Guidance

Homes for Ukraine: Guidance for councils (children and minors applying without parents or legal guardians)

Guidance for councils about applications to Homes for Ukraine for children who are not travelling with or joining their parent or legal guardian.

Overview and purpose

This document contains guidance to councils about the processing of existing Homes for Ukraine applications made by children who are not travelling with or joining their parent or legal guardian under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. It does not replace local council’s statutory duties or responsibilities.

Councils have a critical role in the delivery of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Their safeguarding role is particularly important for this cohort of children. In designing the scheme, safeguards have been introduced to reduce risks to children and young people who do not have the protection of being with a parent or legal guardian, although these risks cannot be eliminated entirely. Councils are required to carry out pre- and post-arrival checks and ongoing monitoring of sponsorship arrangements to ensure children are being cared for appropriately.

This guidance outlines the role of councils across England in supporting the scheme. The sections on eligibility criteria and approving sponsors also apply to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

New applications cannot be made to the super sponsor schemes in Scotland and Wales because these schemes do not meet the eligibility criteria (applications received before 15 July will be considered on a case-by-case basis).

Given the different legislative context, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will publish additional guidance for councils to support these children. This guidance sets out the requirements that a prospective sponsor needs to meet in order to be approved to sponsor a child who is not traveling with or joining their parent or legal guardian and the role of the council for this new part of the scheme.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Homes for Ukraine Council Guidance, and related Scottish and Welsh and Northern Ireland guidance, which sets out the general process for Homes for Ukraine arrivals. This guidance sets out where the process and policy differ in relation to children who are not travelling with or joining their parent or legal guardian. There is separate guidance for sponsors and parents or legal guardians of these children welcome guide for children arriving in the UK from Ukraine. This guide provides the information they need about their arrival and their first few days and weeks in the UK. It also provides information of who they can speak to if they need help.

These will be in addition to the main sponsor guidance and welcome guide. Please also refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) published online. This guidance does not apply to individuals coming in on the Ukraine Family Scheme.

We will review the scheme within one year to see how it is working.

Background

From 15 July 2022, the Homes for Ukraine Scheme was expanded to eligible children who had already applied for visas through the scheme. The process for handling these applications (made before 15 July 2022) is outlined in Annex B.

The process for new applications is different and requires the planned sponsor to first undergo safeguarding checks before an eligible child can begin their visa application. On 28 July 2022 a new online application form for planned sponsors to complete was launched. This enables planned sponsors to start their application process and begin safeguarding checks. Following this the visa application process for new applications from eligible children will open on 10 August 2022. The safeguarding checks on a sponsor must be completed before a new visa application for an eligible child can be started.

Children arriving under this scheme will be able to live in the UK for up to 3 years and access education, healthcare, benefits, employment (as appropriate under UK law) and other support. Application criteria are set out below.

Pre-arrival checks

Children and any accompanying adults arriving in the UK need to meet standard security checks prior to being considered for a visa. The Home Office will run the security checks as part of the sponsorship scheme approval process and report the results back to the council through Foundry. The Home Office will also run the initial criminal records checks against all adults in sponsors’ households. The council will undertake eligibility and suitability checks on the prospective sponsors prior to local council approval as detailed below.

The checks that are completed before a child arrives are the same as those for all Homes for Ukraine sponsors but will be supplemented by a pre-application (and pre-arrival for applications made before 15 July 2022) council-led assessment of the suitability of the prospective sponsorship arrangements for the eligible child. In carrying out this assessment councils should refer to the relevant Private Fostering Guidance which contains details of what may or may not be considered as suitable.

In England the private fostering framework only applies to children up to 16 (or 18 for children with a disability), and where the child is not being accommodated by a parent or legal guardian (or other person with parental responsibility) or a relative (as defined in the Children Act 1989). However, given the additional vulnerability of this group of children and young people, councils are asked to carry out these assessments for all children entering the UK under this expanded scheme.

Application process

The step-by-step application and approval process for new applicants is set out below:

1. The sponsor should start the process by completing the online application form. As part of this application, the sponsor will need to upload two different forms of parental or legal guardian consent:

a. Proof of parental or legal guardian consent for the child to leave Ukraine notarised by an authority approved by the Ukrainian Government:

i. If in Ukraine, then this must be certified by either the notary authorities or the Guardianship Service of the city or regional council in Ukraine.

ii. If in another country, then this must be certified by the notary authorities in that country or by the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate.

b. A completed and signed UK Sponsorship Arrangement Consent Form. The sponsor should not apply without both parental consent forms.

2. The completed application will create a new case in Foundry and the council will be able to access all of the information provided.

3. The council initiates their sponsorship suitability assessment and checks (set out in further detail in the Approving Sponsors and Parental Consent sections of this guidance), which include:

a. Confirmation of the content in the parental consent forms, including a phone call/ conversation with the parent to verify information provided & agree ongoing contact (e.g. in the event of breakdown)

b. DBS checks

c. Accommodation suitability check;

d. Council led assessment:

  • a suitability assessment of sponsorship arrangements;
  • confirmation of expectations including in relation to the duration of sponsorship.
  • written confirmation that the prospective sponsor understands the expectations of them, as set out in the sponsor guidance.

4. The council will upload results of these checks to Foundry.

5. In parallel, UKVI will complete security checks on the prospective sponsor, all other adults in the sponsor’s household, and any adult guests. UKVI will also check the sponsor’s immigration status to confirm they have no time limit to stay in the UK or, if they have immigration permission, have at least 3 years or as long as they will be sponsoring the child. UKVI will update Foundry with the results of these checks.

6. After all of the checks have been completed, the council will record on Foundry if the sponsorship is suitable.

7. If any checks or the sponsorship suitability assessment are not passed, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will contact the sponsor directly to inform them that they do not meet the suitability requirements of the scheme and that applications linked to them cannot progress.

8. Where the sponsorship checks are successful, the council will provide the sponsor and applicant with the Sponsor Certification code required for the applicant to apply for a visa through the gov.uk site.

