Anyone who is in a position to help, who fulfils the sponsorship requirements and with a spare room or empty home, is urged to step up and join this 'Homes for Ukraine' new sponsorship scheme, announced on 14 March.
You can record your interest now at www.gov.uk/homes-for-ukraine to receive updates and more information on how to apply. Then on Friday 18 March, Phase One of the visa application route will open for sponsors and named contacts to apply to the scheme.
Please don't contact the District Council direct at this stage as we are still awaiting further guidance from Government as to the role we will play.
Government envisages that Homes for Ukraine will initially be used by those with known connections. Over time, they expect to see the scheme develop further, through work with charities, faith groups and community groups.
This scheme will allow Ukrainians (and their immediate family members) with no family ties to the UK to be sponsored by individuals or organisations who can offer them a home such as a spare room or unoccupied residential self-contained unit. The scheme will be uncapped.
Beneficiaries will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years and also access benefits, healthcare, employment and other support. The aim, through this route, is to offer a safe, warm welcome to as many arrivals as possible, based on the number of sponsors who come forward.
Sponsors can be of any nationality, with any immigration status, provided they have at least six months’ leave to remain within the UK. In the first phase of the scheme, sponsors will need to have a named person whom they wish to sponsor. This could be a friend, someone they are already connected with, or it could be someone they have been linked with by a charity, faith group or other organisation. The visa application route will go live on Friday 18 March.
Government are asking that sponsors provide accommodation for a minimum of six months. and are offering an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month to people who can accommodate one or more household (subject to the accommodation they have) for up to 12 months.
This thank you payment is limited to one payment per residential address. The intention is that these payments will be tax free for individuals and will not affect benefit entitlement and will legislate if necessary. Sponsors should not charge rent.
They will not be expected to cover the costs of food and living expenses, although they may wish to offer this philanthropically.
Government say they want to minimise bureaucracy and make the process as straightforward as possible while ensuring the safety of all involved. Those arriving will therefore need to meet standard security checks. Sponsors and all adults in the sponsoring households will also be subject to security checks and may be subject to safeguarding checks too.