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Advice if you want to employ people from overseas, including those who are refugees.

First published:
29 July 2022
Last updated:

I am a childcare provider and want to help refugees coming to Wales, such as those from Ukraine

We understand that people are eager to help others, including those who are coming from Ukraine and this is very much in the spirit of us all ensuring that Wales is a “nation of sanctuary” for all refugees. Our vision is of a Wales wherever people seeking sanctuary go, they are met with a welcome, understanding and celebration of their unique contribution to Welsh life. If you would like to get involved, visit Wales: Nation of Sanctuary

The needs of and experience of children in your care remain the most important factor. Their safety and wellbeing are paramount. Safe recruitment practices must always be followed.

We must also consider the safety of the refugee. Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. Refugees and other displaced people are especially vulnerable to be caught up in modern slavery practices.

Victims of modern slavery can be any age, gender, nationality, or ethnicity. They are tricked or threatened into work and may feel unable to leave or report the crime through fear or intimidation. They may not recognise themselves as a victim.

See more information and links to further resources about identifying modern slavery and what to do on GOV.UK and Modern Slavery & Exploitation on Wales Safer Communities

Care Inspectorate Wales recently issued guidance for social care providers about modern-day slavery and recruitment checks, the advice is also useful for childcare and playwork providers.

Can I employ a refugee?

Yes. You can employ any person from overseas but you will need to ensure that they are suitable to work with children and have the appropriate skills and qualifications for the role. You must satisfy the regulations relating to ‘Suitability of Staff’ as you would with any other staff member. Further information is provided at Annex 1 to support your recruitment process.

What information do I need?

The table below outlines the information and documentation required according the Regulations. Further advice on steps to take in the recruitment process are provided at Annex 1.

Information and documentation Required by Regulation 28

Required Documentation

Name (and any alias and former name) address and date of birth

Passport, driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate.

If no passport, driving licence, birth certificate is available, the ID provided by UK/WG Government on arrival can be used for identification purposes.

Information as to the person’s qualifications, experience and skills relating to the specific role

Qualification certificates, training certificates/logs, Curriculum vitae (CV), references.

Where qualification certificates and/or transcripts etc are not able to be provided, the individual should sign a self-declaration that information in application form regarding qualifications and work history is accurate and correct. The individual would need to contact Social Care Wales to determine if any previous childcare qualifications can be accepted.

A statement by person as to the state of their physical and mental health

Medical Declaration of Health (MDH) statement signed by person

A recent photograph

Photograph

Two references with an explanation that the provider is satisfied as to the authenticity of those references.

References ideally from former employers including most recent employer. Can also accept academic references and personal references in exceptional situations. NB: two is the minimum number and could seek more, depending on circumstance/feedback.

Personal references, if employer references are not possible are acceptable.

Full employment history, with an explanation of any gaps

CV, details on an application form

Verification of reason why previous employment or position ended (where that previous employment or position involved working with children)

CV and signed statement from the person. References if possible

An enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check

DBS certificate and Criminal records check/ ‘Certificate of Good Character’ from home nation

Eligibility to work in the UK (required by immigration law)

Official statement/visa/permit. Work permit/ID supplied by UK/WG to refugees

The person l wish to employ in my setting has limited identification documentation (ID). What can I accept?

In the case of those from Ukraine, the Home Office should be providing temporary ID which will then be replaced by a Biometric Residence Permit once the Home Office has captured and processed the Ukrainian’s biometric information.

The table above outlines the documentation that is required. In the staff file, you must write a statement confirming:

  1. whether you are satisfied with the worker’s identity,
  2. the information or documentation you took into account when making that decision, and
  3. whether as part of your identification enquiries, they obtained a copy of the worker’s birth certificate.

You may not have seen the applicant’s birth certificate. Instead, you should detail what evidence you used instead to verify their identity and date of birth. Inspectors will view and may discuss this with you in relation to your recruitment processes during inspection.

The person applying for a job has not lived in the UK before. Will DBS checks still be required? 

