Government launches Homes for Ukraine Scheme
The government has launched a new scheme that will offer Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion a route to the UK. The Homes for Ukraine Scheme will allow individuals, charities, community groups, and businesses to volunteer accommodation and provide a route to safety for Ukrainians, and their immediate family members.
Sponsors will need to be able to offer accommodation for at least 6 months but should provide accommodation for as long as they are able.
The number of people who will be accepted for the scheme will depend on the number of sponsors available. To be eligible you must be a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, who was resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022.
Ukrainians who come to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be granted permission to live and work in the UK for up to 3 years and will also be able to access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition.
How to register for the scheme
The scheme will officially open to visa applications from Ukrainians who can name a person in the UK willing to sponsor them on the 18th March 2022.
If you do not personally know anyone of the Ukrainians fleeing the country, but still wish to offer sponsorship then you can register your interest as a sponsor. You can register your interest online if you are an individual or an organisation.
As well as registering your interest, you can also reach out to charities and organisations that may already be working with Ukrainians who can assist you with finding someone to sponsor.
You will need to undergo a vetting process and security checks before you can host refugees. If you do host refugees you will receive a monthly payment of £350
Questions still remain
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme has been launched in response to the criticism that the government has faced over their handling of the refugee crisis in Ukraine, but despite the launch of the new scheme questions are still being raised about the way the government is assisting.
Opposition parties in the commons have raised concerns about the fact that Ukrainians will still need to undergo a lengthy visa application process as part of the scheme, which may be difficult to do for those who have trouble finding internet connections and who have fled with nothing so are unable to provide supporting documents like utility bills.
Although the government has said sponsors will be vetted, they have not gone into detail about how this will work, the Refugee Council has expressed concern over this in relation to the safety and wellbeing of Ukrainian refugees.
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