CIBT Employees Donate Time, Expertise to Help Ukraine Refugees

March 28, 2022

The images emerging from Ukraine in the past few weeks have gripped the world. The ongoing conflict has caused more than three million Ukrainians to flee their country in what the United Nations Refugee Agency is calling Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. But in response to this unimaginable crisis, CIBT, and its employees, have stepped up to help.

Employees in the United Kingdom have donated countless hours of their time to assist Ukrainians displaced by fighting in their homeland and Ukrainian nationals living in the UK who are trying to bring family members to safety. The assistance is urgently needed as the UK government writes new rules to address the human toll of the Ukraine crisis.

“The UK was quick to announce a scheme to assist Ukrainians with links to the UK but slow to dismantle some of the practical application barriers to assist those applying under the scheme.”
Ray Rackham, UK Managing Director, on the recent changes to the UK Immigration Rules.

Rackham refers to a new program called the Ukraine Family Scheme, which allows Ukrainians who are legal residents of the UK to bring family members over to stay with them. The Ukraine Family Scheme also broadly defines the term ‘family’, making not only members of a UK-based Ukrainian’s immediate family eligible, but members of their extended family and their extended family’s immediate family eligible as well. The new rules have prompted many questions from anxious Ukrainians. Immigration advisors have responded by answering inquiries late into the night. Rackham explained that no calls have been ignored, and no one has been charged for emergency immigration advice. “I’m so proud of my colleagues here,” Rackham said.

The company has also been providing crisis-related services to organizations. “We’ve been advising on the EU Temporary Protection Directive,” said Ben Sookia, EMEA Advisory Services Manager. The European Commission invoked the EU Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) on March 4th to protect Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge into the EU.  Temporary protection of Ukrainians departing Ukraine will apply immediately and continue for one year. Ukrainians leaving Ukraine will be permitted to work in EU countries under the TPD.

Sookia also described work performed recently on behalf of an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organization (NGO) well known for its projects in conflict zones that was “quite urgent, with a quick turn-around [time],” according to Sookia. The NGO needed personnel to be sent quickly to the countries bordering Ukraine that are dealing with a massive influx of displaced people. Our staff worked on a pro-bono basis with the NGO to provide guidance on the immigration requirements for key workers needed to provide medical support for civilians impacted by the war. This included a Medical Coordinator who is working with teams in the region to assess and treat displaced Ukrainians who were injured by fighting in their country, and a Mental Health Activity Manager who traveled to Hungary to help people suffering from mental trauma after having been displaced from Ukraine.

On a corporate level, CIBT has made monetary donations to relief efforts by international organizations such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and UNICEF. Donations are being used for items such as child comfort kits and providing displaced families with emergency shelter. CIBT has also been matching employee charitable donations to the IRC and UNICEF to make those donations go even farther.

The company has also developed a Ukraine and Russia visa and immigration resource hub outlining the visa and immigration options for Ukrainian citizens and residents exiting the country – this will include individual country immigration concessions for refugees and updates on the possibility of remote work.

As the crisis in Ukraine goes on, CIBT and our employees are committed to continuing our efforts to help.

CIBT is the leading global provider of immigration and visa services for corporations and individuals with expert immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and qualified migration consultants located in over 70 offices in 25 countries.
With over thirty years of experience, CIBT is the primary service provider to 75% of Fortune 500 companies. CIBT offers a comprehensive suite of services under two primary brands: Newland Chase, a wholly owned subsidiary focused on global immigration strategy and advisory services for corporations worldwide and CIBTvisas, the market leader for business and other travel visa services for corporate and individual clients.