How to take in a Ukrainian refugee

Find out how you can help a family in need by offering them refuge in your home.

Ukrainian refugee

by Lorna White |

If you've been impacted by the heartbreaking events in Ukraine, it's understandable why you'll want to do anything you can to help those families in need.

The number of Ukrainian refugees in need of help and shelter is on the rise, and many of these people are travelling with children, so it's essential they find a safe place to stay until they can safely return home to their country.

If you're keen to join the thousands of people who have already signed up to take on a refugee in the UK, we've put together of everything you need to think about before applying and more about the application process.

Read more about why Juliet Stevenson has opened her home to Ukrainian refugees

How does the government scheme work?

The Homes for Ukraine scheme opened on March 18, 2022, and on the first day over 100,000 British people signed up to host refugees.

The good news is there is no cap or limit on the number of refugees who can be taken in under the scheme, so if you still want to apply you can.

The system has been criticised for how long the process is for getting the refugees over to the UK and in their sponsors home. Not only is the paperwork for both parties very lengthy, but there's also a number of checks that first need to be taken by the government, not to mention the required visas any Ukrainians will need.

Record your interest and apply to be a host here

Who can apply?

Anyone in the UK can apply to be a host, and you can register your interest here. You also have to be able to commit to hosting the refugee(s) for at least six months.

Charities and community groups can also use this scheme to apply.

Everyone offering to house refugees will be vetted by the Government and all Ukrainian applicants will also be security checked before being matched with a host. Local authorities will check that properties are fit to host refugees, and DBS checks will be carried out for those hosting children and vulnerable adults.

Do I have to know the refugee?

For the first phase of the scheme, hosts must name a specific person or Ukrainian family they would like to sponsor.

The government have advised people to "get in contact with them directly, and prepare to fill in a visa application with all their details and yours".

There are a number of charities working to link people in the UK up with Ukrainians, so if you're keen to find a refugee or family, it might be a good idea to go via these channels.

Refugees at Home

Room for Refugees

Shelter 4 Ukraine

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If you don't know a refugee, you can still register your interest online.

Do hosts get paid?

UK households hosting a refugee will be paid £350 (tax free) per month. This is a per household payment, so regardless of how many refugees you're housing, the payment will be a £350 payment per month.

Local authorities will also receive £10,500 in extra funding per refugee for support services, with additional money available for children of school age.

Support services include registering Ukrainian children in schools, and arranging English language classes and job centre appointments for the refugees.

Will the refugees bring their pets?

If they have pets, the refugees will be able to bring their pets to the UK, so it's worth considering whether or not you'll be able to host a pet too. The government has streamlined the quarantine process for these animals and will cover the costs involved.

What rights will they have?

Any Ukrainian refugees who are granted a visa will be able to work here in the UK and will be able to access state benefits and public services for three years.

Children will also be able to attend school here in the UK and be given English lessons to help their language skills.

You can find out more about the scheme here

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