9. The Home Office will complete the necessary visa application checks. If the visa is unsuccessful, the Home Office will notify the applicant and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will contact the sponsor directly to inform them that the visa application has been unsuccessful. Where the visa application is successful, the Home Office will issue the child and any accompanying adults with a permit to travel.

10. The parent or legal guardian and sponsor must ensure at this stage that safe arrangements have been made for the child’s travel and share these with the council for approval using the template at Annex C If the council is content with the travel arrangements, the child can then travel to the UK.

11. Within 24 hours of a child’s arrival, local councils should carry out an initial visit, consistent with the Private Fostering framework, to confirm the suitability of the living arrangements and establish any immediate welfare needs. This will be particularly relevant in a) scenarios where the parent or legal guardian has given responsibility for day-to-day care of the child to an accompanying adult relative who the council did not meet in person prior to the child arriving in the UK; and b) scenarios where that accompanying adult relative with day-to-day caring responsibility is living with the child in self-contained accommodation, separate to the sponsor. The council will give the child information about how to raise any concerns about their arrangement and has a duty to help them if they believe they are at risk.

Eligibility criteria

Applicant eligibility – immigration requirements

The eligibility requirements for children who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian are set out below:

Nationality

The children:

  • Must have an immediate family member who is Ukrainian.
  • Must have been residents in Ukraine before 1 January 2022 or have been born after that date.
  • Can apply from Ukraine or from any other country except the UK.

This will be assessed by UKVI. See the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme: caseworker guidance for details of the immigration requirements for applicants and how they will be assessed by the Home Office.

Hosting arrangements

Eligible children may include those who:

  • Intend to be sponsored and hosted by an adult relative other than a parent or legal guardian, who may or may not also travel with the child
  • Are accompanied by an adult relative and will both be living with a sponsor or in self-contained accommodation provided by a sponsor who is not related to them. The adult relative may or may not also travel with the child.
  • Will not be accompanied by an adult relative and intend to be sponsored and hosted by a sponsor who is not related to them.

They must have the required parental or legal guardian consent documents (see ‘Parental or legal guardian consent’ section below).

Approved sponsor

They must have an approved sponsor who meets the eligibility requirements for a sponsor (see guidance below) and has passed the necessary safeguarding checks. These checks need to be passed before the child’s visa application can be processed.

The prospective sponsor:

  • Should personally know the child’s parents or legal guardians (unless there are exceptional circumstances), and they should have known them before the conflict started on 24 February 2022. The council should look for evidence that there is a suitable, pre-existing relationship between the sponsor and the parent or legal guardian. This evidence could be in the form of letters or emails, photos, or social media activity from before the start of the conflict on 24 February 2022. Councils may determine that the sponsor does not need to be personally known to the parent or legal guardian, for example, where the council judge that a child will be cared for appropriately by an adult relative who has been given the day-to-day caring responsibility by the parent or legal guardian for their child and who will live with their child in the UK. Councils can exercise discretion in these exceptional circumstances if they judge this to be in the best interests of the child. In exercising this discretion councils may wish to consider:
    • Whether the sponsor will be living in the same property as the child and any accompanying relative.
    • Whether the child will be accompanied by an adult relative who will be staying with them for the duration of their time in the UK.
  • Must agree to sponsor the child for the whole 3 years of their permission to stay in the UK or until they turn 18. If the child is 17 and a half or older, there must be a sponsorship commitment for at least 6 months (in line with the requirements of sponsors hosting adults under the wider Homes for Ukraine Scheme). If the child will turn 18 during their 3-year stay in the UK, the sponsor should discuss with the parent or legal guardian to inform them if they will be able to continue hosting the child after they turn 18. The sponsor can continue to host them, or if the arrangement comes to an end, they will be expected to support them with their transition to adult life.
  • Prospective sponsors must be able to commit to staying in the UK for the duration of the sponsorship agreement, because they (for example):
    • Are a British Citizen.
    • Settled in the UK (also known as indefinite leave to remain).
    • Have no time limit on their stay in the UK
    • Have permission to stay in the UK for at least 3 years from the date of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme application or as long as they will be sponsoring the child.

The prospective sponsor will be asked to confirm this on the Homes for Ukraine UK Sponsorship Arrangement Consent Form.  The council will not need to check this. UKVI will confirm this sponsor requirement is met if the applicant makes a visa application.

The prospective sponsor will also need to pass all of the relevant safeguarding checks and be approved by the council before the visa application is processed. Information about these checks is set out in the ‘pre-arrival’ and ‘application process’ sections of this guidance.

All children applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian, must provide two different forms of parental or legal guardian consent:

1. Proof of parental or legal guardian consent for the child to leave Ukraine notarised by an authority approved by the Ukrainian Government:

  • If in Ukraine, then this must be certified by the notary authorities or Guardianship Service of the city or regional council in Ukraine.
  • If in another country, then this must be certified by the notary authorities in that country or by the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate.

2. A completed and signed UK Sponsorship Arrangement Consent Form for the council. It asks the parent or legal guardian for information including:

  • Confirmation that they believe it is in their child’s best interests to come to the UK and stay with a known sponsor.
  • Whether it is the sponsor or the adult relative (where applicable) who will have day-to-day responsibility for the care of their child (for example to take everyday decisions including ones about education and medical treatment).
  • Confirmation that they have discussed with the sponsor and the adult relative (where applicable) the specific needs of their child (including any medical, developmental and special adjustment needs), and that the sponsor and/or the adult relative is able to meet these needs.
  • The parent or legal guardian’s contact details so the council can check they agree to the sponsorship arrangements and so they can be contacted if there are any changes in their child’s circumstances.
  • If any adult relative will also be staying with the sponsor.
  • Their child’s next of kin’s contact details (who will be contacted in emergencies if the parent or legal guardian cannot be reached).
  • Their child’s details.
  • Information on how the parent or legal guardian knows the sponsor.
  • Confirmation that they have discussed with the sponsor and the adult relative (where applicable) financial responsibility for their child for the duration of their stay in the UK.
  • Confirmation that if the parent or legal guardian wants to end the sponsorship arrangement early, they will notify the sponsor, who will then alert the council (this is explained in the ‘Ending of sponsorship arrangement’ section).
  • Confirmation that they understand the council may need to take responsibility for making arrangements for their child’s care for safeguarding purposes if the sponsorship arrangement ends before the child turns 18 (this is explained in the ‘Sponsorship breakdown’ section).
  • Confirmation that they understand the UK Government will make every effort to facilitate the return of their child to Ukraine once martial law ends there, in accordance with their wishes and the best interests of their child.
  • If their child will be traveling alone or with an adult relative.

