Ukrainian refugees assured of a warm welcome in Wiltshire as visa scheme begins

Wiltshire Council has said Ukrainian refugees making the journey to Wiltshire will be assured of a warm welcome and generous support

Published 23 March 2022
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Wiltshire Council has said Ukrainian refugees making the journey to Wiltshire will be assured of a warm welcome and generous support.

The council is waiting for details on which families will be coming to the county after the Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched this month, and on Friday 18 March Ukrainian families could submit visa applications to come to the UK.

The council will have notice of families coming to Wiltshire and where they will be staying under the scheme. It will also have a role to play in carrying out safeguarding checks and liaising with schools and other services to ensure the families are able to settle into the county.

Some refugees will be coming to Wiltshire for safe haven as they have family ties here under the Ukraine Family Scheme. Meanwhile, residents continue to contact the council offering a range of support.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "Wiltshire residents are once again poised to help those who need support and a safe place to stay. As a council we have an important role to play, alongside our partners, to ensure these people can settle into the county and have access to the services they need. However, I also know our communities will rally around those who come into the county and provide that goodwill and help that can make a difference and make someone truly feel welcome. I look forward to working with our communities to ensure this is the case."

The government has laid out plans for welcoming refugees in its Homes for Ukraine scheme, including £350 a month to people offering spare rooms in their home and support to councils so those coming to the UK can be helped to access services and children can attend schools.

The government scheme will offer a route to those who want to come to the UK who have someone willing to provide them with a home. Individuals, charities, community groups and businesses can volunteer accommodation. Sponsors can provide accommodation for as long as they are able but there is a minimum expectation of six months. Those arriving will need to meet standard security checks. Sponsors and all adults in the sponsoring households will also be subject to security checks and may be subject to safeguarding checks too.

People interested can record their interest online to receive updates and more information on how to apply. Sponsors can be of any nationality, with any immigration status, provided they have at least six months' leave to remain within the UK. In the first phase of the scheme sponsors will need to have a named person whom they wish to sponsor. This could be a friend, someone they are already connected with or it could be someone they have been linked with by a charity, faith group or other organisation. Sponsors need to provide accommodation for a minimum of six months. The government will provide an optional payment of £350 per month for up to 12 months for those offering accommodation.

Wiltshire Council also has a page with information at Support for Ukraine - Wiltshire Council.

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Published 23 March 2022