Sponsoring people under the Homes for Ukraine scheme

The UK’s new ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme opened on 18 March 2022. Under this scheme, individuals (and later businesses) can sponsor Ukrainians (and their immediate families) to come to the UK for up to three years. Read this blog to find out more.

Last updated 11 May 2022 to include more information on the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

What is the Homes for Ukraine scheme? 

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is an immigration scheme providing refugees, who have fled Ukraine, with accommodation in the UK. Under the scheme, individuals, businesses and other organisations (like charities and community groups) can act as ‘sponsors’ by providing free accommodation and ‘sponsoring’ Ukrainians to come to the UK.

Ukrainians arriving under the scheme will be able to:

  • live and work in the UK for up to 3 years
  • access UK healthcare, benefits and employment support
  • access education and English language tuition

Who can act as a sponsor? 

Anyone in the UK (regardless of nationality or immigration status, provided they have at least 6 months leave to remain) who has a spare room or other self-contained accommodation (eg an annexe) that is unoccupied can act as a sponsor. Accommodations must be:

  • available for a minimum of 6 months
  • fit for people to live in
  • suitable for the number of people to be accommodated

At the moment, only named individuals can offer accommodation under the scheme. The Government intends to make the scheme available to businesses and other organisations to also sponsor Ukrainians at a later date.

The Scottish Government has also opened a ‘Super Sponsorship Scheme’ in which the Scottish Government itself acts as a sponsor, allowing a large number of Ukrainians to come to the UK (Scotland) without first having to to match with an individual sponsor.

Will sponsors be paid for offering accommodation?

Sponsors should provide accommodation for free. However, the Government will provide an optional payment of £350 to sponsors in recognition of extra expenses incurred by them. Sponsors will receive payments while they are accommodating someone, for up to 12 months. 

Will any checks be carried out? 

Individuals arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be subject to security checks, which include criminal record and biometric checks.

Sponsors (and those in sponsoring households) will similarly be subject to security checks (including safeguarding checks) which will be carried out when the visa application is being considered. These include checks against Government records, third parties (eg Police National Computer) and DBS checks (including enhanced DBS checks, eg if a child is being sponsored).

Local councils may also wish to inspect and check accommodation provided under the scheme, to ensure that it is fit for habitation.

For more detailed information on the types of checks, see the Government’s guidance.

How can I get involved?

Individuals

Individuals who are interested in becoming sponsors can register their interest to participate in the scheme. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will contact you about your interest.

Anyone who already has a named contact who they wish to sponsor should contact them directly and prepare to complete a visa application with all relevant details. The visa application route to sponsor named contacts opened on 18 March 2022.

Those who don’t know anyone they wish to sponsor can consider reaching out to organisations (eg charities, local community organisations or faith groups) that are connecting sponsors to individuals in need of sponsorship.

Businesses

While businesses (and other organisations) cannot currently sponsor anyone directly, they can record their interest to participate in the scheme. In the future, the Government intends to extend the scheme to allow organisations to directly sponsor individuals and the DLUHC will contact businesses that have registered their interest.

However, even before being able to directly sponsor individuals, businesses and other organisations will play an important role in connecting prospective sponsors with anyone in need of sponsorship. 

Anyone who has registered their interest to participate in the scheme will be kept up to date and informed of the scheme’s progress. Sponsors will also be provided with a support package, signposting to relevant services where more help can be found.

 

Rocket Lawyer will continue to monitor and update this blog as more information becomes available.

For more information on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, read the Government’s guidance and FAQs For more information on supporting staff in Ukraine, read How to protect and support your workforce in Ukraine. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to Ask a lawyer.

 

Rebecca Neumann

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