Almost 90,000 people sign up to host refugees in their homes

The Homes for Ukraine scheme will see volunteers house refugees in their homes for at least six months.

Homes for Ukraine scheme attracts 90,000 applicants within first 24 hours iStock
Scheme: Homes for Ukraine attracts 44,000 applications in under 24 hours.

Almost 90,000 people have signed up to host a refugee in their homes after the UK Government launched its Homes for Ukraine scheme. 

On Monday, communities secretary Michael Gove laid out the scheme in the House of Commons, which would see volunteers provide accommodation to refugees for a minimum of six months. 

Sponsored Ukrainians will be granted three years’ leave to remain in the UK, with entitlement to work and access public services.

The UK Government will provide a monthly payment of £350 to sponsors for each family they look after, however sponsors are not obligated to provide meals or living expenses for those they take in. 

Payments will be tax-free and will not affect benefit entitlement or council tax status.

However there has been criticism of the scheme, with the Refugee Council noting that EU countries have waived visa requirements for Ukrainians in the short-term.

Glasgow-based charity Room for Refugees said the scheme is giving people “false hope”.

The First Minister said the current response was “beset with bureaucracy and red tape” as she urged Westminster to waive all visa requirements.

She added the Scottish Government was ready to become a “super sponsor” for refugees and could welcome 3000 Ukrainians “immediately”.

This would mean people fleeing Ukraine would get clearance to come to Scotland quickly and be accommodated temporarily, while both the Government worked with local partners to provide longer term accommodation, safeguarding and access to services.

Neil Gray, the minister for refugees from Ukraine, said: “The UK Government should waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals and put people, not processes, first. 

“Working with local government, third sector and communities, we are confident we can deliver a comprehensive offer for Ukrainian refugees, which is why we have offered to act as ‘super sponsor’ as part of the UK Government’s sponsorship scheme.

“The Scottish Government is deeply concerned that the sponsorship scheme will be slow and cumbersome and lack proper support and safeguarding.

“By acting as ‘super sponsor’ rather than waiting for the UK Government’s matching process, we can provide safety and sanctuary to people immediately and welcome significant numbers of refugees from Ukraine to Scotland. 

“This would include providing temporary accommodation and wrap-around support while longer-term arrangements are put in place.”