'Thank you' payments for Britons offering refugees a home

People sponsoring refugees will be required to commit to the scheme for a minimum of six months

Some Ukrainian refugees trying to reach Britain have had to go through visa centres in France and Belgium. Getty Images
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

Britons offering homes to Ukrainian refugees through a new humanitarian route will receive a “thank you” payment of £350 ($456) per month, the government has announced.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to bring people fleeing the war to safety — even if they have no ties to the UK.

In the weeks since the war began, only Ukrainians with family already in the UK have been allowed entry.

The government's reaction to the crisis has been criticised as too little and too slow by some neighbours in Europe where more open-door policies have been introduced.

In the Homes for Ukraine initiative, sponsors can nominate a named Ukrainian individual or family to stay with them in their home, or offer a separate property for them to use rent-free.

People sponsoring refugees through the new route will be required to commit to the scheme for a minimum of six months, but are encouraged to keep up the offer for as long as they can.

Those offering accommodation will be vetted and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks.

As a “thank you”, sponsors will receive payments of £350 per month. A website gathering expressions of interest is set to launch on Monday.

The government said it is also working to enable communities, the voluntary sector and charitable and religious organisations to sponsor groups of Ukrainians.

Michael Gove, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, said the UK “stands behind Ukraine in their darkest hour”, and urged people to “join the national effort” to help refugees.

“The UK stands behind Ukraine in their darkest hour and the British public understand the need to get as many people to safety as quickly as we can,” he said.

“I urge people across the country to join the national effort and offer support to our Ukrainian friends. Together we can give a safe home to those who so desperately need it.”

But Labour cautioned that “too many questions remain unanswered” about the new scheme.

Shadow levelling-up secretary Lisa Nandy said it was unclear what support would be offered to vulnerable children and older people, and whether provision would made for unaccompanied children.

Updated: March 13, 2022, 8:18 AM