Both forms of consent must be completed and signed by at least one parent or legal guardian. Once completed, these forms will be sent by the sponsor or applicant to the Home Office, who will then send the information on to the council in order for you to carry out your sponsor safeguarding checks.

If the parent or legal guardian is applying for more than one child, then they must provide new documents for each child. They cannot use the same documents for more than one child.

Responsibility does not sit with the local council to verify notarised documents beyond visual assurance, but as set out in this guidance local councils are advised to contact the parent or legal guardian as part of the sponsor suitability assessment.

Approving sponsors

Before they can approve a sponsorship arrangement for an eligible child, the council will also complete their own assessment. These comprise of:

  • Relevant DBS checks (see the DBS checks section of this guidance).
  • Accommodation checks (see the accommodation section of this guidance) and
  • A sponsor suitability assessment (see the sponsor suitability assessment section of this guidance)

Additional local checks are required for applications made where prospective hosts live in Scotland and Wales (In line with the requirements for the existing Homes for Ukraine scheme).

Having considered the outcome of the checks above, councils will be required to:

  • Confirm both the completion and outcome of the checks on Foundry including whether the sponsorship arrangement is suitable based on factors set out below. It is important that these checks are confirmed on Foundry immediately after completion so that the Home Office can proceed with the consideration of the visa application. Councils may be asked to provide further detail on Foundry on why a sponsorship arrangement has not been considered suitable. Full documentation as to how to complete these actions will be available on Foundry.

Further information specific to Scottish and Welsh local authorities will be provided as legislation, checks and processes differ across the UK and are based upon existing Homes for Ukraine frameworks in each area. Further information specific to Scottish and Welsh local authorities and Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Trusts will be provided

As part of the checks, councils are required to carry out a sponsor suitability assessment to ensure that the child’s welfare is likely to be satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted by the arrangements.

Councils should carry out the assessment of the host(s) using the procedures and arrangements they have in place for assessing the suitability of private fostering arrangements in accordance with the Guidance on Private Fostering. Where the arrangement is in accordance with the private fostering provisions in the Children Act 1989 then the private fostering framework applies and should be recorded as a Private Fostering arrangement. In all other cases, including where the adult relative, rather than the sponsor, will take on day to day responsibility for the child’s care, local councils should still use the framework to assess the sponsor’s suitability.

In addition to the factors to consider set out in the Private Fostering guidance, in assessing the sponsorship arrangements the council must consider all the circumstances of the individual case, which includes:

  • any documentary evidence provided including the notarised proof of parental or legal guardian consent and information provided in the UK sponsorship arrangement consent form.
  • whether the sponsor is known to the parent or legal guardian and whether the relationship began pre-conflict (before 24 February 2022). Councils are advised to request evidence of this which could for example be in the form of letters or emails, photos, or social media activity that pre-dates the conflict. The council can exercise discretion in exceptional circumstances where they judge this to be in the best interests of the child. In exercising this discretion councils may wish to consider whether the sponsor will be living in the same property as the child and any accompanying relative and whether the child will be accompanied by an adult relative who will be staying with them for the duration of their time in the UK.
  • the outcome of all checks relating to sponsor suitability including:
    • DBS checks
    • Accommodation checks
    • Checks against government databases and those of other third parties such as the Police National Computer.
  • the suitability of the proposed sponsor, their household and the arrangements put in place for hosting a child. It will be important that the sponsor can meet the specific needs of the child including medical and developmental needs – taking into account their age – and that the council is satisfied that the arrangement is in the child’s best interests. The council should be satisfied that the host understands the expectations on them as a sponsor of a child (as set out below), noting that expectations would vary depending on whether the sponsor or accompanying adult has responsibility for day-to-day care
  • The capacity of the council to meet the best interests of the child if there is a breakdown in arrangements. Councils are not expected to approve sponsorship arrangements where they consider there to be a high risk of breakdown, as this is unlikely to be in the best interests of the child.
  • In carrying out the sponsor suitability assessment the council is advised to verify the parent’s or legal guardian’s contact details (as provided on the UK sponsorship arrangement form) and to discuss with them any questions that arise during the suitability assessment. They may also wish to speak to the child to begin to determine their views and needs.

During the sponsor suitability assessment, the council should set out the expectation of the sponsor and ensure these are understood. Councils should cover:

  • Expectations of the sponsor. It will be important to emphasise that the role of the sponsor is very rewarding, but also challenging. Prospective sponsors should be aware that the child they sponsor may have experienced trauma and will have individual needs, experiences, and worries.
  • Who takes on responsibility for day-to-day care of the child when there is also an adult relative of the child living with them. This should be set out in the UK sponsorship arrangement consent form. At this point it should be stated that the parent or legal guardian will retain parental responsibility. The sponsor’s (or adult relative’s) role in caring for the child in a way that promotes and safeguards their welfare, including in relation to their:
    • Education: They will need to register the child for a school or college place.
    • Health: They will need to register the child with a local GP and NHS dentist including supporting referral and access to mental health or other specialist services if needed.

If the parent or legal guardian decides that they want an accompanying adult relative to have responsibility for the day-to-day care of their child, it is expected that the sponsor will still help their guests to access education, health, and other public services, as well as supporting them to adapt to life in the UK and integrate into the local community.

Any medical, developmental or other needs the child may have and how the sponsor will either meet these or support the adult relative to meet them. Guidance to parents or legal guardians and sponsors highlights the need for the parent or legal guardian and the sponsor to discuss the child’s need and any relevant information including – whether they are currently taking medication or any treatment for a medical condition, whether they generally have a medical condition which necessitates ongoing medical care and whether they are known to have any allergies to food or medication.

