Offer your home as host through Southwark’s Homes for Ukraine scheme

What to expect when you host Ukrainian guests in your home

Thank you for helping Ukrainian nationals that have been forcibly displaced due to the war in their country. Below is information and support to make the sponsorship process as safe and smooth as possible for you and your guests.

The visa application process

The Home Office is responsible for managing the visa application process and we have no involvement at all. You should contact the Home Office with any queries about your application.

Registration for the scheme

Once you've registered to sponsor a Ukrainian individual or family and submitted the visa application, we will receive your details from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The steps we follow

The table below shows the steps we follow, including the checks we carry out. Click on the links in the table for more information about each step.

Our checks don’t affect the visa process, which is completely separate.  

We’ll follow the steps as quickly as possible, so they may not happen in the same order as shown in the table and some may happen at the same time.

Step

Details

Initial welcome email and telephone call

To gather some key information

Accommodation checks

To check that the accommodation is safe and suitable for your guest(s)

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

Must be done for all members of your household aged 16 or over

Welfare visit

To check that your guest(s) are safe and well once they arrive

£200 payment to each guest

Paid once the guest has arrived and we’ve done a welfare visit

£350 monthly thank-you payment to host

Can be paid once guest(s) have arrived and all checks are complete

If you have any urgent issues or your guests arrive before you're contacted by our team, email us at homesforukraine@southwark.gov.uk or call 020 7525 5000 (select option 3).

Initial welcome email and telephone call

Our team will make contact with an emailed initial welcome message, followed by a telephone call to gather some key information.

The checks we carry out

You should have already completed the standard security checks as part of the visa application. Once we receive your details from DLUHC we'll visit to carry out additional checks on your property and living arrangements.

Accommodation checks

We will check your property is safe and has:

  • a kitchen and bathroom that your guests can use
  • a working fire alarm
  • a safe gas supply
  • a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with appliances that burn solid fuel such as wood or coal

We'll also check that living arrangements are suitable for everyone so, for instance, individuals who didn’t previously know each other are not sharing the same room.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

We're required to carry out DBS checks on all members of your household aged 16 or over. Our team will contact you to complete the DBS applications.

Welfare visit

Once your Ukrainian guests arrive, we will carry out a welfare visit to ensure they're safe and well. We'll also assign a Resettlement Worker to provide one-to-one support to you and your guest(s) to help them access services and support their integration in the community..

Payments and benefits for your guests

When guests arrive and we've done a welfare visit, they'll receive a payment of £200 each to cover initial costs, This is a one-off payment and does not need to be repaid.

If your guests are old enough to work, they can apply for Universal Credit and, if eligible, will be able to apply for advance payments. If they're eligible, guests who are of pensionable age can claim Pension Credit.

Thank you payments

While you're hosting your guests, you can choose to receive a £350 monthly payment for up to 12 months. Payments will only start once we've visited your home, your guest has arrived and we've finished our checks.

Payments will be made in arrears and backdated to the month that your guest(s) arrived.

For hosts who receive welfare payments, the government will ensure these ‘thank you’ payments do not affect your benefits. ‘Thank you’ payments are also tax free and will not affect Council Tax discounts for single occupancy. If your guest moves out of your home for any reason, you must let us know as soon as possible as you will no longer be eligible for these monthly payments.

Adapting to life in the UK

You have a key role in supporting and helping your guests to adapt to life in the UK. You should ensure they’re comfortable in their new home and have enough food, essential supplies such as toiletries, and that they have access to a mobile phone and the internet so they can stay in touch with family and friends.

We've produced welcome information with tips to help people settle into the UK.

Expectations and ground rules for sharing your home

You may want to draw up an agreement with your guests to set ground rules so everyone knows what is expected of them. One option is to agree ‘terms of occupation’. We have guidance on sharing your home with a lodger (pdf, 297kb), and although it's written for people living in rented homes, it also covers many of the points you should consider. Rent should not be charged under the sponsorship scheme so tenancy rights do not apply.

If your guest is no longer able to come to the UK

  • let us know and we'll update our records and the information we share with the government
  • your guest should contact the Home Office immediately - contact details should have been given during the visa application process or they can contact the Home Office on its 24/7 free helpline on +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK); if you cannot contact UK 0808 numbers, phone +44 (0)175 390 7510
  • if you'd like to still sponsor another Ukrainian person or family, contact the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) using the details provided during your previous registration process; if you don’t already have a connection to a potential guest, there are established and trusted charities that are running a matching scheme, such as Reset (www.homesforukraine.org.uk)

If you no longer want to host a Ukrainian guest

  • if your guest has already arrived, you need to notify us immediately so we can make alternative arrangements
  • if your guest has not yet arrived, you should contact them to explain that you are no longer able to offer accommodation
  • contact DLUHC using the details provided during your registration process and explain that you wish to withdraw as a sponsor; let us know too
  • your guest should also contact the Home Office using the contact details given during the visa application process or on its 24/7 free helpline +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK); if you cannot contact UK 0808 numbers, phone +44 (0)175 390 7510

If you're hosting a Ukrainian guest, but no longer want to be part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme

  • contact us so we can advise on the latest government guidance and also update our records and information we share with government
  • we'll also need direct confirmation from your guests if they'd like to withdraw from the scheme

Further support

Page last updated: 24 May 2022

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