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The UK government has set up the Homes for Ukraine scheme to support arrivals of Ukrainian individuals and families who have been displaced due to war. Find out more about how the scheme works.
How you can help
The Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme opened on 18 March 2022, where UK residents can register their interest online to become a sponsor. Read more information on eligibility.
Guidance for sponsors
Once you’ve submitted your application to become a sponsor and have been matched with a Ukrainian individual or group, you will be contacted by the council’s Families Together Hub via email, followed by a phone call. Please note, Redbridge Council is not involved in the matching process and will only be able to contact you when your name is on the Government’s database.
If you have been matched with a Ukrainian individual or groups, but have not yet been contacted by Redbridge Council, please do not worry as you will be contacted soon. Find out about sponsor guidance.
Before Ukrainian guests arrive
The council will arrange the following checks to ensure the safety and wellbeing of you and your guests during the stay.
Redbridge Council officers will carry out home visits to ensure your accommodation is suitable for your guests.
Safeguarding and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)/or enhance DBS checks
We will be undertaking DBS checks for all adults who are aged 16 and over in the sponsor household. If your Ukrainian guests involve a child or a vulnerable adult, an enhanced DBS check will be undertaken on all members of the sponsor household who are aged 16 and over.
More information about the checks can be found on the GOV.UK website and we will explain more about this in our emails to you.
After Ukrainian guests arrive
Once your guests have arrived, you will need to inform the council of their arrival via email to Nicola.Weston@redbridge.gov.uk. The council has a statutory duty to ensure their safety and wellbeing and will therefore set up a welfare check to make sure they are well, make assessments to see if they have any further needs and/or signpost them to local support.
‘Thank you’ payments for sponsors
Sponsors are asked to provide accommodation for a minimum of six months and can receive an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month for up to the first 12 months of sponsorship paid in arrears. This payment is limited to one monthly payment per residential address, regardless of the number of individuals sponsored. Payments will stop when the sponsorship ends.
For sponsors who receive welfare payments, the Government is ensuring ‘thank you’ payments do not affect your benefit entitlement. ‘Thank you’ payments will not affect any council tax discounts for single occupancy. They will be tax free.
If your guest moves out of your home for any reason, you must inform your local council at the earliest opportunity as you will need to let them know that you are no longer eligible for the monthly payments.
Guidance for Ukrainian guests
We look forward to welcoming our Ukrainian guests to Redbridge. All people coming via the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be able to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds.
Once you’ve arrived at your sponsor’s home, Redbridge Council officers will set up a welfare check to visit you and make sure you are well. The officers will have a chat with you to see how you are doing and assess if you need any further needs or support. If you require a translator to be present at the welfare visit, please let us know so that we can arrange this in advance.
We have also put together a welcome pack which covers what you need to know in your first few days in the UK. The welcome pack includes information about Redbridge, education, transport and accessing other essential public services.
Redbridge welcome guide (PDF 4.89MB)
National Welcome Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK (PDF 4.66MB)
Welcome payment for Ukrainian guests
Once we are aware of your arrival, we will organise your £200 welcome payment. The payment is only available for refugees arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Health and medical care
Everyone in England is eligible to register with a family doctor (GP) and receive primary health care services free of charge, regardless of immigration status.
When you arrive in Redbridge, you should register with the nearest GP practice or the one your sponsor is registered with. Complete the GMSI form to register with a GP. Print and fill in the form and return it to the practice you want to register with. This form cannot be completed online. You can also get a copy of this from your GP Practice. You will be asked for proof of address and ID, but you will not be refused registration if you cannot provide these.
To explain and understand how healthcare works; the National Health Service (NHS), the UK Health Security Agency and Mayor of London have produced a helpful leaflet in English and Ukrainians.
How the NHS works: a guide for migrants (PDF 508KB)
The NHS have created advice on how to stay up to date with your routine vaccinations. Please see guidance available in both Ukrainian and Russian languages.
Everyone over the age of 12 is eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations. You can get an appointment by calling 119 or by going to a walk-in clinic.
Further Government health guidance and public health in Ukrainian languages is available on the Health Publications website.
All children and young people of school age in Redbridge are entitled to a school place. For information on how to apply for your child’s place, please visit our school admissions webpage.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I hear something?
We are working through the list of sponsors as notified by the Home Office and DLUCH. We will contact you to arrange your initial home visit in due course. Should your guests visa be approved and travel is arranged before you hear from us, please email Nicola.Weston@redbridge.gov.uk and mark it ‘Urgent, guests arriving on X date’ so we can expedite your checks.
I have arrived in Redbridge and am staying with family after using the Family Visa Scheme. Can my family or I receive the £200 voucher or monthly payment?
We are sorry but the Home Office has defined the two schemes separately and only those with a Visa approved through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme can receive the £200. The thank you payment of £350 is also only available to sponsors in appreciation of hosting a Ukrainian national in their home.
More information is confirmed on the government's website.
Why is the visa process taking so long?
Visa processing for Ukrainian refugees is carried out by the Home Office and happens at the same time as our checks of accommodation and host families. Redbridge Council has no control over visa processing and cannot influence the time it takes.
What checks should I expect before I can become a Homes for Ukraine sponsor and host?
We will need to make sure that the accommodation you’re offering is suitable and safe. We also need to confirm that everyone in your household is happy to be involved in the programme.
The government also requires us to conduct a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check on everyone in your household aged 16 and over to look for any criminal convictions. Enhanced DBS checks, which also confirm any police cautions, warnings and reprimands, are required if there are children or vulnerable adults in the family you’re due to host.
DBS checks will run at the same time as this assessment of your accommodation but can take longer. These checks do not hold up the processing of your guests’ visas.
Will the payment I receive affect my tax or entitlement to benefits?
The thank you payment is tax free and will not affect your entitlement to benefits.
I am renting my property - can I still be a sponsor?
You must get your landlord’s permission before joining the scheme. Housing Standards will ask to see this when completing their accommodation check. Your tenancy agreement may include information about how long guests can stay at your property
Is there anywhere that Ukrainian arrivals can get support with travel – free bus pass or Oyster card?
TfL and other UK travel providers are offering Ukrainian refugees free travel for up to 48 hours after arriving in the UK on a single one-way journey to reach their final destination.
Refugees have to show a Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing their arrival into the UK in order to be eligible.
The nationwide scheme which started on 20 March 2022 will run for three months and will then be reviewed.
Why haven’t I received my £350 thank you payment yet?
In order for London borough of Redbridge to process payments, we will need to complete accommodation checks, safeguarding checks as well as DBS checks on all sponsors above the age of 16 in line with Central Government conditions. However, at present we experiencing delays with our DBS process and are making arrangements to speed up the process. This will cause delays with the payments being issued, it will not cause payment failures. Once all checks have been completed you will be contacted by Redbridge officers with further details around your first thank you payment. Thereafter, thank you payments will be made monthly in arrears.
My guests have arrived and they haven’t received their £200 welcome payment. Is there anything I need to do?
Once your guests have arrived, you will need to inform the council of their arrival via email to Nicola.email@example.com. The council has a statutory duty to ensure their safety and wellbeing and will therefore set up a welfare check to make sure the guests are well and assess to see if they have any further need or require support. Ukrainian guests will receive the £200 welcome payment at/after the welfare check visit.