UNITED KINGDOM: ‘Homes for Ukraine’ Scheme [Updated 17 March]

March 17, 2022

Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, people in the UK will be able to nominate an individual or family to stay with them rent-free, or in another property, for at least six months. Organisations such as charities and churches will also be able to sponsor refugees.

What do you need to do to host Ukrainian refugees in the UK?

Since the launch of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, more than 100,000 people in Britain have offered their homes to Ukrainian refugees. The scheme means that those who do not have a family connection to the UK can come to the country on a visa for the first time and be housed by a UK based host. Someone is eligible for the scheme if they are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022. People arriving under this scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years and access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition.

What do Britons who want to host a refugee have to do now?

Britons can host a refugee family if they live in the UK irrespective of their nationality. The only restriction is that non-Britons must have at least six months’ leave to remain in the UK. The first step is to apply through the government website.

As previously reported, applications can also be made on behalf of charities, faith and community groups or businesses. There will be some limited vetting of hosts but not as extensive as a full DBS check. More detailed guidance is expected to be released in the coming days.

Hosts will receive £350 a month tax free for up to 12 months, with one payment made per registered address, not per individual.

How will Ukrainians be matched with UK hosts?

The government will not be matching hosts with Ukrainians as initially indicated. Those who are approved as hosts will need to identify the Ukrainians they intend to host and then the concerned Ukrainian in question will need to make a visa application naming their intended host.

The difficulty with this is that many of those who are offering to host Ukrainians do not personally know any Ukrainians.  To help combat this there are a number of charities who are asking the UK public to register their interest with them and they can undertake some of the matching process. These organisations include:

What will Ukrainians need to do to come to the UK under the Scheme?

Once hosts are approved by the Home Office, they will need to get in touch with the Ukrainian individual or family that they wish to sponsor [with the relevant details]; the Ukrainian national can then fill in an online visa application and will then need to wait for a digital approval.

You can record your interest as an individual or as an organisation (for example charity, business, community group).

Further Assistance

We are committed to supporting our clients with any and all questions arising from this situation, providing assistance for the UK and across the globe.

Individuals impacted by these developments are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please contact us.