Here is our guide to support individuals in hosting refugees in their homes and getting used to the new arrangements. We created this guide to help you answer any questions you might have about the process and save you time from researching online. We prepared this guide by adding links and content from other individuals and organisations out there.
Table of contents
- Things to do once you decide to come to the UK
- Things to do once you match with a host
- Things to do once you settle in your new home
- Living in the UK – Healthcare, Benefits, Employment
Things to do once you decide to come to the UK
First of all, you need to find a UK sponsor. Sponsor is a person or a family willing to provide you with the free accommodation for a minimum of 6 months.
Finding an accommodation in the UK
- Independent web sites:
- Some Facebook groups to check out:
- Seeking Sanctuary Network: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfW4Qs7ArgesdUbCEYGLwyncIGfA08JxFPO_G6KQ__5WxeEjA/viewform
- Apply for a visa under the Ukraine sponsorship scheme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-visa-under-the-ukraine-sponsorship-scheme
Learn about living in the UK
- Different cities to live in the UK: https://www.expatica.com/uk/moving/location/top-places-to-live-in-the-uk-107912/
A FB post about university towns and cities in the UK:
The next post to help Ukrainians decide where to live: University towns. Here is a map of SOME of the universities in the UK. There are over 130 colleges and universities in the UK in total, so not all shown on this map. I did not make this map so Brits, please don’t complain that yours isn’t on it!
- Our university towns and cities are often very multicultural and have people from all over the world learning there. Some people even stay after their course has finished! British students don’t necessarily go to the university nearest their childhood home. You choose the course you like and move to the neighbourhood. Big cities might have more than one university. Education can be very expensive but some universities offer financial assistance towards living expenses, or bursaries for certain vocational courses. Most students take a loan to support themselves but this is an individual choice. Students generally apply through an admissions service called UCAS (https://www.ucas.com/) but there are also opportunities to gain qualifications whilst working, usually known as an apprenticeship. Not everyone in the UK goes to university and you can get some good jobs without a university education if you work har
- The university system is very complicated to navigate. Each of the four countries have different conditions depending where you live. It is best to get tailored advice for your specific circumstance.
- This post is to show you we have universities all over the country. Each university needs lecturers, administrators, translators, student support, financial experts, housing officers, canteen staff, cleaners etc. In these localities there will also be leisure facilities, supermarkets, retail, restaurants and delivery services, beauty services, medical facilities etc that also need workers. You can find a job almost anywhere, not just London.
- Life in the UK:
- Guide on relocating to the UK:
- Settling in the UK guide by Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/get-help-as-a-refugee#Life
Things to do once you match with a host
Connect with your host
- Get your new sponsor’s contact information and share yours
- Meet them over facetime / phone, preferable meet all family and present your family
- Ask any questions about your new home. Clarify any questions you might have
- Make sure to discuss your needs with your host family so they know upfront
- Asks for photos or videos of your new home
- Find out about schools and jobs in the area
- Find out about pets
Things to be cautious about
- Never send or receive any money to or from your host. Host must provide you with free accommodation. The Visa process is free – there are no paid services to help or speed up the process. If you are offered anything of the kind by your sponsor, please report to the administration of the site or group where you connected.
- Consider the profile of your host and make sure you feel safe. If you don’t, don’t feel obliged to continue with your new host. Get help whenever you need it.
Apply for a visa under the Ukraine sponsorship scheme
- If you and the sponsor are happy to proceed, you then need to apply for the VISA’s (in partnership with the UK sponsor). To the best of my knowledge, you need to do one visa application for every person, including children. So for a family of four, you need to do four visa applications. I have seen differing advice to this, but this is what it says on the forms. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-visa-under-the-ukraine-sponsorship-scheme
- Your first form will take about 1.5 hours to complete but you will get quicker on any additional ones.
- At the end, you will get directed to a third party site, where you must upload a PDF version on the relevant documents. Make sure you provide your UK sponsor the copies of your passports etc. It is likely that they may be a photo in JPG format, so you will need to convert them to PDF. Lots of free software can do this.
- Upload the documents and complete. You will see the word “submitted” in the top right of the screen.
- If you return back to the original visa website, it may say that you still have additional steps to do. This means to download a document or a checklist. Download both and keep safe. Open the visa application and make sure it has a submitted date on it and an application number.
- You are done for now! Eventually you and your sponsor will receive an email confirmation that they received the application. Although I have submitted 4 applications at the same time, at the time of writing, I have only received 3 back!
- This appears to trigger the local authority to come into play. They phoned me directly and said they would be doing a home inspection, which is scheduled for tomorrow.
- They have sent us a link for all adults in the household to complete a DBS check.
- Now you wait for the approval of your visa
- Once your visa is approved you can start arranging how you will get to the UK. Some sponsors offer help finding transportation but be ready to do it yourself.
- Keep in touch with your sponsor. Inform them about your location and progress. Let them know the expected arrival date. Most sponsors will pick you up upon your arrival to the UK and bring you to your accommodation
Things to do after you settle in your new home:
Getting emotional help
North of England Refugee Services: https://refugee.org.uk/integration-services/
Dealing with anxiety:
How to deal with a panic attack
How to help your kid with anxiety or panic attack: https://discoverymood.com/blog/can-help-child-anxiety-attack/
How to help kids going through panic attacks:
Reach out to local charities if you need anything
- British Red Cross
- Refugee Action
- Save the children UK
Frequently asked questions
- Frequently asked questions listed by UNHCR
Living in the UK
You must register with a GP surgery to get an NHS number → You’ll get a registration letter in the post and your NHS number will be shown in the letter.
You do not need proof of ID to register with a GP, but it might help of you have one or more of the following:
- birth certificate
- HC2 certificate
- rough sleepers’ identity badge
- hostel or accommodation registration or mail forwarding letter
If you’re homeless, you can give a temporary address, such as a friend’s address, a day centre or the GP surgery address.
Immediate benefit support from the government:
The Department for Work and Pensions is laying emergency regulations today (Monday 21 March 2022) so those arriving in the UK from Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion can access Universal Credit and jobs support immediately.
Ukrainians will also be eligible for Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Child Disability Living Allowance and Carers Allowance, and Attendance Allowance. Contributions-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) are also available for those Ukrainians who meet the criteria.
More on this: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/immediate-benefit-support-for-those-fleeing-the-invasion-in-ukraine
Important phone numbers
- 999 for emergency control centres: police, ambulance, fire or coastguard
- 111 NHS 24/7 service to get medical help
- 08001111 Childline: free, private and confidential service for children under stress
- 101 police
- Additional numbers can be found here: https://www.elitegroup.com/news-and-insights/11-national-and-international-telephone-numbers-everyone-in-the-uk-should-know/
Some UK companies that are offering employment to Ukrainians:
Cost of living in UK
- The national currency of the UK is the pound sterling.
- 1 GBP is 38.82 Ukranian hryvinia toda (24/03).
- Government support for cost of living in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-support-for-the-cost-of-living-factsheet/government-support-for-the-cost-of-living-factsheet
- Speak to your host about the most commonly used modes of transport in their city / town.
- Top tips about using different transport modes: https://www.expatica.com/uk/living/transportation/uk-public-transport-103419/