How do I sponsor a Ukrainian refugee? Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme explained - and other ways to help

More than two million people have fled Ukraine since Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade the European country

Russia’s invasion has led an estimated two million people to flee the country, with most arriving in Poland.

The mass movement of those affected has been described as “the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two” by UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi.

The harrowing tales of escape from Ukraine has led to an outpouring of support from the international community, with many wondering what they can do to directly help refugees.

So here’s how you can get involved.

A large number of refugees have been fleeing Ukraine after Russia invaded the country. (Credit: Getty)A large number of refugees have been fleeing Ukraine after Russia invaded the country. (Credit: Getty)
A large number of refugees have been fleeing Ukraine after Russia invaded the country. (Credit: Getty)

Is the UK accepting Ukrainian refugees?

Currently, only Ukrainian refugees with family ties to the UK can apply for a visa.

Home secretary Priti Patel detailed the terms of the Ukraine Family scheme, stating that those who have relatives in the UK will be able to travel to the country and live for up to three years.

Relatives include parents, step-parents, grandparents, children, step-children and grandchildren.

The UK has been criticised for not waiving visa requirements and forcing refugees to travel to Paris and Brussels to apply for them.

As of Monday (7 March) the Home Office admitted only 300 visas had been granted from more than 17,000 applications.

On Sunday (13 March) Levelling Up and Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove said the figure had gone up to 3,000 visas.

Can I sponsor a Ukrainian refugee?

Mr Gove said the number of Ukrainian refugees entering the UK is set to rise to “tens of thousands” thanks to a new sponsorship visa route.

The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, which will begin taking expressions of interest on Monday (14 March), will allow Brits to house Ukrainians fleeing the war.

People who sign up will have to go through a vetting process, while refugee applicants will undergo security screening.

Michael Gove said the first successful applicants would begin arriving in the UK next week.

Those looking to host a refugee at home can also register their interest in helping to provide accommodation by signing up with a relevant charity.

Refugees At Home is just one resource you can register with to help connect yourself with refugees in need of a room.

How else can I help Ukrainian refugees?

There are now several fundraisers and donation banks set up to help those in Ukraine.

The DEC raised an incredible £55m in just one day after launching their Ukraine appeal on 3 March.

The fundraiser is still ongoing to send humanitarian aid to those who have been affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Clothing donations are also being sought.

In-person stations have been popping up around the country to allow drop off donations.

You can also make monetary donations directly to charities and organisations such as:

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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