policy direction for the next phase of Scotland’s response to the humanitarian crisis created by Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. It will consider the transition from an emergency response to a long term and holistic approach that supports the integration of displaced people from Ukraine aligned with the New Scots refugee integration strategy. 

Catherine Brown (CB) thanked members for their feedback on the proposed five strategic priorities and provided an update.

  • the paper details the five priorities that will guide our approach going forward focused on wider integration and longer term housing
  • it also sets out progress made by Scottish Government and partners in delivering the 16 interventions identified following a review of the Scottish super sponsor scheme
  • officials have taken on board initial feedback from members from the session in May and an early draft has been shared with the WSW Programme Board for input
  • Scottish Government and partners wish to keep working with members on developing the paper and will share a working draft with the group
  • the paper is due to be published after summer recess
  • group members should liaise directly with the SG strategic policy team on any feedback they wish to offer


Presentations were given by Oleksandr Chernykh, Chair of the Ukrainian Collective’s Employability Group, George Inglis, Scottish Government’s Fair Start Scotland (FSS) Service Senior Relationship Manager and Rona Hunter, CEO of Capital City Partnership (CCP)

Presentation 1

Proposed solutions to employability experience, provided by Ukrainian Collective - Oleksandr Chernykh (OC) 

Key points

Some Ukrainians may be receiving funding from the country they are living in, however, they are also very capable of generating for the economy. Figures presented from the Ukrainian World Congress (2022) show that Ukrainian refugees contributed to, rather than burdened the Polish economy. 

Many Ukrainian people in Scotland are highly qualified. ONS figures show: 

  • the majority (80%) have been educated to degree level or above
  • only 35% of respondents are currently working in the same sector as they worked in Ukraine
  • around 40% of respondents had been working in financial services, teaching and education, healthcare and arts, entertainment and recreation when in Ukraine – however, only around 18% of respondents were working in these sectors since arriving in the UK
  • 25% of survey respondents reported they had found work in hospitality since arriving in the UK, with 9% employed in food production. This compared with 4% and 3% having worked in these sectors respectively when in Ukraine
  • the process of obtaining local qualifications, depending on compatibility, should be simplified and clear road maps created for retraining or extension of professional certificates for the most common professions (teachers, medical personnel, engineering workers) 
  • the Ukrainian Collective are eager to work with Education Ministers to consider the equivalence of the ‘Specialist’ (or Master’s degree) in Ukraine in relation to a Bachelor’s degree in the UK 
  • there are also many entrepreneurs, with their own businesses, who need help with relocation, business registration, and provision of ‘road maps’ for customs and tax regulation
  • people who were in low-income employment in Ukraine are motivated to stay in Scotland by the opportunity to earn and save money, which in turn contributes to the economy

Suggested solutions from presentation


  • create a comfortable and safe environment to reduce stress and pressure
  • integrate Ukrainians into Scottish society and remove barriers caused by cultural differences
  • develop effective job search tools
  • encourage local employers to hire displaced Ukrainians

Workers with low qualification - had low income in Ukraine

  • create digital informative resources with road maps, explaining how to access employability support, organisations that provide this support and their contact details, and distribute it through Jobcentres.  
  • issue this information via email  

Qualified specialists - had above average income in Ukraine      

  • simplify obtaining comparative qualifications, subject to compatibility
  • creation of clear road maps for retraining or extension of professional certificates for the most common professions (teachers, medical personnel, engineering workers)
  • recognition of “specialists” Masters degrees with the help of UK ENIC, in line with the Transitional Provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On Higher Education"

Entrepreneurs - people with own online business

  • create information resources providing clarification on tax, trade and customs preferences for Ukrainians in Scotland     

Presentation 2

Fair Start Scotland Service - George Inglis, Scottish Government

FFS provides individualised one-to-one support to unemployed people who face the greatest challenges to obtaining work. This includes people with a disability or health condition, people with convictions, care-experienced young people, single parents, refugees, ethnic minorities, and people who live in some of the most deprived areas in Scotland. It is delivered through a contract across a range of private, public and third sector delivery partners. 

