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All of us at K2 have been deeply shocked and saddened to witness the on-going crisis in Ukraine. Over the past weeks, we have worked closely with our partners on the ground to establish contingency plans and emergency support for any clients impacted by the crisis.

In light of the conflict, we hosted two webinars to provide our clients with further information around on-going service considerations. Some of the key members from our Account Management, Commercial and Immigration teams were on hand to provide their expert opinions, and offer support and guidance to those impacted by the crisis.

Our CEO, Nick Plummer, also spoke of his direct action visit to Poland to support Polish NGO, Proem, in their humanitarian work for Ukrainian refugees at the border.

The Q&A webinar session was hosted by our Client Account Director, Miranda Barras-Smith, with answers from K2 experts on the following:

  • Destination services & temporary accommodation – Gavin Carruthers, Commercial Manager.
  • Household goods & insurance considerations – Robert Lamb, European Commercial Coordinator.
  • Immigration updates – Patrik Tostemar, Senior Immigration Consultant & Simon Higson, UK Immigration Manager.
  • How K2 is supporting humanitarian needs in Ukraine – Nick Plummer, Group CEO.

Summary of key points

Destination services and temporary accommodation

Assistance being offered to those evacuating Ukraine to the surrounding countries?

  • With our partners, we can offer visa/work permit documentation, safe border entry points, timelines, temporary accommodation, permanent accommodation and schooling.
  • In Russia and Belarus we can offer property terminations and handovers without an assignee present and vacant property management.
  • We can deliver cultural and language support. Our partner IOR are offering this as a complimentary program to families leaving Ukraine and heading to a different country.

How accessible is temporary accommodation in Eastern Europe at this time?

  • Availability of temporary accommodation has been significantly impacted. In several locations, we are seeing occupancy levels of between 90-95%.
  • Locations with low availability include: Poland (Warsaw, Krakow), Hungary (Budapest), Slovakia (Bratislava), Moldova (Chisinau), Romania (Bucharest), Latvia (Riga) and the UAE (Dubai).
  • Western Europe accommodation levels remain at the same rate, but we are monitoring the situation closely.

What are you doing to combat the struggles associated with temporary accommodation?

  • We are working closely with our partner network and global supply chain to bring new buildings and suppliers on-board to help manage demand.
  • We have daily calls with our providers, whilst monitoring availability lists and check-in with staff and guests on the ground frequently.
  • We are also recommending and helping with block and long-term bookings for areas outside of Eastern Europe.

What is being done to support families with children of a school age?

  • Local and state schools in Poland are accepting all Ukrainian children between the ages of 7-18 years.
  • International schools in EMEA are reviewing candidates with a view to receiving new students.
  • We are offering assistance with ‘Go Bags’ containing critical documentation for applications, school records and more.
  • There is also counselling for students in some locations, including those in Dubai who have been impacted by the conflict.

Household goods and insurance considerations

Household goods shipping out of Ukraine?

  • Household goods services, amongst other services, are currently suspended in Ukraine. We will continue to monitor and update our clients once services are resumed.

How are we combatting the limited shipments of household goods in and out of Russia?

  • We are combining moves out of Moscow and putting them in bonded warehouses in Berlin or Frankfurt, before heading to their final destinations.
  • We are sending goods through the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and not through Belarus which is a red flag country. (correct at the time of recording).
  • We are not able to ship anything in/ out of St Petersburg port, so we are routing shipments via Riga in Latvia.
  • Airfreight is very difficult currently as only two airlines are operating out of Moscow. The costs have increased and delays can be expected due to the significant re-routing needed.

Will the cost of freight moves increase due to fuel prices rising?

  • It is likely we will see an increase in the cost of freight moves, as fuel reaches a never before seen level. We are, however, working closely with our partners to ensure additional costs are kept to a minimum.

Changes to insurance cover for moves between Russia and Ukraine?

  • All shipments coming out of Moscow must be approved by our insurance brokers and the underwriters in London.
  • Each shipment is assessed on a case by case basis and we ask for as much detail as possible regarding the shipment upfront.
  • We have had insurance approval on all of our jobs to date.


