This information applies to the Homes for Ukraine only, and does not cover displaced persons already in the UK, persons transferring from visitor visas, unaccompanied minors, nor individuals coming in via the Ukraine Family Scheme

Ukrainian Family Scheme and repatriation of British and Ukrainian nationals to the UK

The Ukraine Family Scheme allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK. Read further information about this scheme and Visa guidance on GOV.UK 

Ukraine Extension Scheme

A Ukraine Extension Scheme visa allows you to live, work and study in the UK if you’re  Ukrainian, or the family member of someone who is Ukrainian.  You can apply to this scheme if you hold any valid UK visa, or held on that expired on or after 1 January 2022.  View further information on GOV.UK 

The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is open to Ukrainian nationals who were residents in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 and also to their immediate family members (for example spouse/partner and children under 18) who may be of other nationalities, to be sponsored to come to the UK. Applicants can apply from Ukraine or from any other third country.

If you want to offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine, you can become a ‘sponsor’ as part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme 

Children under the age of 18 must be applying as part of a family unit which includes their parent or legal guardian to be eligible for the scheme. That family unit must stay together in the same sponsor accommodation.

Children who are currently outside of the UK can use the scheme to reunite with their parent or legal guardian who is currently living in the UK, if they are the child’s sponsor.

Unaccompanied children who are under 18 are not allowed to be sponsored by, or reside with, unrelated sponsors, unless they are their legal guardian.

The Scheme allows individuals to sponsor named Ukrainians.

The number of people who can access this scheme is uncapped and is dependent on the capacity of the sponsors who come forward.

Guests will be able to live and work in the UK for up to 3 years and access benefits, healthcare, employment, and other support. Those arriving need to meet standard security checks prior to being issued with a visa.

Please note that the Council does not have any involvement in how Visas are processed or entry clearance requirements.  United Kingdom Visa and Immigration (UKVI) are responsible for this. For information on the Visa Application process or to track the progress of a Visa application please apply on GOV.UK or phone 0808 164 8810.

Sponsors and all adults in sponsors’ households will also be subject to initial Police National Computer (PNC), criminal records and Warnings Index checks by the Home Office. Guests arriving from Ireland should only travel to the UK once they have a Visa.

Information for Sponsors  

Interested in becoming a sponsor?

If you have a spare room or home and can make it available for at least six months, you can register your interest to sponsor a guest through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

A monthly thank you payment of £350 per month will be paid to you for the time you are sponsoring and hosting someone. This payment is optional and is paid monthly in arrears.

If you need to contact the council about your thank you payment, please email homesforukrainians@wirral.gov.uk.

Requirements for Sponsors

Sponsors are required to:

  • meet the eligibility and suitability requirements to be approved as a sponsor.
  • provide suitable accommodation for a minimum of 6 months. Accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards ensuring the property is safe for guests and in a suitable condition.
  • support and help guests to adapt to life in the UK, 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.
  • sponsors should help direct their guests to public services for example, registering with a GP or NHS dentist.

Further information on the role of sponsors is available from the government.

I’ve registered as a sponsor, what happens next?

Sponsors and guests will find each other and match themselves externally. There is no single route to matching, and both the sponsor and guest could use a number of channels to find a match. They could for example already have a relationship in place with a friend in the UK/Ukraine, they could be friends of friends, or could find a sponsor or guest through a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), charity, or other channel.

Once you have registered as a sponsor and found a guest, you will need to follow the government process which can be found on GOV.UK

The government will process the visa application and enter your details onto the portal (Foundry System).  The Visa process is carried out by United Kingdom Visa and Immigration and is completely separate from requirements on local authorities.  Local authorities are responsible for the check below.

Checks for Sponsors:

 

  1. Property Inspections
  2. Safeguarding
  3. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks

1. Property inspections

Wirral Council will receive notification of your application to participate in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, and will need to carry out checks to ensure the accommodation is suitable.  The following provides information on the accommodation check that will be undertaken:

There will be no charge to the sponsor for this check.

Wirral Council will ensure the property is suitable for the number and profile of people intending to live in it, with access to adequate facilities and that there are no serious safety issues.

