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How to apply for Ukrainian refugee scheme: UK government’s Homes for Ukraine explained - and who is eligible

The Government has announced more details of its Homes for Ukraine scheme after it was criticised for not doing enough to help Ukrainian refugees

A new government scheme will allow people to sponsor Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK but it will initially only be open to people with known connections.

The webpage for applications opened on 14 March and allows sponsors to record their interest ahead of Phase One of the scheme opening for applications on Friday 18 March.

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Phase One will allow sponsors to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian and their family to stay with them in their home or separate property.

But how do you apply to be a part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and who is eligible?

Here’s what you need to know.

A man who fled the war in Ukraine holds a baby as they wait in line to board a bus (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

How does the Homes for Ukraine scheme work?

Homes for Ukraine was established to offer those fleeing the war in Ukraine help, and provide a path to enter the UK with safe and secure accommodation.

This will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer to share their accommodation for people fleeing from Ukraine, where 3 million people have already left the war-torn country.

Sponsors are expected to be able to provide accommodation for as long as they can, but the minimum expectation is six months.

Ukrainians arriving in the UK can live and work in the UK for up to three years and can access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education and English language tuition.

Sponsors are expected to provide a residential spare room or a separate self-contained accommodation that is unoccupied and fit for people to live in.

People applying to host refugees are only expected to provide accommodation and are not expected to cover food and living expenses, but can offer this if they wish to.

Organisations will be available to help support Ukrainians entering the UK with services such as healthcare, school placements and benefits.

A woman holds a baby as she leaves among other refugees at the border point between Romania and Ukraine (Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images)

How to apply for the Homes for Ukraine scheme

On the webpage for Homes for Ukraine, you can record your interest as an individual or as an organisation.

Through the individual route, you can check if the Ukraine Family Scheme would apply to you - which allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK.

However, if the Ukraine Family Scheme does not apply to you, and you have a named contact, the GOV.UK website encourages you to get in touch with them directly and be prepared to fill out an application form with yours and their details.

This visa application form will go live on Friday 18 March 2022 and will be available until 13 March 2023.

If you would like to participate in Homes for Ukraine but do not have a contact, you can get in touch with local charities, faith groups or local communities who are beginning to make connections between individuals.

Who is eligible to participate in Homes for Ukraine? 

Anyone who is a UK resident with at least six months’ leave to remain in the UK and with a spare room that is fit to reside in or a separate self-contained accommodation that is unoccupied for at least six months can come forward to help.

Rent is not to be charged under these circumstances.

The first phase begins with named individual contacts, and in the future, the Government hopes to move to help organisations to sponsor individuals.

People are being asked to consider what type of support they can offer. Sponsors are expected to be vetted and Ukrainian applicants will undergo “streamlined” security checks.

Those sponsoring Ukrainians will receive a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 tax-free a month which will be limited to one payment per residential address.

Payments will be made in arrears and will last for as long as you’re sponsoring someone for up to 12 months.

Local authorities will be entitled to more than £10,000 per refugee. Additional payments will be made available to support school-aged children.

Support people fleeing the devastating conflict in Ukraine: donate to the DEC appeal

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) charities and their local partners are in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance. Learn more and donate what you can today

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