Homes for Ukraine scheme information and FAQs
Information and frequently asked questions on the Homes for Ukraine scheme
Homes for Ukraine
A huge thanks to all the people in the Stirling area who are offering support and solidarity for the people of Ukraine.
These FAQs reflect the guidance relating to Homes for Ukraine, available at 17 May 2022.
They are subject to change, and will be updated as soon as possible following any update to the guidance.
Unless otherwise stated, these FAQs apply to both the Homes for Ukraine and the Scottish Super Sponsor Scheme.
What is the “Homes for Ukraine” scheme?
A UK Government scheme that allows people in the UK to host people displaced from Ukraine, who do not have any family ties in the UK.
The scheme is being rolled out in phases:
- Individual members of the public can sponsor someone from Ukraine who meets the eligibility criteria (see below).
- In Scotland, Sponsors can be matched with a Ukrainian individual or family via the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor Scheme.
- In later phases, organisations and community groups will be able to sponsor multiple guests.
Who can be a “Sponsor”?
A Sponsor of the Homes for Ukraine scheme can be anyone in the UK (of any nationality and any immigration status, providing they have at least six months leave to remain in the UK) with a spare room, or separate, unoccupied self-contained accommodation.
Who from Ukraine is eligible for the scheme?
A Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, who were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022. Those 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.
How do I record my interest in becoming a Sponsor through the scheme?
You can record your interest via the UK Government portal.
I’m part of an organisation and want to help - what role can I play?
Firstly, you can record your interest via the UK Government portal. The UK Government has stated that charities, businesses and faith and community groups will have a big role to play in connecting people from Ukraine with those who wish to sponsor, along with welcoming refugees feeling the conflict.
In future phases, the UK and Scottish Governments will help organisations to allow them to sponsor individuals directly, but at the current phase only named contacts can be Sponsors.
What is the Scottish Super Sponsor scheme and how is different to the Homes for Ukraine scheme?
The Scottish Super Sponsor scheme removes the need for people from Ukraine to be matched with a Sponsor prior to being given permission to travel to the UK.
The Scottish Super Sponsor scheme is accessible through the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine portal. Ukrainians can select ‘The Scottish Government’ when asked for the name of their Sponsor. When they are provided with a visa, they can then travel onto the UK.
The Scottish Super Sponsor scheme speeds up the matching process between individual Sponsors, Ukrainians and an available property. This may be a social or private rental property or, where Sponsors have agreed and checks have been undertaken, a Sponsor’s property (see ‘What is the role of a Sponsor’ below) or another property from the Homes for Ukraine portal.
Councils will carry out housing and disclosure checks before putting suitable properties and Sponsors forward for matching.
More information on what happens when people arrive via the Scottish Super Sponsor scheme and matching can be found on the Scottish Government website.
I have a family member fleeing Ukraine – what can I do?
You do not need to record your interest as a Sponsor if you have a family member fleeing Ukraine. They should apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa instead.
What is the role of a Sponsor?
In Scotland, all Sponsors:
- And adults aged over 16 in the Sponsors household, must agree to an enhanced Disclosure Scotland check, including an ID check.
- Must agree to a home visit undertaken by an officer or contractor instructed by their Local Authority, in order to assess the suitability of the accommodation offered.
- Must check their mortgage lenders website for further guidance, or seek the agreement of their landlord if they are a tenant.
- Must notify their home insurance provider that they will be hosting people from Ukraine, prior to their arrival.
- Are required to provide suitable accommodation for a minimum of 6 months.
- Should support and help people from Ukraine to adapt to life in Scotland, initially checking if they have enough food and supplies such as toiletries, along with checking if they have access to a mobile phone and internet to stay in touch with family members.
- Should help direct the people from Ukraine that they are hosting to public services, for example, registering with a GP or NHS dentist.
If you are a Sponsor that has not undergone the appropriate checks, or you become aware that someone has matched privately with a displaced person with a Super Sponsor visa, contact the Council’s Resettlement Team so that all safeguarding checks can be carried out as soon as possible.
Sponsors who are not part of the Scottish Super Sponsor scheme are also responsible for staying in contact with the people from Ukraine prior to their arrival. This includes helping to organise and coordinate arrival in the UK, meeting them on arrival, and facilitating transfer to accommodation. Sponsors are also responsible for signposting the people from Ukraine to public services and assist them with tasks such as registering with a local GP surgery.
Onward travel in the UK for Ukrainian people
From Sunday 20 March, Ukrainians arriving in the country as part of the scheme have been eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, bus, light rail, and coach.
This will be free of charge to anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales. Further information is available on the National Rail website.
