Homes for Ukraine scheme
Following criticism of what was widely perceived to be their unwelcoming and begrudging approach to the millions of civilians who have fled Ukraine as refugees in response to the Russian invasion of their country, the UK Government has announced its Homes for Ukraine scheme. The scheme formally opens on Friday 18 March 2022, although it opened for people to register their interest as soon as it was announced.
The scheme encourages individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to register their interest in providing a home for people newly arrived in the UK who have fled Ukraine. In the first phase, those offering accommodation will need to identify a specific Ukrainian or Ukrainian family. Those wanting to help (“sponsors” as the Government refers to them) will need to be able to offer a home or spare room rent-free and for at least six months. In exchange, they will receive a monthly payment of £350. Those wanting to help are not expecting to provide food or other assistance beyond the provision of accommodation, although of course people may very well wish to do so, especially while people settle in.
It is anticipated that charities, faith groups, universities and other networks will help link those wanting to help with those applying to enter the UK under this scheme.
Those arriving under this scheme will be given leave to remain in the UK for three years, with the right to work, claim benefits, and access public services such as the NHS. They will need to be either a Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian, and in either case have been resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022. Applicants will undergo vetting and will be required to pass security checks. There is no fixed limit on the number of people who can enter the UK under this scheme.
The Government has provided answers to many frequently asked questions, which you can find here.