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Support for staff and students affected by the war in Ukraine

8 March 2022

The war currently unfolding in Ukraine is dangerous and will be distressing for our students, staff and alumni. Our thoughts are with everyone affected at this difficult time.

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Over the past weeks we have, and will continue, to reach out to those in our community who are directly impacted by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine to offer our support. We are in direct contact with all our staff and students who are working and studying in the region to offer our help with travel, accommodation and any other support they may need.  

We are all having to come to terms with this situation and it will be particularly difficult for many in our community. We will do everything we can to support those who are or will be affected – in particular, staff and students who are from Ukraine.

We are a diverse community and we ask everyone to continue to respect and support each other at this time. We will not tolerate any harassment directed against anyone. If you experience bullying or harassment, or witness any examples of bullying or harassment, please report this via UCL’s Report + Support tool

We are closely monitoring the situation and strongly recommend that you follow Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice, which currently advises against all travel to Ukraine and Russia

Support for students 

Some students may find it difficult to focus on their studies at this time. Anyone struggling with academic work should first talk to their tutor, who will be able to offer support and advice. The Extenuating Circumstances policy is also there to support and reassure any student who experiences sudden, unexpected difficulties that may affect their performance at assessment. 

Students can contact Student Support and Wellbeing for support with their mental health and wellbeing, either on their own behalf or if they are worried about another student – please use askUCL to arrange to speak to an adviser. Students also have access to UCL's Care First service for out of hours support, including support in their chosen language.

We understand that students from some affected countries may have difficulty in paying their tuition fees and we will be flexible to accommodate this. UCL’s Financial Assistance Fund is also available to help with immediate living costs at this time. 

We have also been responding to queries from prospective students in these countries and will allow them to defer taking up their offers to study at UCL if they need to.

This is an emergency situation and we are committed to supporting those affected. Their safety is our top priority. As such, we are strongly advising UCL students who are studying abroad in Ukraine and Russia to return the UK, their home country or a country of their choice as soon as possible as travel from these countries is becoming increasingly difficult. We understand that students might not be able to return directly to London and may have to travel via other countries to which access may be easier. We have offered to pay for flights, accommodation, food and anything else that these students might need. 

Our Student Support and Wellbeing team is already assisting students who are affected and we are working closely with our partner institutions to minimise disruption to their studies. This is a fast-changing situation, and we will continue to do everything we can to support members of our community who find themselves in difficult or dangerous circumstances. 

Support for staff 

Staff can contact UCL’s Employee Assistance Programme, Care First, for emotional support, and can also speak to their line manager about any other support or flexibility we might be able to provide. Care First is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employees have access to our translation service, should they wish to access support in their chosen language, and Ukrainian and Russian speaking counsellors are available where appropriate. All Care First employees are up to date with the latest information to help support people with practical queries around the situation in Ukraine.  

We are in touch with Cara – the Council for At-Risk Academics – as well as our sector bodies to explore ways in which we can support refugee academics. We are developing these plans and will share more details soon.

Please reach out to UCL Global Engagement [ciaran.moynihan@ucl.ac.uk; and j.middleton@ucl.ac.uk] if you have any concerns about UCL staff in the area, to provide additional information. 

Care First seminar for staff and students

Recordings of two webinars are available:

More information

The Home Office has announced changes that will allow Ukrainians in the UK to have their visas temporarily extended or be able to switch onto different visa routes. This applies to Ukrainians who are on work, study or visit visas in the UK. Information can be found on the Home Office website. 

Any UK passport holders in Ukraine are advised to register their presence in Ukraine via a form or if they cannot use this form, to telephone +380 44 490 3660. 

Travel information and advice can be found on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office webpages: Ukraine, Russia 

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