British public will be asked to house Ukraine refugees

The 'sponsored' route is for Ukrainians without family links to the UK

A group of Ukrainian refugees leaves a hotel in France being used to house them as they go through the UK visa process. Getty Images

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British people will be asked to house Ukrainian refugees as part of the Government’s attempts to increase the numbers people it lets into the country.

A new “sponsored” humanitarian route for Ukrainians without family links to the UK will be outlined on Monday by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove.

The Government’s refugee effort so far has been criticised as too slow, too tied to paperwork and too limited.

Ministers will unveil a hotline and webpage where individuals, charities, businesses and community groups will be able to offer rooms to those escaping the conflict, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“On Monday, you'll get from the Levelling Up Secretary, you'll get the programme that will allow people to come in, so (if) people want to welcome (refugees) into their own homes, they can do so,” said Boris Johnson:

Refugees who enter through the new route will be allowed to stay for an initial period of 12 months during which they will be entitled to work, claim benefits and access public services.

Officials will match them with offers of free accommodation from the sponsoring individuals and organisations who will be vetted to ensure it is safe and secure.

The Telegraph said those offering housing would have to agree to take the refugees for a minimum period — potentially six months — and demonstrate that they meet appropriate standards.

A Government spokesman said the details of the scheme were being worked on “at pace” .

“The routes we have put in place follow extensive engagement with Ukrainian partners,” the spokesman said.

“This is a rapidly moving and complex picture and as the situation develops we will continue to keep our support under constant review.”

The move comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel was urged to do more to make it easier for those coming to the UK through the existing family route.

On Thursday, Ms Patel announced that from Tuesday people will be able to apply online for a visa and will no longer have to go to a processing centre to give their biometrics.

It followed criticism that the UK's response has been painfully slow in the face of the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War with around 2.2 million having fled the country.

Updated: March 11, 2022, 2:03 AM