What additional support is on offer from Stirling Council for people arriving under the scheme?
The Council is holding regular drop-in sessions with Ukrainian families/individuals. Council staff will be available at these sessions to give advice and information on how to access a range of local services.
What NHS services are available for Ukrainian people?
Anyone in Scotland, regardless of nationality or residence status, can receive emergency treatment and register with a GP practice to receive general medical services, at no charge.
Health boards will ensure that displaced people have access to a level of primary and secondary health care services designed to ensure their health needs are identified and addressed appropriately and effectively.
To download an NHS welcome pack for Ukrainian people, please see below.
Are there any online beginners English language classes available for Ukrainian families?
Free, regular online live interactive sessions for improving Ukrainian families’ conversational English – led by a Ukrainian speaking teacher – are being run by e-Sgoil. The beginners English online learning sessions will bring displaced families together and be an opportunity to make connections and discuss relevant issues in a supportive community setting. It may also be an invaluable starting point for children and young people to gain confidence in speaking English ahead of joining Scottish schools.
The classes take place every Thursday from 6pm to 7.30pm
To sign up, contact e-Sgoil at email@example.com and you will be sent a link to access the meeting.
Will I be charged a fee or asked to provide financial information to become a Sponsor?
No – you will not be asked to pay a fee or make a payment of any kind, as part of becoming a sponsor and this includes the visa process.
Any requests for you to do so will likely be a scam and should be reported.
How long is a sponsorship for?
Six months is the minimum for the scheme, but you may want to be prepare for a longer-term commitment for several reasons including:
- there is no indication things will be better in Ukraine at that point.
- local authorities may not have enough housing stock to meet their needs even though they will have access to housing and other benefits.
As a Sponsor, will I get a home visit?
Yes, the Council will visit you to check that the accommodation you are offering is appropriate and that everything is in place for the arrival of people from Ukraine.
A list of the things that will be checked in the house can be found under the property checks section on this Scottish Government website. The Council will be in touch beforehand to arrange the visit.
What Disclosure checks will take place for Sponsors?
Potential Sponsors who are matched with Ukrainians – whether they have offered to host adults only or families with children – will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure check. Anyone aged over 16 in the household will also be required to undergo the Disclosure check.
Under the scheme, Sponsors will be able to apply for an expedited Disclosure check, which will offer the same level of scrutiny as the initial checks carried out for those working with children and vulnerable adults. There will be no cost to Sponsors for these Disclosure checks.
If you have already registered under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, you may have been subject to a different level of disclosure check, but will need to agree to an enhanced Disclosure Scotland check if this has not been done.
How will Sponsors know when to carry out the Disclosure checks?
Sponsors will be contacted as part of the matching service and guided through the Disclosure check application process.
Three pieces of information will be requested from each individual to support identification:
- where possible, one should be photographic (for example, a current passport, driving licence, a Young Scot card or a National Entitlement Card, etc.).
- one should confirm the name and address of the individual.
- one should confirm the date of birth of the individual.
What if I have safeguarding concerns relating to any of the resettlement schemes?
If you, or anyone you know, has any concerns about potential abuses of the scheme or people involved in the scheme, you should report them at the earliest opportunity to the Council by calling 01786 404040.
If you are concerned that a crime has been committed, or if there is a threat of a crime being committed, this should be reported to the police immediately.
What security checks happen for vulnerable people arriving from Ukraine?
The requirements on security checks will not apply to unaccompanied children and protected adults arriving from Ukraine. Separate arrangements for their care are being urgently considered, and further guidance is expected soon.
How do I get my house ready?
If you have a spare room or other space you can offer, then think about how your day-to-day life will work. Just as when you take in a lodger, you will want to think about how to offer everyone privacy and establish ground rules. For example, can they help themselves to food? Will you all eat dinner together? What about washing clothes and changing sheets? How can you ensure they get enough privacy?
For some tips and advice on getting your home ready, check out this downloadable guide from the No Accommodation Network.
Will my Council Tax discount/reduction be affected?
Council tax discounts, for example for single occupancy, will not be affected if you are a Sponsor under the scheme.
If a property is used exclusively as the sole or main residence of Ukrainian people under the scheme, then it is exempt from Council Tax. Please complete the relevant form on this webpage.
If you have a Council Tax reduction, the £350 optional ‘thank you’ payment will not be counted as income or capital so it won’t be affected.
Will I be paid rent?
No. You should not charge any rent to Ukrainian people staying with you.
Will I get help with the extra costs?
In recognition of people’s generosity, and given the additional costs associated with helping, the UK Government is providing an optional ‘Thank You’ payment of £350 per month to people who can accommodate one or more household (subject to the accommodation they have).
