Can I host a Ukrainian family? What are the criteria to help those fleeing Putin’s war?

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According to figures from the United Nations (UN) nearly four million people have now fled from Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. Countries across Europe have opened up their borders to the refugees in what has been labelled as the largest humanitarian crisis on the continent since World War Two.

As part of the British response, the Government announced several weeks ago the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Under the project, individuals will be offered £350 per month to house Ukrainian refugees, rent-free, for at least six months.

More than 200,000 British residents have signed up to take part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Are you eligible? Here’s all you need to know about whether you qualify to host a Ukrainian family.

Applications to host Ukrainian refugees can be made through the Government website by anyone in the UK – of any nationality, providing they have at least six months leave to remain in Britain.

For at least six months you must be able to host the refugees in your own home or in a separate property.

Charities, businesses and community groups will also be able to apply.

The Government advice says: “The most important thing is that you’re able to provide at least six months of stable accommodation.

“This can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated and free from health hazards, and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.”

To ensure the safety and privacy of guests the Government is asking only sponsors who can at least offer an empty room can apply.

A bed in a shared space would not be an appropriate offer of accommodation.

There will be no cap on how many Ukrainians can apply to be housed under the scheme according to the Government.

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Do you have to know the refugee you want to host?

People will need the name of a Ukrainian individual or family they wish to sponsor in what the Government has dubbed as the “first phase” of the scheme.

Interested parties are advised to get in contact with the Government “directly and prepare to fill in a visa application with all their details and yours”.

Online applications can be made by those with a valid Ukrainian passport, but anyone without this form of identity will need to go to a Visa Application Centre.

Countries which neighbour Ukraine, including Poland, have these centres operating within them.

If you don’t personally know of anyone fleeing Ukraine, you can still register your interest on the Government website.

What about security checks?

Those offering to be hosts will be vetted by the Government and refugees will need to have met standard security checks against the police national computer database and anti-terrorism probes as part of the visa application process.

Standard security checks will also apply to all adults in the sponsor household.

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