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Immigration Update: Homes for Ukraine Scheme

The UK Home Office’s 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme came into force on Friday 18 March 2022 as a response to the war in Ukraine and the large numbers of Ukrainian nationals and their families being forced to flee the country. Set out below are the main eligibility criteria for both applicants and sponsors, and how both can apply to the Scheme.

Eligibility for Applicants

The Scheme will allow people with no family ties to the UK to be sponsored by individuals or organisations who can offer them a home in the UK.

The Scheme is open to Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members who were resident in Ukraine before 1st January 2022. The Scheme will require standard security checks to be carried out on all applicants to the Scheme.

Individuals arriving in the UK under the Scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years and can access NHS healthcare, benefits, employment support, education and other support.

There is no limit on how many people can be sponsored on this Scheme – the Home Office have said the UK will welcome as many Ukrainians as wish to come and that have matched sponsors.

Eligibility for Sponsors

Sponsors (i.e. the hosts of the successful applicants to the Scheme) can be of any nationality, with any immigration status, provided they have at least six months’ leave to remain in the UK. Currently, during ‘Phase One’ of the Scheme, sponsors must be named individuals, but in future the intention is to open eligibility for the Scheme to charities, private sponsors, businesses and community groups. Over 100,000 prospective sponsors had registered their interest for the Scheme within 24 hours of it being announced.

Sponsors are asked to provide accommodation (rent-free) for a minimum of six months and an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month will be offered to people who can accommodate one or more household for up to 12 months.

The Scheme will require security checks to be carried out on the sponsors who have volunteered under the Scheme, and local authorities will carry out checks on the accommodation being offered to confirm that it is suitable for occupation by the number of people being sponsored. For example, the checks will confirm that the accommodation is safe and free from health hazards, is heated and gives the applicants adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.  

How to Apply

The Scheme opened online on Friday 18 March 2022. Either the sponsor or the individual being sponsored can put in the application, completing a single form which collects both sides’ details.

Currently, during ‘Phase One’ of the Scheme, there is no system in place for sponsors to be able to apply under the Scheme where they do not have the name of the applicant they would like to sponsor. The Government website recommends that potential sponsors should approach charities, faith groups or local community organisations to help make connections and be matched with an applicant in need.

Potential sponsors can register their interest, receive updates and information on how to apply here

Further Information

For further information on the Scheme, or for any other business or personal immigration advice, please contact a member of Ashfords’ Immigration Team.

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