9:05 AM, 21st April 2022, About a month ago 4
What sort of room/accommodation is required?
The most important thing is that you’re able to provide at least 6 months of stable accommodation. This can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated and free from health hazards, and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.
What about a sofa bed in my sitting room?
We are asking for sponsors who can at least offer an empty room, to ensure the safety and privacy of guests. A bed in a shared space would not be an appropriate offer of accommodation for 6 months.
What arrangements / agreements should I put in place with my guests?
It’s best to set a few clear expectations between you and your guests. As a sponsor you may want to draw up an agreement with your guests that sets a few ground rules, such as sharing use of common areas of the house, or concerning things like smoking, alcohol or noise.
When the sponsor wants to bring this arrangement to an end, they can ask their guests to leave by giving reasonable notice. As the sponsor will not be charging rent an assured shorthold tenancy is not created but if the arrangement changes from sponsorship to one where rent is charged, the position will be different.
What model agreement should I use?
There are two kinds of model agreement that could be used; an Excluded Licence Agreement or an Excluded Tenancy Agreement. There is no requirement to use either kind of agreement as part of the sponsorship scheme, but it could be helpful in ensuring all parties are clear on the terms of their arrangement, including agreement on who will pay the council tax bill. Some mortgage lenders may ask for a licence agreement to be used.
If your guests are sharing accommodation with you, for example using guest bedrooms and sharing a kitchen with you, theis most suitable.
If your guests are living in self-contained accommodation (such as a holiday let) then theis most suitable.
What if I am a tenant?
If you rent, you may have something in your tenancy agreement that says you should get the permission of your landlord before you host a guest. Any terms in your tenancy agreement that refer to not taking in lodgers or subtenants will also apply to these sponsorship arrangements. The UK Government is also urging landlords to waive any permission fees in these specific cases.
Will I be able to state any preferences?
It will be for you as a sponsor to apply with a specific named person and any immediate family members applying with them. You should consider what sort of support you are best able to provide and who you are most comfortable supporting. For example, you should consider whether your accommodation is suitable for someone with a young child, the elderly or someone with a disability. You may want to consider if you are able to accommodate someone with pets. Everyone who applies to this scheme will be subject to a range of checks, including those in the sponsoring household and those coming to the UK.
What do I need to do to make sure my home is suitable for my guest?
All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition.
You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.
Further to this we ask that accommodation:
Will I be paid rent?
No. You should not charge any rent. We appreciate people’s generosity and do know that there will be costs associated with helping out, and so we are offering an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month to people who can accommodate one or more household (subject to the accommodation they have).
The ‘thank you’ payment is limited to one payment per residential address. You will continue to receive payments for as long as you sponsor somebody and for up to 12 months. This payment will be made in arrears.
The UK government is ensuring ‘thank you payments’ do not affect benefit entitlement and will remain tax-free. Prior to payment, checks will be carried out which will include a visit to your home.
Will I receive an upfront payment to assist with set up costs?
The £350 thank you payment will be issued following checks being carried out, which will include a visit to your home.Every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs. This will be provided by the local council.
What happens at the end of the six-month sponsorship period?
Sponsors are committed to hosting guests for a minimum of 6 months, but you may choose to continue beyond the initial six months if you and your guest wish to.
If you don’t want to continue the arrangement beyond 6 months (or at any time after that), you should let your guest know in plenty of time so they can make other arrangements.
Sponsors should aim to give notice two months before the end of the 6 months (or with 2 months’ notice before any later date).
Guests will have access to public funds and, after leaving your home, will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need to, they’ll be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The UK Government has useful information on renting property which is available in the How to Rent Guide.
If your guests need further support, your local authority can support them in finding alternative accommodation.
What if sponsorship breaks down?
If for any reason you need to end the sponsorship arrangement early, sponsors should inform the local council as soon as possible.
Will the person I am supporting be eligible for benefits and/or to work?
The UK has a welfare system which is designed to help those who face financial hardship, or who have specific needs. All those from Ukraine coming to the country under the scheme will be able to seek and take up employment.
Your local Jobcentre Plus will be able to help you find out which benefits your guest may be able to access. This may include:
What is the entitlement to housing benefit of someone coming to the UK under this scheme?
The sponsorship scheme assumes no rent will be paid.
Where someone wishes to rent privately, or when the sponsorship ends, guests will have access to public funds and will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need to, they’ll be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The UK government has useful information on renting property which is available in the How to Rent Guide.
Am I expected to provide meals too or just accommodation?
Just accommodation. However, there is nothing stopping sponsors offering meals should they wish. You will not be expected to cover the costs of food and living expenses (although you may wish to offer this philanthropically). Every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs which will be provided by the local council.
How can my guest set up a bank account as a newly-arrived Ukrainian?
To open a bank account in the UK guests will usually need to show, proof of ID such as passport, biometric residency permit, driver’s licence or recognised identity card. Some UK banks ask for proof of address although this is not required by law to open a bank account and the government is working with them to encourage them to relax this requirement.
People can visit a branch to open an account. There are also online-only providers that you can use.
What checks need to be done?
HM Government has published Guidance for councils which provides more information on safeguarding checks.
How will the DBS checks be carried out?
The council and/or registered body will provide the sponsor (and any adults, 16 or over, in the sponsor’s household) with the appropriate form, basic or enhanced, which will need to be completed by the individual. The council will need to check the identity of each applicant and, for the enhanced check, countersign the application form.
Councils should be aware that:
a) DBS is required to charge a fee for checks. Councils will be required to cover the cost of DBS checks from the £10,500 funding that is being provided to enable them to provide support to families to settle in. Guests or sponsors will not be charged.
b) To facilitate processing, councils or registered bodies must include the word “Ukraine” in the ‘position applied for’ field in the form for enhanced checks.
c) To ensure that the relevant Enhanced DBS checks are delivered as efficiently as possible the council or registered body submitting the check must not tick the box on the application form (field x66) which indicates that the applicant will be working at their home address.
Which Ukrainians are eligible to come on this scheme?
The scheme is open to Ukrainian nationals who were residents in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022. It is also open to their immediate family members and family members of such Ukrainian nationals: a spouse, a civil partner, an unmarried partner (must have lived together in a relationship for two years), children under-18, parent if you are under-18, fiancé(e) or a proposed civil partner. These individuals may be of other nationalities). Applicants can apply from Ukraine or from any other third country.
Will I be charged a fee or asked to provide financial information to become a sponsor?
No – you will not be asked to pay a fee or make a payment of any kind, as part of becoming a sponsor and this includes the visa process. Any requests for you to do so will likely be a scam and should be reported. Read more on how to report scams.
What do I do if I want to sponsor but don’t know someone?
There are several ways you can help support and sponsor a Ukrainian household if you do not already know anyone in need. A number of charities and non-government organisations are working to offer services to match potential sponsors and Ukrainian households seeking to come to the UK.
I don’t know the person I’m sponsoring – we met on Facebook – should I give them my passport details?
Whether to share your personal information is always your decision. But if you have concerns about sharing personal details, you may prefer to fill out the visa application form on behalf of the individuals you are sponsoring. To do this, you will need to ask them for their information.
What if I live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
Sponsors can apply for the scheme from any part of the UK. In addition, the Scottish and Welsh Governments are directly sponsoring a number of Ukrainians themselves. Ukrainian individuals can apply through the usual form but should choose the Scottish or Welsh Government as their sponsor.
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