How you can help families fleeing the war in Ukraine
Sponsored Editorial: Produced in association with the UK Government
The war in Ukraine has sent shockwaves around the world and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homeland.
Thousands of you are already helping Ukrainian refugees by donating supplies to collection centres in communities across the UK.
Charities and local organisations are ensuring food, clothing, blankets, medicines, toys and other lifeline goods are reaching refugees who have crossed borders to safety. There are also official schemes, set up to support victims of the conflict.
Here we answer some of your most asked questions...
How is the UK Government supporting Ukraine? Along with international partners the government is providing a range of economic and humanitarian assistance. There is UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals through the Ukraine Family Scheme and the new Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
What is the Ukraine Family Scheme? The Ukraine Family Scheme allows immediate and extended family members of British nationals and people settled in the UK to come to the UK. It is free to apply and people arriving under this scheme will be able to live, work and study in the UK* and access public funds.
Who is eligible for the Ukraine Family Scheme? Ukrainian nationals applying must be applying to join or accompany a UK-based family member, must be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national applying to the scheme, and must have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before January 1 2022. Find out more and apply here.
What is the Homes for Ukraine Scheme? This scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK. People arriving under this scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years* and access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition. The first phase of the scheme opened on Friday March 18 for visa applications from those who wish to travel to the UK and who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them.
Who is eligible for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme? Those eligible for the scheme are Ukrainian nationals, and immediate family members, who were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022.
How can I help? There are two ways you can help through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. If you know someone in Ukraine that you want to bring to the UK, then work with them to fill out the dedicated visa application. If you don’t know someone you can fill out an expression of interest. More information is available here
How long do I have to provide accommodation? We’re asking people to provide at least six months of stable accommodation, but you can extend this if you and your guest(s) want to do so.
What sort of space can I offer? Accommodation can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated, free from health hazards and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Am I going to be expected to cover my guest’s bills or provide meals? No, you’ll just be asked to provide the accommodation. However, there is nothing stopping you offering meals if you want. An optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month will be provided to people who do host guests.
Will there be checks carried out to protect my family and my guests? Yes, the local council will complete checks on the accommodation and living arrangements. Security checks will take place too, which will vary based on circumstances. More information is available here
Since the Homes for Ukraine Scheme was launched an incredible number of people and organisations have recorded their interest in being a sponsor.
Only some of these will ultimately become sponsors, but it is a reminder of the extraordinary generosity of the British public.
Those who don’t end up sponsoring guests from Ukraine in their homes will play an important role in helping to welcome those arriving from Ukraine and ensuring they integrate effectively into our society.
You can also help in other ways…
What charity appeal should I support? Donating money to trusted charities and aid organisations can make a rapid impact. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas.
Its mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response. By pooling resources to work as one, DEC is pivotal in co-ordinating the UK public's response to overseas disasters.
DEC charities and their local partners are in Ukraine and neighbouring countries providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance.
- £30 could provide essential hygiene supplies for three people for one month
- £50 could provide blankets for four families
- £100 could provide emergency food for two families for one month
Individual charities and community groups are a surging force of support, and can signpost people who want to volunteer or donate supplies to help refugees.
More local groups are getting involved all the time so please check with your local schools and community groups to find out how to donate supplies in your neighbourhood.
To make the whole scheme a success a national effort is needed with communities, charities, faith groups, businesses, councils and devolved governments all working in cohesion.
For more information please visit ukstandswithukraine.campaign.gov.uk
*Passport holders who apply through the online-only process will receive a permission to travel letter and a six-month entry stamp that evidences their right to work, study and claim benefits in the UK. Once in the UK, they will need to make an application to extend their stay (for up to 36 months).