Homes for Ukraine refugees scheme London: how to help, sponsor and host refugees fleeing Russia war to UK

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The government has confirmed there will be "no cap" on the number of refugees that can stay with UK host families and organisations under this new visa scheme.

People in the UK are being asked by the government to open their doors to refugees fleeing the UK, under a new scheme being introduced.

It comes after the UN announced on Friday, March 18 that over 3 million Ukrainians have fled the country, following the Russian invasion, this equates to more than five per cent of its population.

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It is the worst refugee crisis since World War II, with Poland taking in more than one million Ukrainians since the beginning of the conflict.

Currently, around 4,000 visas have been issued to Ukrainians looking for a safe haven following the invasion, which has led to backlash against the UK government.

What is the Ukraine UK refugee scheme?

The scheme is named ‘homes for Ukraine’ and it is a new scheme, allowing people, business and more the chance to offer a room or bed rent-free to Ukrainians fleeing the war and violence in their home country.

The lead government minister overseeing the introduction of the scheme, Michael Gove, MP,has described the scheme as a ‘national effort’ on behalf of those who are desperately in need.

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The scheme is currently ‘uncapped’ meaning there is no limit on the number of  Ukrainian refugees allowed into the UK, meaning ‘tens of thousands’ could make their way into the country.

Can I offer a room to a Ukrainian refugee in the UK?

Currently, anyone in the UK can open their home to Ukrainian refugees.

There is no expectation set for anyone hosting a refugee to provide food and living expenses, but you can choose to do so if you wish.

The Home Office will also check that the people offering up their homes are in a position to provide that support.

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British people will have to commit to housing a refugee for at least six months, and will have to undergo an extensive vetting process, ensuring people are not possibly exploiting the scheme.

People applying to host a refugee, will be put through a vetting process, as mentioned. This means some people may be deemed not suitable and some who have applied to host a refugee will not get the chance.

How do I register for the scheme?

If you have a named person that you wish to sponsor, you should contact them directly and prepare to fill out a visa application with their details as well as yours.

Visa applications are set to go live on Friday, March 18.

If you do not have a named person, and are willing to help any refugee, you can visit the new website that has been launched, scroll down and click the ‘register your interest as an individual’.

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There is also an option for companies to register interest.

As of Friday, March 18 over 150,000 people have signed up to host Ukrainian refugees in the UK.

Will I receive any financial support if I host a refugee?

UK citizens opening their homes to Ukrainian refugees will receive a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month, that is tax free.

This does not increase for additional people.

Local authorities are entitled to receive £10,000 per Ukrainian refugee, and ‘additional payments’ are to be made to support school-age refugees in the education system.

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How long can refugees stay with a UK host family or individual?

People taking in a refugee have to commit to a minimum of hosting them, but are being encouraged to keep the offer going as long as possible.

Refugees will be granted initial leave to stay in the UK for up to 12 months and those who are being sponsored by the humanitarian route will be granted three years leave to remain in the UK, and receive access to work and public services and English tuition.

Support people fleeing the devastating conflict in Ukraine: donate to the DEC appeal

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) charities and their local partners are in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance. Learn more and donate what you can today

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