The ‘Thank You’ payment will be administered by the Council and be limited to one payment per residential address. You will continue to receive payments for as long as you sponsor somebody and for up to 12 months. This payment will be made in arrears.
Prior to payment, eligibility checks will be carried out which will include a visit to your home. Applications can now be made for this payment.
Will the Ukrainian people staying with me receive any immediate financial support?
Yes, the Council will provide an interim payment of £200 per person for living costs on arrival. This does not need to be repaid. Details on how this will be distributed will be confirmed in due course.
Will Ukrainian people be able to access benefits?
Most people of working age will qualify for Universal Credit, which is paid to people currently unemployed but seeking work or on a low income. More information on how to apply for this benefit and other benefits that may be applicable, including child benefit and Scottish Child Payments, will be available at the drop-in sessions.
Additional money advice, support with benefit applications or budgeting for Ukrainian people is available via Stirling Council Advice Services either by calling 01786 233528 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can Ukrainian people open a bank account?
To open a bank account, Ukrainian people will need to provide their UK visa, Ukrainian passport and proof of address. As it is unlikely they will have proof of address, the Council’s Resettlement Team can provide them with a suitable letter which is accepted by most banks.
What about my mortgage?
It is recommended that you check with your landlord or mortgage provider about whether they have any policies which you need to factor in. It is important you think through any possible implications for your mortgage or lease before the Ukrainian people staying with you arrive in the UK.
For information on properties purchased through a Scottish Government shared equity scheme, or if you are in rented accommodation, visit the Scottish Government website.
What about my household insurance?
For homeowners accommodating people from Ukrainian under the scheme, in their home there is no need to contact your insurer, on the basis they are accommodated as non-paying guests. Please refer to the Association of British Insurers’ statement for more details.
In other situations, including where the Sponsor is a landlord or a tenant, you will need to contact your insurer.
Am I expected to provide meals too or just accommodation?
As a Sponsor, you are only expected to provide accommodation. However, there is nothing stopping Sponsors offering meals should they wish. Sponsors will not be expected to cover the costs of food and living expenses, although you may wish to offer this, especially in early weeks while the Ukrainian people you are hosting are finding their feet in the UK. You should not expect them to carry out any unpaid work.
Will a child I'm sponsoring be able to go to school?
Local authorities will be required to provide school and nursery places for eligible children staying within their areas. Please go to your local catchment school to enrol the young person. Ukrainian families will need their ID, the young person’s ID and their visa letter.
Children aged 3-5, and eligible 2 year-olds, are entitled to free childcare. Please go to your local nursery who can support you with the application process. Places may not always be available in the nursery nearest you.
If a parent/guardian wishes their child to attend a school other than the catchment school, they are required to make a placing request. This can take up to 8 weeks to be processed.
Follow these links for more details on our nursery and school admissions policies:
Are Ukrainian children entitled to free transport to and from school?
Our school transport policy applies to Ukrainian children, so if you live more than 2 miles from your catchment school you are entitled to free transport. If the child has been allocated a school through a placing request, they are not eligible for support with transport.
How do Ukrainian people secure a biometric card?
As soon as possible after Ukrainian people arrive, they should apply for the biometric card (BRP card) and extension via the UK Government website. Once the application has been completed, the applicant will be invited to an appointment. The appointment will be in either Glasgow or Edinburgh. If there is a problem with attending the appointment, please inform the Council’s Resettlement Team.
What if I can no longer be a Sponsor?
Life is unpredictable and our personal circumstances change. If for any reason you need to end the sponsorship arrangement early, you should inform the Council’s Resettlement Team as soon as possible. The Council will help the people staying with you find alternative accommodation.
More details about terminating a match early can be found on the Scottish Government website.
What happens at the end of the six month sponsorship period?
Sponsors are committed to hosting the people from Ukrainian for a minimum of 6 months, but you may choose to continue beyond the initial six months if you and the Ukrainian individual/family wish to do so.
If you want to end the arrangement at six months, you should let the Ukrainian people staying with you know in plenty of time (for example, one month) so they can make other arrangements. You should also inform the Council’s Resettlement Team as soon as possible.
If you want to end the agreement beyond the six month period, it is asked that you give the Ukrainian people staying with you 2 months’ notice, to allow time for alternative measures to be put into place.
Ukrainian people will have access to public funds during their time in the UK, and at the end of their six month sponsorship will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need further support, the Council can support them in finding alternative accommodation. Further guidance on this will be provided in due course.
Where can I find more information on these schemes?
The Scottish Government also has a list of key contact numbers, factsheets and other resources
If your questions haven’t been answered above, send us an email.