The Government have set up the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which allows UK residents with spare accommodation to apply to sponsor people fleeing Ukraine.
They have provided guides for guests about applying to the scheme, finding work, accessing benefits, education and health for children and adults. You can find this information on their website. Local information for Camden guests is below.
If you have already been matched and have applied for a visa, visit our guide to what happens next.
If you have registered with the government but have not yet been matched to a sponsor, please read the Government’s guidance for sponsors and their frequently asked questions. We also recommend that you get in touch with RESET who can help to match you with someone. Find out more at resetuk.org/about/ukraine
Please be aware that we are only informed about specific placements in Camden when a sponsor has been matched with a guest and a visa application has been made. We are not informed of any sponsors in Camden or their guests that have not yet been matched or submitted a visa application.
The visa approval process is a completely separate process to the Council and is not dependent upon the completion of any checks by us. No-one’s visa is being held up as a result of Council checks not being completed.
Once a visa has been issued, we will initiate the various checks we need to do. However, refugees do not need to wait for our checks to be completed before travelling to their sponsor in the UK.
Organisations to support you with the matching process
Camden Council is not involved in the matching process however there are a number of other organisations supporting sponsors to be matched to a Ukrainian in need. We would recommend working through such an organisation as they can ensure the match is appropriate for both you and your guests. A number have also produced helpful guides for those considering becoming a host/sponsor. See below some links to key organisations and online information.
Charities that could help connect you with someone include:
Once you are matched, the sponsor or the refugee fills out the single visa application form online using both parties’ details. You can find more information on gov.uk.
Advice for sponsors
The Government have provided guidance for sponsors, including eligibility criteria, how to apply and advice. You can find this information on their website.
Sponsoring a refugee is a commitment that needs careful consideration. If you are considering a hosting arrangement, you may wish to read the No Accommodation Network’s Hosting Toolkit. The Sanctuary Foundation is also providing information for hosts.
The No Accommodation Network (NACCOM) provides a wealth of information for those supporting refugees, asylum seekers and those with no recourse to public funds.
Thrive LDN and partners have also put together a guide for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Ukrainians arriving in the UK. It includes advice on creating a safe a welcoming environment for arrivals, training and e-learning courses on understanding refugee and asylum seeker mental health and if needed, will signpost you to NHS mental health services as well as other community support services.
Top up payment scheme
In December 2022 the government announced that the ‘thank you’ paid to sponsors (also known as hosts) is being extended to two years, and the rate is increasing from £350 to £500 per month for sponsors where guests have been in the country for over a year. To provide extra support to our hosts during the cost of living crisis we make additional payments to hosts for months seven to twenty four. This is on top of the governments’ £350 thank you payment, and the total amount for months seven to twenty four is £550 per month. You do not need to request the additional payment as we already have your bank details, and payments to eligible hosts will automatically increase.
If you are worried about the cost of living, advice and support is available across Camden from us and our partners to help with money worries, debt, food, mental health and more. You can find more information here or by calling us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).
Impact on Council Tax, benefits and tax
If you are hosting a refugee through a government sponsored programme you will not lose your single person discount. If you are receiving welfare benefits, including Council Tax Support, the refugee will not count as a non-dependent and the £350 a month thank you payment will not count as income. The £350 is also not subject to tax.