Key points

  • the service has changed over the past five years to reflect the needs of the people it serves, including adapting to making the support available for Ukrainian arrivals 
  • over 1,000 Ukrainians have joined the service since January 2022 and over 40% who joined FSS programme have gone on to start jobs
  • participants’ feedback has shown that service users felt they have been treated with dignity and respect 

Support provided for participants includes

  • employing Ukrainians as key workers helping to support fellow Ukrainians on the service, who have come to Scotland to escape the conflict
  • investing in interpreting services and language training for participants including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, language line and tutors

  • translating FSS materials into Ukrainian, to help with their employability journey 
  • investing in Ukrainian job searching computers and updating their websites to make them more easily accessible  
  • delivering tailored employability sessions across a number of sectors including construction, social care and food hygiene
  • working closely with local authority resettlement teams to support their work with the Ukrainian community 
  • providing transport to allow people to start jobs in areas that are less accessible to them

Presentation 3

‘Joined up for Jobs’ Edinburgh Job Strategy - Rona Hunter, CEO, Capital City Partnership (CCP)

CCP is the anchor delivery body for Edinburgh’s employability strategy, coordinating a range of partners including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and NHS to tackle inequality and poverty.  There are Local Employability Partnerships (LEPs) like CCP in every local authority area.

Key points

  • CCP had to respond quickly to thousands of displaced people from Ukraine wanting to access their services 
  • CPP received a range of offers from employers keen to access the Ukrainian labour market and carries out checks to ensure they only work with reputable employers 
  • many Ukrainians are looking to gain construction skills to assist in rebuilding Ukraine when they return. This has been a big incentive in taking up the Balfour Beatty Construction Academy offer
  • some NatWest jobs have a starting salary £38k. NatWest was impressed by the quality of applicants from Ukraine - highly educated, skilled, talented, real assets to the organisation. Once language skills are addressed, they can fulfil tech jobs such as scrum masters, not just entry level jobs
  • CPP’s online Ukrainian Employability Events Calendar tool helps people to self-manage training and other opportunities


Chair’s comments (SZ)

  • access to rights is crucial to meet refugees’ desire to contribute 
  • Natalie Don MSP, Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise commented on the ambition shown when she met with unaccompanied young people from Ukraine
  • refugees are not homogenous, all possess different skills 
  • SRC has worked with several employers looking at how they can benefit from skills of refugees 
  • private sector has a big part to play

Minister’s comments

  • thanked everyone for their valuable insights and highlighted the realisation of rights 
  • having experience of supporting disabled people, she is keen that those with a second disadvantage are not further challenged 
  • the Minister recognised that people have not come to Scotland by choice but want to work. She acknowledged frustration of encountering barriers 

Lifting up communities

  • the Chair agreed we can learn from other nations how we can benefit from people’s potential skills 
  • John Hawryluk (JH), EVOC added that CPP has been invaluable in the city and that conditions have been improved for Ukrainians as well as others. For example, construction partnership - nine Ukrainians turned down job offers resulting in the construction company increasing promotion of a range of salary benefits for all employees 
  • JH asked whether any economic assessments are being done in Scotland to show the economic benefits of Ukrainians living in Scotland 

The Cabinet Secretary advised that she has discussed with the Ukrainian Consul the issue of transference of professional qualifications OC raised in his presentation. 

While professional bodies cannot be compelled to accept particular qualifications, there are practical things SRG members could do to influence decisions made by professional bodies, e.g. working with the Law Society of Scotland to develop a road map for requalifying in Scotland.

Sharing success stories

CB – updated that the Scottish Government is considering what economic data is available to evidence the impact of Ukrainians living in Scotland, and that case studies would be helpful in telling the story of the contribution refugees and displaced people make. Noted that Scottish Government officials had successfully liaised with CITB to have the test for the CSCS construction card made available in Ukrainian. This is a direct result of the issue being raised in the last meeting of the SRG.

Oleksandr Chernykh (OC), Ukrainian Collective - suggested using Scottish Government platforms (website and social media) to share stories, for example, their work with the Law Society and Faculty of Advocates to provide Ukrainian lawyers a roadmap of how to become solicitors could be applied to construction, medical and other areas of employment.

Olha Makzymiak (OM), AUGB Glasgow and Wafa Shaheen (WS), SRC - noted that there are programmes to transfer doctors’ qualifications from other countries to be used in the UK. The programme in Scotland is run by Bridges Programmes and funded by the Scottish Government. 

Tanya Balanova (TB), AUGB Edinburgh - added that for many with medical qualifications, they have gained employment through personal success i.e. they did it themselves, not through support organisations.