  • Duration of the sponsorship agreement – the sponsor should commit to hosting the child for the full 3 years of their leave to remain or until the child turns 18 (and has lived with the host for at least 6 months). Where the child is due to turn 18 within the 3 years of their leave, the sponsor should consider from the outset how they will support a move into independent accommodation or whether the child will be able to stay with them for an extended time period.
  • The sponsor’s role in ensuring safe travel arrangements for the child both to the UK and when they return to Ukraine. A pre-departure template is included at Annex C and more information is included in the Supporting safe travel for children section below).
  • The accommodation arrangements - in most cases, it is expected that the sponsor will live with the child. However, self-contained accommodation may be provided in circumstances where a child is also living with an adult relative who is taking on day-to-day responsibility for their care. In this circumstance the prospective sponsor is still required to undergo the checks and meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in this guidance.
  • What are the financial arrangements for the child, as agreed with the parent or legal guardian.
  • Keeping in touch with the parent or legal guardian (including the possibility of facilitating visits from the parent or legal guardian), including support with contact which may sometimes be difficult practically or emotionally, and maintaining cultural and language links with Ukraine.
  • How to raise safeguarding issues or any other concerns about the child’s wellbeing including contact details.
  • Requirements to notify the council regarding any proposed change or breakdown of the sponsorship arrangement (see ending of sponsorship arrangement section below).
  • Receiving ongoing council visits to monitor the sponsorship arrangement.

The council should also complete the form at Annex A and share a copy of this with the prospective sponsor to confirm that they understand their role as a sponsor of an eligible child.

Supporting safe travel for children

Children who are travelling alone are vulnerable to some risks and need to be supported during their entire journey. The below sets out what is required for any children travelling to the UK under this scheme.

To keep the child as safe as possible, we strongly advise that:

  • The parent or legal guardian works with their sponsor to agree on a travel plan after a travel visa has been issued (more details on what this travel plan should involve is set out below under “pre departure planning”).
  • The child travels to the UK with an adult relative or their sponsor. If this is not possible then their sponsor will need to arrange to meet them when they arrive in the UK at the airport and show a relevant form of photographic ID (passport or driving licence) to demonstrate they are the designated sponsor.
  • They travel by air rather than another kind of transport. We advise that they try to book flights to the main UK airports that are set up to receive Ukrainian arrivals (these can be found under ‘Section 1 – Arriving in the UK’ in the Welcome guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK) and where possible within busier hours from 08:00 – 17:00. Travel through Calais, Coquelles, Dunkerque and Eurostar terminals should be avoided unless accompanied by an adult relative or sponsor.

Pre-departure planning

The parent or legal guardian should work with the sponsor to agree on a travel plan after a travel visa has been issued. They should do this both for children travelling with adults and those travelling alone, before they travel to the UK. A template for this plan is included at Annex C. Once completed the plan should be submitted to local council for approval.

This plan should include:

  • Name, contact details and proof of ID (passport or driving license) of either the sponsor collecting the child or the adult they are travelling with.
  • All flight details including:
    • Departure date and time
    • Flight number
    • Departure and arrival airports
    • Expected arrival date and time
    • Arrival terminal (if possible)
  • If the child is travelling alone, then the sponsor should contact the airline before departure to ensure they are recorded under a passenger assistance scheme. This will guarantee that the airline provides help and assistance throughout the journey and ensure ground staff are available on arrival to escort the child to the border and agreed handover point.
  • An emergency backup contact for the sponsor, who the council can contact if they cannot contact the sponsor.
  • An agreed meeting area for handover of the unaccompanied child at the airport. This should be at the Ukrainian arrivals welcome point.
  • When everyone has agreed to a plan it should be sent to the council.
  • The sponsor should contact the council if there are any changes to the travel plan.

During travel

Children may be vulnerable to many risks during their journey. To reduce these risks, we recommend:

  • Sponsors should know and follow the travel plan and arrive at the airport well ahead of the child’s arrival flight. The sponsor should also be aware of processing times at ports in busy periods for things such as border and immigration control and luggage collection.
  • The sponsor should check if the airline carrier has the ability to escort the child from the aircraft and through the border if the child is travelling alone.
  • Children travelling alone can only be handed over to sponsors after the child has crossed the border and passed through customs.
  • Border Force or airline staff will ask the sponsor to provide proof of ID before the handover. If the sponsor cannot provide this proof, then staff will not allow the child to travel onwards.
  • As part of the handover process the sponsor should promptly alert their council contact that they have collected the child, who is now in their care. The council should arrange a visit to the sponsor’s address within 24 hours of arrival.
  • If the child is travelling with an adult, either the adult relative or the sponsor, then that person will escort the child through the border. If the child is travelling with any other adult Border Force will assess their suitability to accompany the child and may require you to attend the port to collect the child, which may cause significant delays to the child’s travel.
  • If the child is planning to travel with an adult from the airport to the sponsor’s accommodation, then after they have crossed the border the adult should inform the sponsor they are both in the country. The sponsor should then promptly notify their council contact.
  • For any other queries or requests for assistance upon arrival in the country, Ukrainian Welcome Point helpdesks are in operation at most major ports of entry with information about what support is available including onward travel advice. They also provide access to basic supplies (including food and water, toiletries and UK sim cards) before they leave the airport.

Travel problems

Travel plans can go wrong and may need to be changed at short notice. To ensure children stay safe when this happens, we suggest:

  • Sponsors provide an emergency backup contact in their pre-departure plan for councils to contact if the sponsor cannot be contacted
  • If the adult travelling with the child cannot travel at short notice and the child becomes unaccompanied, then the sponsor must urgently tell the council and airline, so the relevant agencies can prepare for the child’s arrival.
  • If the child is not collected within 2 hours of crossing the border, then Border Force will contact the airport’s council, who will arrange for the child to go into emergency fostering accommodation in that area if the sponsor cannot be contacted. The child’s hosting council must then make new plans to bring the child to the sponsor’s accommodation.
  • Ensure the child is aware of the travel plan and know who they are travelling with and where they are meeting people. Depending on their age, ensure they have contact numbers for the sponsor and local council.

