In the first five hours after the government established its Homes for Ukraine website for those interested in hosting a refugee, 43,800 people signed up.
Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Housing and Communities, said the UK had a tradition of “supporting the most vulnerable through their darkest hours.”
He stated that the number of Ukrainians who could enter the UK through the visa sponsorship scheme would be unlimited.
Each refugee-housing household will receive £350 per month in tax-free funds.
They will not be required to give meals or cover living expenses, but they may choose to do so.
People interested in offering a rent-free place in their house or a separate residence for at least six months can register online.
From Friday, they will be permitted to sponsor a Ukrainian national’s visa on an individual basis. Those initial applications will be based on the applicant knowing a named Ukrainian individual they wish to assist.
However, Mr Gove stated that Ukrainian refugees with no family or other ties to the UK can and will be welcomed as part of the scheme.
He explained that the sponsorship plan was initially limited to persons who already knew each other in order to get it “up and running as soon as possible.”
- Refugees at Home, is an organisation that connects refugees and offers an online
- Room for Refugees, helps to settle unaccompanied child refugees with families in the UK
- Shelter 4 Ukraine, a Ukrainian-run service which registers hosts and refugees
- Reset, community sponsorship scheme for refugees since 2018
Despite some technical challenges with the site shortly after its launch, with some people and organisations attempting to register reporting being timed out, other than that the site has proven to be a success.
The government has been blasted for the pace and scope of its reaction to the refugee crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including by its own MPs.
Since Vladimir Putin authorised the Russian invasion about three weeks ago, nearly three million people have fled Ukraine.
Mr Gove had stated that the scheme was open to Ukrainian nationals and residents, but his department later clarified that only Ukrainian nationals and immediate family members who had lived in the country prior to January 1 were eligible.