Ukrainian War: British offered £350 a month to take in refugees fleeing Russian invasion

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The Homes for Ukraine scheme, which will launch this week, will enable individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to bring people fleeing war to safety, even if they have no connection to the UK.

Britons providing accommodation to Ukrainian refugees via the new route will receive a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month.

It comes as the government has been condemned for the speed and scale of its efforts to bring fleeing Ukrainians to the UK.

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UK Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons told The Sunday Times she “fully understands the criticism” leveled at the government over its approach to the issue so far.

Until now, the visa route for people fleeing war in Ukraine has been limited to those with family members settled in the UK.

Ms Simmons told The Sunday Times: ‘I’ve been approached directly by British nationals telling me where they are, and that…the visa appointment is in three weeks and they’re ready with their biometrics but they’re stuck in a hostel with two young children.

“I get these messages every day. We maintain personal contact with these people and our rapid deployment teams at the border are absolutely brilliant.

“It just needs to be matched now, with enough resources to be able to process people with the speed we need. I know visa centers are responding to this now with a better queuing system and more people.

“But if it is going to increase, obviously it will have to continue and the capacity will have to increase correspondingly.”

She added: ‘I know the Home Office understands this and has it now and is moving as quickly as possible to achieve this.

The government said it “stands shoulder to shoulder” with the people of Ukraine and has made it easier for those with valid Ukrainian passports to come to the UK.

People who sponsor refugees through the new uncapped route will need to commit to the program for at least six months, but are encouraged to keep the offer as long as possible.

Those offering accommodation will be checked and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks. A website collating expressions of interest is expected to be launched on Monday.

Ukrainians sponsored through the new humanitarian pathway will be granted three years’ leave to stay in the UK, with the right to work and access public services.

Michael Gove, the secretary of Leveling Up, Housing and Communities, said the UK “stands behind Ukraine in its darkest hour” and urged people to “join the national effort” to help refugees.

But Labor has warned that “too many questions remain unanswered”.

Shadow Upgrade Secretary Lisa Nandy said it was unclear what support would be offered to vulnerable children and the elderly, whether provision would be made for unaccompanied children and what help would go to local government, sponsoring organizations and housing providers.

She said if Britons had to have a prior connection to a Ukrainian family to sponsor them, it would be “a severe limitation”.

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