Financial arrangements and support

Where the parent or legal guardian has given the sponsor responsibility for the day-to-day care of their child, it is expected that the sponsor will also take on financial responsibility for that care while they are in the UK or until they turn 18. Where the parent or legal guardian has given this responsibility to an accompanying adult relative, it is expected that they will take on financial responsibility for the child’s care. The sponsor will need to discuss this arrangement with the parent or legal guardian, and any accompanying adult relative, including whether they can provide any financial contribution towards the child’s care.

The sponsor will have the option to receive a monthly £350 thank you payment for while a child stays with them for up to 3 years of their leave. This is subject to change if the individual turns 18 during this period and is therefore no longer a child. Where the individual turns 18 but has not been in the country for 12 months, the sponsor will be eligible for the payment for up to 12 months, in line with the wider Homes for Ukraine scheme. Where the individual turns 18 but has already been resident for more than 12 months, thank you payments to sponsors will stop.

All Homes for Ukraine guests are eligible for an interim payment of £200 per guest for subsistence costs. It is expected that in relation to eligible children the council will pay this to the sponsor on behalf of the child (where they are fully unaccompanied) or to an accompanying adult relative living with the child (where they have been given responsibility for the child’s day-to-day care).

The £200 payment does not need to be repaid. Councils will also have discretion to top-up or further support guests with interim or additional payments.

Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Pension Credit

Where the sponsor has taken on day-to-day responsibility for the care of the child, they should declare this to the relevant organisation (as set out below) as they may be eligible for additional benefit support for the child, depending on their existing circumstances and might be allocated an additional bedroom in the calculation of any housing costs support:

  • Department for Work and Pension in relation to Universal Credit (UC)
  • HMRC where they receive Tax Credits
  • their local authority (where they receive Housing Benefit (HB))

If the sponsor is of state pension age, they might also be eligible for additional Pension Credit by virtue of being responsible for a child or qualifying young person who is living with them. Any entitlement to the child addition to Pension Credit will be considered by the decision maker on a case-by-case basis and considering all of the relevant facts, including how long the child / young person has been living in the household and how long it is foreseen that the arrangement will be in place.

Where the child is accompanied by an adult relative and that adult relative has been given day-to-day responsibility for the child including financial responsibility, the sponsor’s benefit claim will not be affected in any way. Where the adult relative is financially responsible for the child’s care, they may be eligible for additional benefit support for the child. As above, they should declare this to the Department for Work and Pension in relation to Universal Credit. Where the adult relative is of state pension age, they might also be eligible for additional Pension Credit by virtue of being responsible for a child or qualifying young person who is living with them.

A 16 or 17-year-old child, who is not in education, can make a claim for Universal Credit in their own right if any of the following apply:

  • They have a health condition or disability and have medical evidence for it, such as a fit note
  • They are caring for a severely disabled person
  • They are responsible for a child
  • They live with their partner, have responsibility for a child and their partner is eligible for Universal Credit
  • Their pregnant and expecting their baby in the next 11 weeks
  • They’ve had a baby in the last 15 weeks
  • They do not have parental support, for example they do not live with their parents and are not under local council care

To note,
(1) 16 or 17-year-olds coming to the UK to live with a sponsor (and/or adult relative) cannot be said to be without parental support. This is because a ‘parent’ can also be a person who is acting in place of a ‘real’/birth parent. It is therefore unlikely they will be eligible under the last bullet above.

(2) If the 16- or 17-year-old also enrols upon a course of education, they would only be eligible for Universal Credit in their own right if they fall into one of the categories below – otherwise, the sponsor or adult relative may be eligible for additional benefit support for the child as referred to above.

  • live with a partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit, or
  • are responsible for a child, either as a single person or as a couple, or
  • do not have parental support and the course is full-time non-advanced, i.e. up to A level standard.

Child benefit

The sponsor, or any accompanying adult relative, may also be eligible for child benefit, which can usually be claimed by those responsible for bringing up a child who is:

  • under 16
  • under 20 if they stay in approved education or training

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children can be claimed for. It issues 4- weekly payments equating to £21.80 per week for the eldest child and £14.45 per week for each additional child. Where an adult relative is accompanying the child and has been given day-to-day caring responsibility for the child (including financial responsibility), it may be more appropriate for them to make the claim for Child Benefit. The sponsor and adult relative will need to agree this.

Other UK government schemes

Sponsors responsible for a guest child will also be able to apply to government schemes that support working parents. That could include:

  • Tax-Free Childcare.
  • 15 hours per week of free early education over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year for disadvantaged two-year-olds – eligibility criteria apply.
  • 15 hours per week of free early education over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year for all three- and four-year-olds.
  • An additional 15 hours per week over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year (also known as ‘30 hours free childcare’) for all three- and four-year-olds from working families – eligibility criteria apply.

Ending of sponsorship arrangement

It is expected that sponsor arrangements for eligible children should go forward only where the council judges the risk of breakdown to be low, as instability is unlikely to be in a young person’s best interests. However, should a sponsorship arrangement need to end prematurely, and the young person is under 18 the council has a continuing role in safeguarding the young person.

A sponsorship arrangement can be discontinued at the direction of the sponsor, any accompanying adult relative, the relevant council (as a result of safeguarding concerns around the sponsorship arrangement), the child or the parent or legal guardian.

If the sponsorship arrangement is being discontinued at the direction of the sponsor the sponsor must notify the relevant council immediately. Once notified of an arrangement being discontinued, the council should consult the child’s parent or legal guardian - details of which will have been included upfront in the UK sponsorship arrangement consent form – to ascertain their wishes about arrangements for their child.

Where the child is accompanied by an adult relative and the accompanying adult relative (who was given day-to-day responsibility for the care of the child) wants to end the sponsorship arrangement and live independently with the child (within the UK), the sponsor must notify the council. Where possible, the child’s parent or legal guardian should also be informed of this change of circumstance.

If the sponsorship arrangement is being discontinued at the direction of the council for safeguarding reasons, it is expected that the council will accommodate that child under the duty at section 20 of the Children Act 1989 or take further necessary action such as taking the child into care, while arrangements are being decided for the onward care of that child. Where an arrangement is ending for safeguarding reasons, the council should also inform the Ukrainian Embassy on consul_gb@mfa.gov.ua . If the arrangement is ending for other reasons and there are no immediate concerns for the child’s welfare, the child should stay with the sponsor while onward arrangements are made, where this is possible.

