The UK government has confirmed it is changing the rules under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to allow children and minors under the age of 18 who have already made applications to travel to the UK unaccompanied.
The change comes three months after the scheme was launched in March 2022. Guidance on the government website published on 22 June 2022 states that “children who have already applied for a Homes for Ukraine Scheme visa will be allowed to travel to the UK without a parent or legal guardian, subject to strict sponsor checks.”
In addition, the following conditions must also be met:
- The child must have notarised parental consent for the application and to travel alone, and
- The UK sponsor should be personally known to the parents, except in exceptional circumstances
What is the Homes for Ukraine Scheme?
Under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ sponsorship scheme, people in Britain can sponsor and house people who have secured a UK visa after being forced to flee Ukraine.
Sponsors such as private individuals, charities, community groups and businesses and local authorities, can provide a room or home rent-free for at least six months to Ukrainians escaping the war.
Those offering accommodation to Ukrainian refugees will receive a fixed payment of £350 a month, which does not increase for additional people.
Local authority areas will also be entitled to more than £10,000 per Ukrainian refugee using this route to the UK, and additional payments will be available to support school-age children who need to be accommodated within the education system.
Sponsored Ukrainians will be granted three years’ leave to remain in the UK, and will be able to work, claim benefits and access public services during this period.
The Home Office has stated there is no limit on the number of Ukrainians who can live with UK host families under the new scheme.
The scheme has been developed to provide safety and accommodation to Ukrainians who don’t have any family ties to the UK. Those with family ties to the UK should use the Ukraine Family Visa scheme.
How to apply
Members of the public can nominate a Ukrainian individual or family to stay with them for at least six months, regardless of whether they have ties to the UK.
The UK government has launched a ‘Homes for Ukraine’ website to capture expressions of interest from potential sponsors, with ‘Phase One’ of the scheme set to open for applications on Friday 18 March.
According to the Home Office announcement on 14 March, Phase One will “allow sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property”.
Potential hosts in the UK who have a named Ukrainian they wish to sponsor should contact the Ukrainian national directly and prepare to fill in a visa application from Friday 18 March.
The application process will also involve security checks to verify applicants’ identifies.
The Home Office has stated it will also carry out checks to ensure that people offering up their homes are in a position to provide that support.