Homes for Ukraine was launched in March 2022 to allow Ukrainian nationals to apply for visas to join family/sponsors in the UK. The scheme is for Ukrainian nationals who were residents in Ukraine prior to January 2022 as well as their immediate family members, who may or may not be Ukrainian nationals.
There are many accounts and groups online offering/seeking sponsorship following which, concerns have been raised of possible exploitation – of both the sponsor and the sponsored. As such, it is advised that those seeking to host a Ukrainian (individual or family), reach out to registered charities who have developed a framework for support, to register their interest and be matched accordingly.
In partnership with CSAN, St John of God’s Hospitaller Services (SJOG), launched a matching service for the Catholic community in September 2022 – it is a matching, training and support service for both hosts and guests. SJOG will work with European counterparts to support displaced Ukrainians in neighbouring countries to Ukraine, advising those willing to be matched to UK hosts and preparing them for life in the UK, whilst also arranging their transport to the UK – a safe for them to reach the UK whilst receiving the necessary support and orientation.
Hosts will be volunteers able to offer a minimum 6-month accommodation, free of rent to the Ukrainian individual/family they are matched with – this may be a room in their home or a self-contained property. The local authority will support with wraparound support, but hosts should expect to support with the welcome and integration process. The host will be eligible to receive £350 from the local authority to support with hosting. These ‘thank-you payments have been extended from 12 months to 2 years – if the hosting arrangement continues for over 12 months, hosts will be eligible for a £500 ‘thank-you’ payment for their ongoing support.
Further guidance can be found on the SJOG webpage.
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme was expanded in June 2022 to allow children under the age of 18 to travel to the UK via the scheme, without an accompanying parent or guardian, to reside with friends or relatives in the UK.
Further information can be found on the Gov.UK page regarding the processing of applications from unaccompanied children.
Taking into consideration the wellbeing and safeguarding concerns for children, sponsors will be asked to host for up to 3 years, or until the child is 18 years of age, but with a minimum hosting commitment of 6 months. DBS checks are required for sponsors and if there is no relation to the child, it must be an enhanced DBS with barred list check.
UPDATE: The matching service has been extended until June 2024. Additionally, SJOG Homes for Ukraine will also be assisting Ukrainians in the UK to move on from being hosted and find appropriate private accommodation. If you have a property to rent, you can get in touch with the team via their website.
For further information regarding responses to the war in Ukraine, kindly see the CSAN toolkit which is updated in line with government guidance.
Image: Ukraine march and rally. Credit: Catholic Church England and Wales on Flickr