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 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 are over 18, have at least 6 months’ leave to remain and don’t have a criminal record) 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.
For more information on the eligibility requirements, see the government’s guidance on eligibility.
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 match with an individual sponsor.
Will sponsors be paid for offering accommodation?
Sponsors should provide accommodation for free. However, the government provides optional payments to sponsors in recognition of extra expenses incurred by them.
In Wales, sponsors will receive payments of £500 per month to support them with any costs.
These payments are tax-free and do not affect the sponsor’s benefits or council tax discounts.
Will any checks be carried out?
Individuals arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be subject to security checks, which include criminal records 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 who are interested in becoming sponsors can register their interest to participate in the scheme. Note that Wales and Scotland have different portals where you can record interest. This will be shared with your local council who will contact you if someone in your area needs a sponsor. Alternatively, you can contact certain organisations (eg Refugees at Home) to be matched with someone more quickly.
Anyone who already has a named contact whom they wish to sponsor should contact them directly and prepare to complete a visa application with all relevant details. For more information, see the government’s guidance on applying for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.
For more information on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, read the government’s guidance. 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.