Nicolle Malcolm (NM), DWP - the keenness and motivation of Ukrainians in jobcentres and pop-up jobcentres is to be commended. The Chair thanked the exemplary work DWP has already carried out in streamlining processes. 


  • group members to provide case studies to help in telling the story of the contribution refugees and displaced people make
  • OC to share the Ukrainian Collective’s full statistics relating to Poland with the secretariat
  • secretariat to share information on medical qualification recognition process and support

Consistency of support between rural/urban areas

Oleksandra Novatska (ON), Ukrainian Collective – those living in Dumfries do not have the same situation as those in cities. There are 20,000 Ukrainians outside of Edinburgh who have different issues and need help.

John Hawryluk (JH), EVOC - parity of service is not an issue unique to the Ukrainian response. How can we work cross country to achieve services – so that people are happy to go to Aberdeen etc - and address concerns about living in Falkirk and commuting to Edinburgh. What support is there?

Tanya Balanova (TB), AUGB Edinburgh - lack of teaching assistants who can speak Ukrainian. Ukrainian (English speaking) parents could be employed to assist with children learning English. An example of where this could be helpful is Leith Academy, which has thousands of Ukrainian pupils. 

SZ agreed there needs to be consistency of support, which will not happen overnight, but we can look to support this. 

Oleksandra Novatska (ON), Ukrainian Collective - relocating from MS Ambition to Oban, in Argyll and Bute, where there seems to be no job opportunities, it would be helpful to have programmes like the Edinburgh City Partnership across all of Scotland. This also applies to training and where to access it. 

Accommodation and housing

Olha Maksymiak (OM), AUGB Glasgow – looking for clarification of the rules where someone leaves welcome accommodation for more than five days, whether they can return to the same welcome accommodation, and what allowances are made for those in employment in that area.  

Rob Murray (RM), British Red Cross - how are people supported if they have trauma and need a roof over their head? In recent Scottish Government interviews 64% of hosts reported affordability as a major barrier to their guests securing housing. Overall, the British Red Cross’s analysis of increasing homelessness among Ukrainian refugees over the past year shows that England has seen a 175% increase in destitution amongst families since Oct 2022 and 67% of the 4,000 households who have experienced homelessness are families with children.

Cllr Chalmers – urgent work is underway across Scotland at pace with all LAs to look at all aspects of homelessness.

SZ acknowledged that it is difficult to achieve consistency across LAs and thanked them for their trying to find solutions. There is a commitment to work together. Housing is such a big issue – we can come back to it.


  • secretariat to send contact details for the Argyll & Bute Employability Team to the group and confirm that are Local Employability Partnerships (LEPs), similar to the Edinburgh City Partnership, operate in every LA area across Scotland
  • CB to follow up with OM regarding welcome accommodation


TB and OM – repeated calls for clarity on what will happen at the end of the three-year visa, adding that the limited terms of visas mean people are afraid to take a risk with self-employment. CB and the Minister confirmed this issue is regularly raised with UK Government at official and Ministerial level. The Chair suggested the group could consider having a specific meeting on visa issues. 


  • co-Chairs to consider having a SRG meeting with the theme of visas

Next Steps

  • the Secretariat will circulate the presentations from this meeting
  • a note of the meeting and actions will be circulated to the group (and published online) along with the revised Terms of Reference
  • employability discussion – there is an employability subgroup. The Secretariat will work with them on the points from the Ukrainian Collective’s presentation and report back to the group

Any other business

SZ highlighted that 20 June is the start of the Scottish Refugee Festival – over 100 events celebrating New Scots and WSW – and encouraged members to attend and share events. 


SZ thanked everyone for their attendance, noting members’ commitment to the group. The next meeting will take place in September, with a suggested theme of language. The secretariat will be in touch with members to set a date.

List of actions

  • group members to provide case studies to help in telling the story of the contribution refugees and displaced people make
  • OC to share the Ukrainian Collective’s full statistics relating to Poland with the secretariat
  • secretariat to share information on medical qualification recognition process and support
  • secretariat to send contact details for the Argyll & Bute Employability Team to the group and confirm that are Local Employability Partnerships (LEPs), similar to the Edinburgh City Partnership, operate in every local authority area across Scotland.
  • CB to follow up with OM regarding welcome accommodation
  • co-Chairs to consider having a SRG meeting with the theme of visas
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