On Monday 14 March 2022, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities made a statement to the House on the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme. Excerpts from the statement are below.
“The Home Secretary has already expanded the family route. She has also confirmed that from tomorrow Ukrainians with passports will be able to apply for UK visas entirely online without having to visit visa application centres.
We also know, however, that the unfailingly compassionate British public want to help further. That is why today we are answering that call with the announcement of a new sponsorship scheme, Homes for Ukraine.
The scheme will allow Ukrainians with no family ties to the UK to be sponsored by individuals or organisations who can offer them a home. There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can benefit from it.
The scheme will be open to all Ukrainian nationals and residents, and they will be able to live and work in the United Kingdom for up to three years. They will have full and unrestricted access to benefits, healthcare, employment and other support. Sponsors in the UK can be of any nationality, with any immigration status, provided they have at least six months’ leave to remain within the UK.
Sponsors will have to provide accommodation for a minimum of six months. In recognition of their generosity, the Government will provide a monthly payment of £350 to sponsors for each family whom they look after. These payments will be tax-free. They will not affect benefit entitlement or council tax status. Ukrainians arriving in the United Kingdom will have access to the full range of public services—doctors, schools, and full local authority support. Of course we want to minimise bureaucracy and make the process as straightforward as possible while doing everything we can to ensure the safety of all involved. Sponsors will therefore be required to undergo necessary vetting checks, and we are also streamlining processes to security-assess the status of Ukrainians who will be arriving in the United Kingdom.
From today, anyone who wishes to record their interest in sponsorship can do so on gov.uk; the webpage has gone live as I speak. We will then send any individual who registers further information setting out the next steps in this process. We will outline what is required of a sponsor and set out how sponsors can identify a named Ukrainian individual or family who can then take up each sponsorship offer. Because we want the scheme to be up and running as soon as possible, Homes for Ukraine will initially facilitate sponsorship between people with known connections, but we will rapidly expand the scheme in a phased way, with charities, churches and community groups, to ensure that many more prospective sponsors can be matched with Ukrainians who need help. We are of course also working closely with the devolved Administrations to make sure that their kind offers of help are mobilised.”