Yes. A provider needs to undertake an enhanced DBS check on all staff, including those with refugee status. This is a requirement of the Child Minding and Day Care (Wales) Regulations 2010. The individual may have been in the UK previously and DBS does have information sharing agreements with some countries. Advice on applying for a DBS check can be found here: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks | Care Inspectorate Wales

When applying for a DBS check, the DBS’ ID guidelines do make it possible for immigration and ‘documents from local or central government that demonstrate entitlement to benefit’ to be submitted for ID purposes. These documents, alongside ID provided by the Home Office should meet the DBS criteria. See DBS ID checking guidelines on GOV.UK

If the person is a Ukrainian national in the UK and needs assistance, they can contact UKVI on +44 (0)808 164 8810 – select option 2. Lines are open Monday to Thursday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:45pm and Friday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:30pm. This is a free phone number, but network charges may still apply.

Is there any financial support to help with DBS checks?

There is no financial support to help with DBS checks. The individual will need to apply for an enhanced DBS check and meet the costs associated with those checks.

DBS checks are UK only, are there any other checks I need to undertake before employing a person new to Wales/UK?

The Childminding and Day Care (Wales) Regulations 2010 do not require additional criminal record checks to be undertaken on prospective staff members. However, it would be reasonable for providers to seek further assurance of the suitability of the person to work in their setting with children where routine checks may not offer a full history.

This step should be taken where advising home country authorities of an individual’s location does not pose a risk to them and where there is a working process for criminal records checks. It may not be reasonable to request a further police check where the role they are applying for is not working closely with children, for example as a cook. The individual’s background and reasons for not wishing for a police check from the home country would have to be considered in each case. You should sensitively discuss this with the applicant and seek their approval, if you decide that an additional police check is required.

The application process for criminal records checks or ‘Certificates of Good Character’ for someone from overseas varies from country to country. Individuals can apply in the country or to the relevant embassy in the UK. See Guidance on applying for criminal records checks for overseas applicants on GOV.UK

In the case of Ukraine, the Ukrainian individual can apply for a criminal record check via the Ukrainian Embassy. See Countries Q to Z: applying for a criminal records check for someone from overseas on GOV.UK The individual will require an electronic signature in order to make their application. The requested information will be emailed to them in Ukrainian.

After receiving an extract in Ukrainian language, they will need to apply for a confirmation letter from the Ukraine Embassy, these documents can be translated by a third party.

For Ukrainians who do not possess an electronic signature, applications must be made in person at the Consular Section of the Ukrainian Embassy in London. A valid passport is required as proof of ID and should be presented on the day. Applicants are expected to provide the Consular Section with the applicant’s former address(es) in Ukraine. Enquiries can be made via consul_gb@mfa.gov.ua

The individual seeking employment only has a few personal contacts to provide references. Is this acceptable?

Regulation 28 (2) (b) (ii) the Childminding and Day Care (Wales) Regulations 2010 states that the provider must have a statement to confirm that they have obtained two references and that they are “satisfied as to the authenticity of those references.”

It is always preferable to obtain references from the most recent employers, however, this is not always possible in circumstances where people have been displaced due to war or conflict. In such cases personal references can be used. There is no requirement stipulating how long a referee should have known a person for. However, longer personal relationships would hold more value.

To establish the authenticity of referees/references, providers would need to follow up on any reference given. This could be by telephone or via email. It is good practice to make notes of the conversation (such as answers to questions asked, date, time of conversation) to evidence how providers have satisfied themselves that the reference is genuine.

In cases where only personal references have been obtained from contacts who do not know the person well, a period of supervision would be advisable. This would give the provider assurance that the candidate is suitable to work with children and has the required skills and knowledge necessary for the role.

The person applying for a job has a childcare qualification from another country. Is this person qualified to work in my setting?

Any person who would like to work in childcare and early years in Wales must hold a qualification that’s listed on Social Care Wales’ qualification framework.

If their qualification is not on the list, Social Care Wales will need to assess whether it can be accepted. They will do so by mapping the individual’s qualification against the Welsh equivalent. 

At the end of the process, SCW will advise on whether the individual’s qualification is acceptable. Where there is a small shortfall in equivalency SCW can support the development of an action plan so that the individual can be employed as a qualified member of staff. Where there is a more significant shortfall, SCW may determine that the person cannot be employed as a qualified member of staff without undertaking the CCPLD.

See International early years and childcare qualifications on Social Care Wales.

