Public asked to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees
The UK Government has launched its new Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme to help those fleeing the war come to the UK.
However, it has stopped short of waiving the need for a visa.
Michael Gove, the UK communities secretary, confirmed there would be no limit on Ukrainians able to enter the UK through this scheme, which will allow them to work, and access benefits and healthcare.
Initially the scheme will allow sponsors in the UK to nominate a named individual or family to stay in their home. A second phase will allow charities, faith groups and communication organisations to facilitation connections between sponsors and refugees.
Gove said: “The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of helping others in their hour of need and our new Homes for Ukraine scheme offers a lifeline to those who have been forced to flee.
“I’m asking people across our country who can provide a home for Ukrainians to consider being sponsors.”
He also confirmed the UK government was “doing everything we can” to respond positively to the Scottish and Welsh governments proposals to become “super sponsors”.
First Ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford wrote to Gove today to calling for the move, which would see 3,000 Ukrainians come to Scotland in the first wave (plus 1,000 to Wales).
The pair also urged the UK government to waive visa restrictions.
Speaking after Gove’s statement to the House of Commons, Sturgeon said: “So far the UK Government has not rejected the Scottish Government’s ‘super-sponsor’ proposal – but, frustratingly, it has not yet confirmed formal agreement either, so we are not yet able to finalise timescale/detail. I hope to speak to him later to push this forward.”
Individuals wishing to offer up their homes to refugees can now register an interest on the UK Government’s website.
Sponsors will be provided with up to £350 per month to cover some of the costs. They will be vetted before a placement is made.