If the child is seeking to end the sponsorship arrangement, the council must be informed (by either the child or sponsor). The action to be taken would be dependent on the circumstances and the age of the child. Where appropriate (i.e. where the child is not deemed to be at risk), every effort should be made to reconcile the arrangement. If that is not possible, the council should engage the parent or legal guardian to determine if any alternative arrangements can be made for their child. If the parent or legal guardian cannot be reached or cannot identify alternative arrangements, the council would be expected to accommodate that child or take them into care in line with their legal duties. The Ukrainian Embassy should also be consulted at this point using the contact consul_gb@mfa.gov.ua.

If the child turns eighteen while living with their sponsor in the UK and decides to leave the sponsorship arrangement and live independently (or travel elsewhere), parental or legal guardian consent will not need to be obtained as they will now be considered an adult under UK law and can make their own decisions without parental or legal guardian involvement. The sponsor will still need to alert the council that the sponsorship arrangement has ended. While parental or legal guardian consent is not required, the sponsor and council should seek to notify the parent or legal guardian that their child has now left the sponsorship arrangement where possible. The parent or legal guardian may also wish to end the sponsorship arrangement earlier than the three years. Guidance to parents or legal guardians has made clear that if they want to do this, they would need to tell the sponsor who will then notify the council.

Moving out of the UK

If the child’s parent or legal guardian wants to end the sponsorship arrangement and move their child somewhere outside of the UK, for example back to Ukraine or a neighbouring safe country to be reunited with them, a relative or other trusted person, the council should request written consent from the parent or legal guardian for this decision.

To ensure the child is safeguarded it is important that this written consent includes key information about the onward arrangements of that child, including transit and reception arrangements. The Ukrainian Embassy should also be consulted using the contact consul_gb@mfa.gov.ua including on their views about whether it would be safe for the child to return. If the council remains concerned, they should consider whether they need to take alternative steps to safeguard the child, which could include accommodating the child under s.20 of the Children Act 1989 or taking them in to care.

To note, where an accompanying adult relative (who has been given day-to-day responsibility for the care of the child by the parent or legal guardian) wants to end the sponsorship arrangement and leave the UK with the child, parental or legal guardian consent will similarly need to be obtained, as set out above.

The council should alert the relevant authorities in the country to which the child is moving to at the earliest opportunity so that appropriate safeguarding measures can be put in place on arrival and beyond. Councils should also alert the Ukrainian Embassy that the child is leaving the UK, even where they are not returning to Ukraine. See the Department for Education’s guidance for councils on working with foreign authorities.

Guidance to parents or legal guardians and sponsors has made clear that, where a child is accompanied by an adult relative that relative should stay living with the child for the duration of the child’s stay in the UK or until they turn eighteen. However, there remains a risk that an adult relative may choose to leave the UK and leave the child with the sponsor. In this scenario (or indeed any scenario where the adult relative has left the child alone with the sponsor), the council would need to take the following actions:

  • If the sponsor has already been given responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child by the adult relative, the council would need to reassure themselves of the continued suitability of the sponsor in light of the fact they are now fully responsible for the child, including whether more regular safeguarding checks are needed going forward in line with the Private Fostering Guidance.
  • If the parent or legal guardian had given responsibility for the child’s day-to-day care to the adult relative, the council would need to reach out to the parent or legal guardian (where possible) to obtain their consent for the new arrangement. If the parent or legal guardian cannot be reached, the council would need to use their discretion as to whether the arrangement remains suitable and consider whether it needs to make alternative arrangements in accordance with its legal duties. The Ukrainian Embassy should also be consulted at this point using the contact consul_gb@mfa.gov.ua.

Re-matching

In the event of a sponsorship placement breaking down, the parent or legal guardian might want their child to move in with another person known to the family in the UK (a new sponsor).

Any re-match of a child must be led by the parent or legal guardian and the new prospective sponsor should meet the relevant eligibility criteria – i.e. they should be personally known to the parent or legal guardian, with that relationship pre-dating the beginning of the conflict on 24 February 2022. There is no active role for the council to play in terms of finding a suitable new sponsor for the child. If the parent or legal guardian cannot identify a suitable new sponsor or alternative arrangements for their child then it is expected that the council will accommodate that child under section20 of the Children Act 1989 or take further necessary action such as taking the child into care. The Ukrainian authorities should also be consulted using the contact consul_gb@mfa.gov.ua.

If a new prospective sponsor is identified by the parent or legal guardian, the new UK sponsorship arrangement consent form and local council checks (as required pre-visa application) would need to be completed again on the new sponsor. These must be completed before the child is moved into the new sponsor’s accommodation. In parallel, Home Office will conduct security checks on the new sponsor. The new sponsor should also be advised that they will need to complete and submit an Expression of Interest form. The sponsor should be reassured that this will not result in them being matched with any other individual and is simply the means by which their details are entered onto the system.

Alternative arrangements

Should a sponsorship arrangement break down, and a parent or legal guardian cannot be reached or cannot identify another suitable sponsor for their child, or make alternative arrangements, then the council will need to take further action which could include accommodating the child under s.20 of the Children Act 1989 care.

As set out in guidance for councils on working with foreign authorities, where a child is a national of another country, the council should inform the relevant Embassy at the earliest possible opportunity when a child with a connection to a foreign country is made the subject of a child protection plan, has required immediate protection, or is made subject to care proceedings. The Ukrainian authorities can be consulted using the contact consul_gb@mfa.gov.ua. The child’s next of kin (details of which will have been included upfront on the UK sponsorship arrangement consent form) should also be consulted in the event a sponsorship arrangement breaks down and a parent or legal guardian cannot be reached.

If a child’s parent or legal guardian have died while the child has been in the UK, the council will need to alert the Ukrainian Embassy and contact the child’s next of kin, in line with the approach set out above, to agree future arrangements for the child. The child should remain living with their sponsor in the meantime, where appropriate. The child should also be signposted to appropriate bereavement support.

