UK issues 4,000 visas to Ukrainian relatives as Britons set to open homes to refugees

Politics

The UK has issued 4,000 visas under the Ukraine Family Scheme ahead of launching a further programme for Britons to house refugees.

The Home Office said the latest number is as of 3pm on 13 March, after Communities Secretary Michael Gove told Sky News on Sunday “more than 3,000” visas had been issued.

Under the Ukraine Family Scheme, relatives of British nationals, UK settled persons and some others have been able to apply to come to the UK since 4 March.

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Residential block in Kyiv is shelled

The latest figures show 17,100 applications have been submitted, with 10,600 appointments made at a visa application centre.

A total of 5,600 applications have been confirmed for processing, with 1,800 of those yet to be processed.

Mr Gove told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme he estimates “tens of thousands” of visas will be provided to Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia.

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In other developments

This map shows the advances made by Russia on Day 19 of the war
Image:
This map shows the advances made by Russia on Day 19 of the war

Homes for Ukraine

On Monday afternoon, Mr Gove will set out the details of a new programme called Homes for Ukraine through which people in the UK can offer to host Ukrainians in their homes.

British hosts will receive £350 in “thank you” payments a month and be expected to commit to a minimum of six months of housing an individual or a group.

The Homes for Ukraine programme will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to bring people escaping the war to safety.

They will not need to have any previous ties to the UK, unlike the current Ukraine Family Scheme.

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Rabbi whose mother fled Nazis taking in refugees

Security checks

Anyone with a spare room or home can offer to house a Ukrainian. The hosts will be vetted – understood to be a DBS check – and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks.

Ukrainians who come in through both schemes will be granted three years’ leave to remain in the UK and will be entitled to work and access public services, including the NHS.

Mr Gove told Sky News local councils will be given more than £10,000 per refugee to help fund them, while “additional payments” will be available to support school-age children.

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He also said a website gathering expressions of interest from potential hosts will be launched on Monday and by Friday people should start to be being matched.

Mr Gove added: “I would expect that in a week’s time we’ll see the first people coming here under the scheme.”

However, he would not answer whether his family would be offering up a room in his own house.

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