Dozens more Ukrainian refugees arrive in Northumberland

Ukrainian refugees due to stay with sponsors in Northumberland have finally arrived in the UK.

By Amanda Bourn
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 10:52 am

Ukrainians fleeing the conflict with Russia can apply for a visa to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

The Family Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals to stay with relatives already living in Britain and the Sponsorship Scheme, also known as 'Homes for Ukraine,' allows individuals to host refugees for a minimum of six months.

But the schemes have been beset with delays to processing visas – and some have warned of safeguarding issues and mismatches between hosts and refugees.

More Ukrainian refugees have settled in Northumberland over the last few weeks.

Home Office data shows 229 refugees staying with sponsors in Northumberland under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme had arrived in the UK by June 13 – up from 140 on May 16.

There has also been an increase in the number of visas issued, with 350 successful applications as of June 14, a rise on the 266 four weeks prior.

The uptick in refugee arrivals has come with warnings of many being made homeless in some areas of England – although Northumberland council has not submitted data on whether any refugee households in the area are owed support because they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Home Office figures published last week showed 660 refugee households across England had been given homeless prevention or relief duties by June 3, including, including 480 households with children.

Shadow levelling up and housing secretary Lisa Nandy described the situation as “shameful”.

He added: “The British people showed amazing generosity in stepping up in their thousands to provide the care and sanctuary that these people – many of them families with young children – needed and deserved in such awful circumstances, but the government has failed miserably to play its part.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “All arrivals have access to benefits and public services, as well as the right to work or study, from the day they arrive.

“The overwhelming majority of people are settling in well but in the minority of cases where family or sponsor relationships break down, councils have a duty to ensure families are not left without a roof over their head.”