Any specific questions on international qualifications or this process should be sent to: InternationallyQualified@socialcare.wales.

Can the individual work in my setting before the results of the DBS and home country criminal records checks are received?

Providers may allow a person to start work while awaiting the DBS and home country checks on the basis they ensure that person is fully supervised until the information is obtained.

Providers would need to ensure they have the capacity to do so and restrict the person from undertaking particular activities. However, Regulation 28 (6) will need to be satisfied, and the following in place:

  • Providers are assured of the individuals good character and suitability for the role
  • That the individual has the necessary skills and qualifications
  • Providers are satisfied as to the authenticity of the qualifications and have verified their skills and experience.
  • The individual is mentally and physically fit to look after children under the age of twelve,
  • The individual has signed a statement confirming this
  • The individual is registered with the DBS and has provided their DBS registration number to the provider
  • The provider is satisfied as to the individual’s identity and can report what evidence they used to confirm this
  • The provider has a full employment history for the person , together with a satisfactory written explanation of any gaps in the person’s employment, and where the person’s previous employment or position has involved work with children, so far as reasonably practicable, verification of the reason why the employment or position ended.
  • The provider has secured a photograph and two references on the individual
  • The individual has provided a written declaration of the detail so any criminal offences of which they have been convicted or cautioned, including spent convictions.
  • In the reasonable view of the provider the interests of the service will not be met unless the person can be appointed.

Am I eligible for any support?

Yes, ReAct+ offers employers who recruit previously unemployed individuals (including refugees) a wage subsidy of up to £3,000 for the first 12 months of employment. Up to £1,000 is also available for any job-related training. 

If you have any further queries, please contact: Talkchildcare@gov.wales

Annex 1: further advice

Social Care Wales: ‘A Guide to Recruiting Well ’ provides advice to providers on the recruitment of all staff, and is useful when considering the recruitment process and procedure for refugees from Ukraine, particularly where there are issues obtaining documentation and information.

Some of the steps outlined include:

  • If no CV available, ask person to complete an application form detailing all the information required. Discuss any gaps and record relevant detail.
  • In interview, provider should check person’s knowledge, understanding of care practices and child development. Ask the applicant to give examples to check the person’s knowledge, understanding and capability. Answers should be recorded. This helps the provider to see if there are any suitability issues and/or potential need for support and further training.
  • In situations where there is less supporting documentary evidence, a practical interview process would enable a provider to make an informed judgement to support any answers supplied during interview. Observation notes would be a useful evidence tool to show that the provider has taken steps to ensure the person has the right skills and qualities to work with children.
  • Shortfalls in documentation and information could cause unease and uncertainty about recruiting. As is good practice generally, close supervision and monitoring will ensure that providers can satisfy that the person is suitable for the role. Any emerging practice issues can quickly be identified and addressed.
  • Completing the All Wales Induction Framework (AWIF) will allow providers to assess a person’s skills, knowledge and experience and identify their strengths and needs. It provides assurance that the person is working effectively and safely
  • Providers may allow a person to start work while awaiting the DBS and Embassy checks on the basis they ensure that person is fully supervised until the information is obtained. Providers would need to ensure they have the capacity to do so and restrict the person from undertaking particular activities. However, Regulation 28 (6) will need to be satisfied, that is that Providers have the following:
  • Assured themselves of the individual’s good character and suitability for the role
  • That the individual has the necessary skills and qualifications, that you are satisfied as to the authenticity of the qualifications and have verified their skills and experience.
  • Is mentally and physically fit to look after children under the age of twelve,
  • That the individual has signed a statement confirming this
  • That the person is registered with the DBS and has provided their DBS registration number to the provider
  • That you are satisfied as to their identity and can report what evidence you used
  • That you have a full employment history for the person, together with a satisfactory written explanation of any gaps in the person’s employment, and where the person’s previous employment or position has involved work with children, so far as reasonably practicable, verification of the reason why the employment or position ended
  • That you have secured a photograph and two references on the individual
  • That the person has provided a written declaration of the details of any criminal offences of which they have been convicted or cautioned, including spent convictions
  • In the reasonable view of the provider the interests of the service will not be met unless the person can be appointed.

Further information and advice is available: A Guide to Recruiting Well