Britons will be able to open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion under a new scheme.
Defending the government amid criticism of its response to the refugee crisis, Boris Johnson told Sky News’ Beth Rigby Interviews programme the UK would be “generous” to those fleeing Ukraine, and details of this second visa scheme – where individuals, charities, businesses and community groups will be able to offer rooms to those escaping the conflict – would be announced next week.
The prime minister said: “On Monday, you’ll get from the levelling up secretary, you’ll get the programme that will allow people to come in, so (if) people want to welcome (refugees) into their own homes, they can do so.”
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Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove will set out details of a new “sponsored” humanitarian route to allow Ukrainians without family links to the UK to come to the country.
This will include a hotline and webpage where individuals, charities, businesses and community groups will be able to offer rooms to those escaping the conflict, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Refugees who enter through the new route will be allowed to stay for an initial period of 12 months during which they will be entitled to work, claim benefits and access public services.
Officials will match them with offers of free accommodation from the sponsoring individuals and organisations.
They will be vetted to ensure the accommodation is safe and secure – and will have to agree to take the refugees for a minimum period – potentially six months – and demonstrate that they meet appropriate standards, according to the newspaper.
A government spokesman said the details of the scheme were being worked on “at pace” and the routes put in place follow “extensive engagement with Ukrainian partners”.
“This is a rapidly moving and complex picture and as the situation develops we will continue to keep our support under constant review,” he added.