Homes for Ukraine: Ukrainian flags blowing in the wind

Homes for Ukraine: the UK’s response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis

On 25 February 2022, Britons woke up to reports that Russia had launched missile attacks in central and eastern Ukraine. 

On 18 March 2022, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme, allowing British residents to host Ukrainian refugees escaping the war. 

The Government webpage stated that: “The Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety – including those with no family ties to the UK.”

100,000 people registered their interest in the scheme on the first day. 

Less than two months later, over 37,000 Ukrainians had arrived in the UK, sponsored by the Homes for Ukraine scheme. But as the initial problems with the scheme began to disappear, and a regular stream of Ukrainians arrived in the UK, potential new problems caused by oversights in the early stages started appearing in their place.

Reports circulated in national newspapers: stories of Ukrainian refugees being left homeless after the sponsorship broke down, DBS checks failing to pick up criminal records, and councils failing to carry out checks on hosts before refugees arrived. 

100 days after the invasion of Ukraine began, patterns are starting to emerge as more and more people report difficulties with the scheme. 

Did the government’s attempts to speed up the sponsorship process result in a lack of regulation, putting refugees in danger?

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Feature image credit: Karollyne Hubert on Unsplash

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