Immigration advice for organisations relocating employees or assignees out of Ukraine and Russia?

  • Reach out to your immigration consultant at K2 as a case-by-case assessment is necessary, as requirements are changing quickly.
  • Ukrainian citizens can enter most western countries visa free, whilst Russian citizens cannot.
  • Visa free countries where Russian citizens can apply for permits within the country include EAEU countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan) and also Turkey, Georgia and Argentina.

Global implications and measures for Ukrainian and Russian citizens? 

Ukrainian citizens:

  • Men between the ages of 18-60 are not allowed to leave the country.
  • There is concern that refugees might not have brought all documents required when applying for permits, or these have expired.
  • Ukrainian citizens who left the country before February 24th are experiencing problems applying for refugee status.
  • Countries who have taken drastic measures to accommodate refugees include neighbouring countries such as Poland, Romania, Moldova, Germany, Argentina and the UK.

Russian citizens:

  • A flight ban in the US & Europe means Russian citizens are struggling to travel to these destinations. Travel into Europe by car, bus and train is still possible.
  • Russian citizens do not qualify for refugee status and will need to apply for permits for most countries when outside of Russia.
  • There is a risk that Russia may implement similar measures as Ukraine and not allow men to leave the country.
  • There is also risk that Russian permits may be suspended or there is a ban on Russian citizens entering countries.

UK measures for Ukrainian and Russian citizens? 

Ukraine Family Scheme visa

  • Allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK, and can live, work and study for up to 3 years.
  • To apply, you must be joining a UK family based member, be a Ukrainian national or immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and have resided in Ukraine on, or immediately before, 1 January 2022.
  • The family member you are joining must be a British national, or be a permanent resident/ settled in the UK, or have their own refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.

Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine)

  • This scheme allows Ukrainian nationals to live and work in the UK for up to three years, providing they have someone in the UK willing to provide them with accommodation.
  • UK based sponsors should have a minimum expectation of 6 months, but should provide accommodation for as long as they are able to.
  • There is also a sponsored employee route, meaning skilled worker & ICT routes are open for employers who want to transfer Ukrainian employees to the UK.

Implications on the UK visa application process?

  • UKVI are prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme applications in response to the crisis, meaning applications for study, work and family visas may take longer to process.
  • Work visa applications will take at least 15 working days from the date biometric data is given. The Home Office are clear to state that flights should not be booked until the visa has been issued and the passport returned.
  • Standard visitor visa applications are currently taking around 6 weeks to process.
  • Family visa applications are currently taking around 12 weeks to process.
  • These delays are likely to remain in place for some time so should be taken into account for any assignment planning over the coming months.

K2 updates

As part of K2’s support for the humanitarian crisis, our Group CEO shared the story of his recent trip to Poland with NGO, Proem. 

“From a humanitarian perspective, my aim a couple of weeks ago was to connect and engage with a trusted organisation. Last week, I drove out to Poland to take humanitarian aid to a refugee camp. There, I met with a wonderful team connected to Proem who are helping refugees at the Ukraine border. The camp is currently catering to around 70 families, the majority of whom are women and children. K2 have already committed to supplying mini vans to help bring further refugees from Ukraine back to the camp, and we’ve booked out the local hotel for vital accommodation.”

“We have also committed to supplying shipping containers so that we can store donations for the camp and are working closely with our US team to help donate further supplies from around the world. We are also setting up a JustGiving page on the K2 website and providing a list of needed essentials for Ukraine, for anyone who would like to donate.”

The Q&A session finished with a number of great questions from our audience, which were answered by our expert speakers from K2. You will find answers to all of these questions in the full recording of the webinar.

Thank you again to everyone that attended. If you were not able to attend either session, you can find a recording of the webinar here.

As the situation in Ukraine and Russia is changing rapidly and subject to change, please consult your K2 account manager or other trusted sources for the most up-to-date information.

K2 stands with Ukraine

K2 supports the humanitarian efforts of Polish NGO, Proem, who are helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland.  Find out how you can help.

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