Earning a living

There are currently five areas, in which UNHCR has activities to promote employment of refugees.

  1. Business development with self-reliance grants for self-employment
  2. Vocational training, which includes skill training
  3. Employment search assistance, work with the Employment Centres and the private sector
  4. Social assistance
  5. Advocacy aimed at streamlining the legislative framework and at the creation of a favourable protection environment to enable refugees’ socio-economic integration and provide them with a durable solution


Self-reliance grants for self-employment

A self-reliance grant is one-time assistance that can be provided to asylum seekers or refugees who meet the criteria mentioned below. A grant can be provided to those who have a strong desire and understanding of becoming self-reliant, which includes a clear and reasonable individual business or employment plan.

You are eligible for UNHCR self-reliance grants, if you are:

  1. a recognised refugee or a person granted with a complementary protection status by the Ukrainian Government
  2. a mandated refugee i.e. you are recognised as a refugee by UNHCR under its Statute and regardless of whether or not you have been recognised by the Ukrainian Government
  3. an asylum seeker who has been found eligible for assistance by UNHCR partners, who is at any stage of the national asylum procedure (including the appeals process) and holds a valid asylum certificate issued by the Regional Migration Service

Self-reliance grants aim at covering the following needs:

  • Direct assistance to small and medium-scale business activities performed by one or more applicants, aimed to start up or develop a profitable business
  • Agricultural start-ups, giving preference to persons residing in rural areas with previous experience in this field
  • Vocational skills and/or re-qualification training for purpose of further stable employment
  • Other projects aimed at livelihoods support

How to apply for a grant:

  1. Fill in a Self-Reliance Grants Questionnaire in Ukrainian, English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Somali or Russian. In case you do not know the above-mentioned languages, you can submit it in your native language.
  2. If you are short-listed, you will be invited for a meeting (in person at the UNHCR office or via Skype) and interviewed.
  3. After the UNHCR consultation, you should fill in a Self-Reliance Grant Application or an Individual Plan for Employment (in case of vocational training) based on received recommendations and forward it to UNHCR at your earliest convenience, but not more than one month after the consultation with UNHCR.
  4. The Self-Reliance Grants Selection Committee will review your Application or Plan, make the final decision and inform you in writing about it.
  5. If you are approved to receive a grant, you will be provided with further consultations on implementing a business plan.

If you meet the requirements, please fill in the Self-Reliance Grants Questionnaire and send it [email protected]. Please add “Self-Reliance Grant” as email subject.

For more details on the submission of a grant application, please contact UNHCR at +38 (044) 288 97 10 (ext. 114) or in person on Wednesdays from 10:00 – 16:30.

Vocational training

You can apply either directly to UNHCR or through UNHCR partner organisations to receive vocational training support. Vocational training is supported in different fields, based on the employability prospects. Individual counselling on vocational training opportunities is provided by the partners as part of their social assistance.


UNHCR and its partners actively cooperate with the State Employment Centre to identify suitable employment opportunities for asylum seekers and people with international protection status. Individual counselling is provided by UNHCR partners as part of their social assistance (Rokada in Kyiv; Tenth of April in Odesa; Neeka in Zakarpattia region and R2P in Kharkiv).

If you have found an employer that offers a no-pay probation period of up to three months, you can approach UNHCR for subsidised employment support.