UK hosts thanked on first anniversary of Homes for Ukraine scheme
The government has hailed the British public’s generosity and their enduring commitment to freedom one year on from the first Homes for Ukraine arrival.
In a video message today (25 March), the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK has also thanked those who have given sanctuary through the UK’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, one of the fastest, biggest and most generous visa programmes in British history.
Since the scheme’s launch 117,700 Ukrainians have been invited into the homes and hearts of thousands of family homes up and down the country. With the war still continuing there are now many Ukrainians looking for re-matching and sponsors are urged to come forward.
New government data, published this week shows more than 28,300 Ukrainians of working age (16-64) were in paid employment within around six months of their arrival.
To strengthen the support for Ukrainians to settle into their new homes the government is providing the following:
- Per capita funding for councils for each new arrival including £150 million to support guests into their own homes and extended as well as increased ‘thank you’ payments for sponsors
- £11.5 million towards intensive English language courses and employment support for up to 10,000 individuals to boost the number of Ukrainians entering the labour market and to help those already employed into higher-skilled roles, this is in addition 20,500 Ukrainian children currently attending local schools
- £100m for 145 councils in England by the end of March as part of the £500m Local Authority Housing Fund to help obtain, repurpose or build housing for arrivals on resettlement programmes.
This also comes ahead of this weekend’s England v Ukraine EURO 24 qualifier at Wembley, with 1,000 free tickets offered to Ukrainians and their sponsors.
Levelling up Secretary, Michael Gove said:
“One year on from the first person arriving in the UK under our Homes For Ukraine Scheme I remain incredibly proud of this country’s response, with the British public having shown their true generosity of spirit and their enduring belief in freedom.
“Ukrainians have embraced every aspect of their new lives in the UK – sending their children to local schools, entering the jobs market and working on their English language skills. This is proof not only of the immense bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people but the huge value they are bringing to our communities.”
Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, Vadym Volodymyrovych Prystaiko said:
“I am honoured and humbled by your countries generosity and am grateful to all the local councils and all the families who have opened up their homes, their hearts and sometimes wallets to Ukrainians fleeing from the horrors of war.
“160,000 Ukrainian women and children have reached British shores and have been welcomed in your communities and schools. But some still need your help. The unprovoked and unjustified war still rages in the Ukraine and I ask those who can, please come forward and offer your support.”
Homes for Ukraine sponsor, John from Richmond said:
“I’m very glad that I have been able to provide sanctuary for two people who would otherwise be suffering greatly in Ukraine.
“It’s a big commitment for sure but I try not to overthink it. Consider what a gift you are providing to someone escaping from an unbearable situation, possibly in fear of their life. I am very glad that I decided to become a host. I would encourage anyone else considering giving it a try.”
The Department recently wrote to all those who have previously expressed interest in becoming Homes for Ukraine hosts to thank them for coming forward to offer their help in rematching Ukrainian families with hosts. Those hosting Ukrainians who have already been in the UK for over 12 months will be entitled to the increased thank you payments.
The Local Authority Housing funding was previously announced in December, to support Ukrainian and Afghan arrivals into independent accommodation before eventually providing a new and permanent supply of housing for local communities across England. The fund is designed to help support communities which have been particularly generous in welcoming new arrivals, and will build a sustainable stock of affordable housing for the long term future.
£10.55m has already been given to councils, with an expected £122.5m of further payments expected by the end of March, providing up to 4,000 homes by 2024.
Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Ukrainian arrivals are awarded the right to work in the UK for up to three years from arrival and are entitled to the same benefits and support as UK nationals.