The government asks the Council to check that the accommodation:

  • is kept clean and in a reasonable state;
  • has adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
  • has access to drinking water;
  • has a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire);
  • has a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
  • has sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
  • has safe gas appliances and fittings and flues; Wirral Council are requesting a gas safety certificate to be supplied.
  • has safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;
  • is reasonably free from damp or mould;
  • has doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
  • is easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.

If, on checking the accommodation it is found to be unsafe and/or unsuitable, we would speak with you about changes that could be made to remedy any issues before deeming the property unsuitable.

Please note, the Council retains the discretion to use enforcement powers to require that issues are remedied if it is judged that this is necessary and proportionate.

2. Safeguarding

Wirral Council has a duty of care to ensure people living in Wirral are protected from the risk of abuse, harm or neglect.  This responsibility extends to potential guests from Ukraine along with a responsibility to safeguard people in households where people from Ukraine will live.

A range of checks will be carried out by the UK government on people from Ukraine applying for a Visa.  These checks must be passed in order for a Visa to be issued.

Checks will also be carried out on the sponsor and any other individuals living in the sponsor household over the age of 16, and the Council will work with its partners and internal departments including Police, Adult Services and Children’s Services to establish whether there is any information held by agencies to suggest individuals in the host address are not suitable to act as hosts.

The council will carry out a wellness visit once your guests have arrived to ensure there are no concerns by either the sponsor or the guest. If you or your guest need more support, further visits can be made to provide this.

3. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks

In line with government guidance, a DBS check will be required for every person that lives in the sponsor household that is over the age of 16 years.

Where required, a council officer will visit you and work with you to complete the DBS application form. Sponsors will not be charged for these checks:

  • if your guests have children living with them, an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the children’s barred list) will be undertaken, for all those who are 16 or over in the sponsor household who are not related to the guest.
  • if the local authority decides, while undertaking other checks, that an adult guest requires additional support due to age, disability or illness, that an unrelated sponsor or adult aged 16 or over within the sponsor’s household intends to provide, then the local authority may ask for an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the adults’ barred list) to be undertaken on any members of the sponsor’s household who is to provide that support.
  • in all other circumstances, where sponsors are accommodating guests in their own home, all members of the household who are 16 or over will need to undergo a Basic DBS check regardless of their relationship to the guests.

The DBS certificate is sent directly to the applicant, and Wirral Council will require you to contact the team on homesforukrainians@wirral.gov.uk to notify us that the certificate has been received. 

This process is completed by the Disclosure and Barring Service, and not Wirral Council, and the council is not able to intervene. Information on applying for a DBS can be found on the DBS website

To track your DBS application click on one of the links below (please have your reference number handy):

If you, or anyone you know, has any concerns about potential abuses of the scheme, you should report them to us at the earliest opportunity, or to the police if you are concerned that a crime has been committed or if there is a threat of a crime being committed.

My Guests have had their visas issued 

Once your guest has received their decision from UK Visas and Immigration both you and your guest will be provided with guidance on the travel process.  

The council does not assist with travel arrangements.

Agencies such as the Red Cross (www.redcross.org.uk) provide information on their website that you or your guest may be able to access in order to find discounted or free travel to the UK.

To help Ukranian nationals travelling to the UK, most public transport operators, including National Rail, are offering free onward travel to help get to a safe place for the initial 48 hours of arriving in the UK.  Please see the National Rail website for further information.

My guests are on their way

IMPORTANT: Please advise Wirral Council when you know the arrival date of your guest so that steps can be taken to provide them with their £200 payment within one working day, and arrange a wellness visit within five working days.

Once you know when your guests will arrive, you can start to prepare for their arrival.  Once the checks have taken place (see above), Wirral Council will not contact you until your guest has arrived.  If you required advice over any matter, please email your query to homesforukrainians@wirral.gov.uk.

Checklist to help you prepare for your guest

Use this checklist as a guide to help you prepare for your guests, or alternatively see the guidance on www.gov.uk.

  1. Make sure you have communicated to your guests how they can get to your accommodation. You could collect them, or provide detailed instructions on available public transport.
  2. Provide a welcome pack of essentials in the accommodation. For example food, toiletries, bedding and toys and books for any children.
  3. Identified local translation services in your area (if needed):
    https://www.opora.uk/ and,
    https://www.charitytranslators.org/LinksforUkraine offers a national translation service.
  4. Make sure your guests can access your internet or data where possible so that they can contact family and friends.