In the event that military operations cease in Ukraine and/or the situation of the parent or legal guardian changes such that they want to be reunited with their child in Ukraine but the child is now a ‘looked after’ child in the UK, then the council, as with all ‘looked after’ children, must ensure compliance with Part 7 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations, and ensure decisions taken are in the best interests of the child.

A parent or legal guardian might choose to come and live with their child in the UK at a later date. They will need to apply for a visa to do so and can apply for any of the existing schemes where eligible. If they are applying under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, they will also need to have the same sponsor as their child.

If the child’s current sponsor can accommodate the parent or legal guardian too, then the parent or legal guardian will need to apply for a visa in the normal way, naming the same sponsor. The accommodation provided by the sponsor will need to be rechecked to ensure it is still suitable. It will be for the council to decide whether any other checks need to be completed again in light of the parent or legal guardian moving in.

If the child’s current sponsor cannot accommodate the parent or legal guardian as well, then the parent or legal guardian should be advised to source a new sponsor for themselves and their child, who will move to the new sponsor’s accommodation once their parent or legal guardian arrives in the UK. In these cases, the relevant council should be notified of the child’s existing sponsorship arrangement ending.

Given the child will now be living with their parent or legal guardian, the new sponsor would be subject to the same council checks required under the regular Homes for Ukraine scheme, as opposed to the enhanced checks under the scheme for children.

If a parent or legal guardian wants to visit their child in the UK on a short-term basis, they will also need to apply for a visa. They can apply via the Ukraine Family Scheme (where eligible). If they are not eligible for the Ukraine Family Scheme, they will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa. It has been made clear in guidance to parents or legal guardians that the visit visa is only appropriate for short-term visits. If they want to join their child in the UK on a longer-term basis, they will need to apply for the existing visa schemes as per the approach set out above.

Other changes of circumstances

In the parental and legal guardian consent form, the parent or legal guardian must confirm whether the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative has permission to make day-to-day decisions about their child.

These day-to-day decisions could be about where to live with the child in the UK, for example if the sponsor decides to move to a new address,

Guidance to sponsors makes clear that the council should be informed of any changes of circumstance such as this.

Further responsibilities of councils

Councils’ existing statutory duties apply to all children. Should councils have concerns about the ongoing host arrangement or welfare of the child then they will need to consider whether it is necessary or appropriate to exercise any of their statutory duties to protect and safeguard the welfare of the child.

In addition to their responsibilities as outlined above in relation to approving sponsors, supporting safe travel for children and the ending of sponsorship arrangements councils will be expected to offer the categories of support listed below.

DBS checks

DBS checks will be conducted prior to arrival for these cases due to the stronger safeguarding considerations required for children travelling without a parent or legal guardian compared to those who are.

The council will facilitate the application by the sponsor and any other eligible individuals (those 16 and over) within the household, including seeking permission for the appropriate DBS checks.

In terms of eligibility, within the Homes for Ukraine (HFU) scheme for children travelling without a parent or legal guardian (the child guest), the expectation is that:

  • An Enhanced DBS check (with a check of the children’s barred list) will be undertaken on all members of the sponsor household who are aged 16+ where the sponsor is not related to the child guest.
  • Where there is a family relationship between the sponsor and the child guest, a Basic DBS check should be undertaken on all members of the sponsor household who are aged 16+.

In terms of initiating DBS checks, 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, Enhanced or Basic, 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 will be aware that changes to DBS ID checking guidelines are still in place; COVID-19: Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines. As stated in DBS guidance, when checking the validity of the documents it is best practice to carry out this examination face-to-face. Other alternative methods include via a live video link, for example Skype and FaceTime. In both cases you must be in physical possession of the original documents. Any risks identified when using live video must be assessed and mitigated by you if implementing this practice. You must not rely on the inspection of the documents via a live video link, or by checking a faxed or scanned copy of the document. Councils should be aware that:

  • To facilitate processing, councils or Registered Bodies must include the word “Ukraine” in the ‘position applied for’ field in the form for Enhanced checks.
  • 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.
  • Councils should ensure prompt input of check results to the Foundry system to enable assurance of the safeguarding process and to enable allocation of the £10,500 funding for arrivals.

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 guests to settle in.

Accommodation checks

This duty may sit across different council functions in two-tier areas. In these areas, a coordinated approach is appropriate. The sponsor guidance makes clear that prospective sponsors will be subject to accommodation checks.

Councils must confirm that they have checked that the accommodation exists as part of their data return to the Department. The cost of checks should not be passed to the sponsor or guest.

The sponsor scheme is a unique arrangement that is seeing people open up their homes in response to an international crisis. Accommodation checks should be proportionate and primarily consider the child’s safety and wellbeing

Councils have full discretion on the approach they take to accommodation checks and the judgements they make during these visits. We advise councils to check that accommodation is suitable for the number and profile of people intending to live in it, with access to adequate facilities, and that there are no serious safety issues (e.g. gas or electrical hazards). The Local Government Association has produced emerging good practice examples and resources that councils may find useful in this context, and will be working to support councils as they take this work forward.

You may wish to note that sponsors have been asked to check that their accommodation is suitable, with considerations set out in the scheme FAQs which reflect some of the most common safety issues in homes. In this guidance we ask that accommodation:

  • be kept clean and in a reasonable state;
  • have adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
  • have access to drinking water;
  • have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire);
  • have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
  • have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;

have safe gas appliances and fittings and flues; you should consider whether a Gas Safety check is needed - see more information;

have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;

  • be reasonably free from damp or mould;
  • have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
  • be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.
  • have appropriate safety features reflecting the age and specific needs of any children due to be accommodated.

Sponsors are also informed about the legal requirements on overcrowding. However, councils may consider any factors they deem relevant to assess whether accommodation is suitable, enabling flexibility at a local level to deal with individual cases on their merits. Councils continue to retain powers and duties set out in the Housing Act 2004. This guidance does not replace or affect that.

If, on checking the accommodation a council decides that it is unsafe and/or unsuitable, we recommend that they speak with the owner of the property about changes that could be made to remedy any issues before deeming the property unsuitable. This should be based on a pragmatic approach. The government would encourage councils to support sponsors – particularly those that do not usually house guests or let out their property to tenants - to bring their properties to an appropriate standard where possible, for example, by working with the Fire Service to supply additional smoke alarms.