My guests have arrived

If you have advised us in advance of your guests’ arrival date Council officers will call out within one working day of the arrival provide the £200 interim payments to your guest.  The payments are made in the form of a prepaid card which can be used in shops or on public transport.

A wellness visit will be carried out within five working days of the arrival of your guest where possible.

If you have not contacted us to inform us that your guest has arrived is important that you do so urgently as your payments will not be processed until this takes place.

Please contact us on homesforukrainians@wirral.gov.uk

At the wellness visit, the council will check that your guest is well and there are no safeguarding or welfare concerns, or needs for care and support.  Where it is suspected that the adult may have care and support needs, a referral will be made in order to access the most appropriate help, which may include benefits or services.

Information to make a referral for school places if required will also be taken at this visit, and the passports of your guests will need to be seen.

Health

You can support your guest to access medical care before they have formally registered with a GP including medication, maternity care or mental health care.

  • Call 111 for non-urgent advice and referral to the most appropriate care.
  • Call 999 for urgent emergency care or attend your local accident and emergency.  Arrowe Park Hospital offers an Accident and Emergency Service.

For routine healthcare, soon after they arrive, your guest will need to register with a local GP practice and dentist. Read how the NHS works and what your guest is entitled to access.

If your guest requires an interpreter at a healthcare appointment, please contact the practice prior to the appointment (interpretation for primary healthcare appointments if freely available if arranged in advanced).

Finance and benefits

When the council has been notified of the guest’s arrival, we will provide an interim payment of £200 per guest to cover any essential living needs and travel.  The payment will be issued as a pre-loaded debit card which can be used in shops or on public transport.  The card does not have a cash facility.

Some Ukranian guests have accessed a job already, or are able to continue to carry out their work remotely.  If your guest does not have a job in place, they are eligible to access Universal Credit as soon as they arrive in the UK.  Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with living costs.
Ukranian guests are also eligible to claim:

  • housing benefit
  • pension credit
  • personal independence payment
  • child disability living allowance
  • carers allowance
  • attendance allowance
  • employment and support allowance (subject to criteria being met)
  • jobseekers allowance (subject to criteria being met).

Please see GOV.UK for more information

Bank Accounts

Councils and sponsors may need to signpost guests from Ukraine to open a UK bank account for the purposes of receiving Interim payments and Universal Credit or other state benefits. Further details can be found within the Welcome guide.

There are a range of providers, guests can choose which provider suits them best.  Wirral Council are not able to recommend a provider but have found that most high street banks and building societies are willing to open accounts for Ukrainian nationals.

More information is available on each provider’s website. Money Helper provides a free comparison tool which lists all providers on its website.

Education and childcare

Children arriving from Ukraine will have no specific additional priority for admission, but the council will provide information and assistance to parents on the school application process will advise them where vacancies exist and how to apply.

Ukrainians aged 19+ and their family members settled in the UK can access training to gain the skills they need to move on with their lives. This includes provision funded through the Adult Education Budget (including ESOL) and Level 3 - Free Courses for Job Offer.

Early Years provision is also available to Ukrainian children.  For more information please see www.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare email the Family information Service fis@wirral.gov.uk or phone 0151 333 3980.

Sponsors’ thank you payment

After all checks have been completed, an optional £350 monthly thank you payment can be issued.  The government requires all local authorities to carry out a five point check which includes:

  • DBS check instigated for all those aged 16+ in the household
  • safeguarding checks passed
  • property suitable for occupation
  • guests have arrived in the accommodation and visited
  • the accommodation exists

Once all checks are completed, the council will arrange a visit for you to provide the bank details you wish to receive the funds into, or notify us if you do not wish to claim the payment.

The first payment will be made after all five checks above are met one month in arrears.

If for any reason your guest ceases living in your household, you must ensure that you notify the council as soon as possible.

There may be cases where the sponsor/guest relationship breaks down and the guest is homeless or at risk of homelessness. Please contact us urgently so that we can help homesforukrainians@wirral.gov.uk.  The council has statutory homelessness duties which will apply in these instances.

Where guests move out before the full 6-month period, the sponsor is eligible to claim the monthly payment if the guest has lived in their accommodation for at least half of the month of departure.

View information for guests