Councils retain the discretion to use their enforcement powers to require that issues are remedied if they judge that this is necessary and proportionate. For example, councils could undertake a risk assessment using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and use their range of enforcement powers (e.g. Hazard Awareness Notices, Improvement Notices etc).

Supporting post-arrival and ongoing checks

Councils are also expected to take responsibility for post-arrival and ongoing visits. Within 24 hours of a child’s arrival the council should carry out an initial visit, consistent with private fostering requirements, which also confirms the suitability of the living arrangements and establishes any immediate welfare needs. This will be particularly important in a) scenarios where the parent or legal guardian has given responsibility for day-to-day care of the child to an accompanying adult relative who the council did not meet in person prior to the child arriving in the UK and b) scenarios where that accompanying adult relative with day-to-day caring responsibility is living with the child in self-contained accommodation, separate to the sponsor. The council will give the child information in Ukrainian and Russian about how to raise any concerns, and how they have a duty to help them if they believe they are at risk.

Subsequent visits are needed to ensure that the arrangements continue to be satisfactory and, in the child’s, best interest. This should be in line with the guidance for Private Fostering (i.e. at intervals of not more than six weeks for the first year, and at intervals of not more than 12 weeks in subsequent years). In all cases local authorities will want to consider whether there are circumstances that might deem more frequent visits necessary.

The format of these visits should be in accordance with the Private Fostering guidance. It is expected that the council will speak to the child without the sponsor and/or accompanying adult being present for part of the visit. These visits help determine that the arrangement continues to be in the best interests of the child, and should consider the child’s age and needs, including language skills.

Education and childcare in England

Just like families entering UK under the Afghan and Hong Kong BN(O) resettlement schemes, children arriving from Ukraine will have no specific additional priority for admission, but the council is under a duty to offer advice to parents or legal guardians on the school application process and should advise them where vacancies exist and how to apply.

If there are school places available in the local area, even if not in the immediate vicinity of the family’s home, the council should work with sponsor and or adult relative of the child(ren) arriving from Ukraine to enable the children to attend school as soon as possible. It is expected that councils provide places and, where they can admit above their published admission numbers (PAN); admitting children of Ukrainian refugees as exceptions to the infant class size limit; as well as place such children using the in-year Fair Access Protocol where needed, as permitted by the School Admissions Code.

All young people in England are required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday and most continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 18. Councils have a statutory duty to support 16- and 17-year-olds to move into education and training. Guests living in the UK under Ukraine Family Scheme, or the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine are eligible to enrol as a student, although colleges (but not state-funded schools) may ask to see evidence of eligibility.

The government is providing additional funding to councils to provide education services for children from families if they have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Administering payments to sponsors

The sponsor will have the option to receive a monthly £350 thank you payment for while a child stays with them for up to 3 years of their leave. This is subject to change if the individual turns 18 during this period and is therefore no longer a child. Where the individual turns 18 but has not been in the country for 12 months, the sponsor will be eligible for the payment for up to 12 months, in line with the wider Homes for Ukraine scheme. Where the individual turns 18 but has already been resident for more than 12 months, thank you payments to sponsors will stop.

This payment will be tax free and should not affect the sponsor’s entitlement to benefits or council tax status.

Councils will administer these ‘thank you’ payments to sponsors. Central government will allocate funding for these payments but expects councils to cover administration costs from the tariff including costs of fraud prevention.

Payment mechanism

  • We recognise that councils require flexibility to issue payments using the systems best suited to their local arrangements. Therefore, councils should build in payments as part of their existing workflow processes with sponsors, however they best see fit. However, councils must ensure that they adhere to the following conditions of payment: Only the named lead sponsor is eligible for the £350 payment per month
  • Lead sponsors can claim for up to 3 years. Lead sponsors are only eligible for monthly payments for as long as the guest remains living in their accommodation
  • Only one monthly payment will be given per residential address, regardless of the number of guests being hosted, size, or location of the property
  • Payments must only be issued to those lead sponsors where it is confirmed that they have passed the necessary property and safeguarding checks. All 5 set checks within Foundry must have been completed before the council begins the process of issuing the sponsor payment
  • Fraud checks must be conducted in line with the council’s anti-fraud processes
  • Lead sponsors are not eligible for the £350 monthly payment if they are charging the guest rent
  • As set out in this guidance it is expected that local councils will carry out regular ongoing checks on the sponsorship arrangement.

Whilst there is flexibility for how councils can deliver these payments, an example of how this might be conducted could include:

  • Confirming with the sponsor that they would like to receive the optional £350 monthly payments
  • Making sure the sponsor signs a self-declaration form confirming all details are correct, that they are not charging rent, and that they agree to notify the council of any changes
  • Conducting all safeguarding and property checks before administering the payment.
  • Conducting the necessary fraud checks, such as checking the sponsor’s identity, cross- referencing this information against relevant council databases to confirm the correct name and address has been provided, requesting a bank statement from the sponsor, and seeking evidence of the guest’s visa
  • Paying the sponsor monthly in arrears directly into their bank account

The onus is on the sponsor to notify the council of any changes during the 3-year period following the signing of the self-declaration form. Councils should make sure that this is clearly understood by the sponsor and that they understand who they should report any change of circumstances to. Councils should ensure at least one in person check is conducted at the 6-month mark at a minimum but may conduct more checks if they wish (in relation to children, it is expected that council checks will already be happening on a regular basis). Where other property or safeguarding checks are occurring, these can be combined with verifying that they guest still remains at the property. Councils will be provided with a sponsor declaration form template to support councils to ensure they proactively confirm that sponsors understand this requirement.

Where guests move out before the full 3-year period, the sponsor is eligible to claim the monthly payment if the guest has lived in their accommodation for at least half of the month of departure.

Identifying where rent is being charged

Councils should ask the sponsor and guest whether rent is being charged and whether the guest is being asked to provide contributions to food or utilities. With regards to sponsors of children, the council would need to check this with the parent or legal guardian and any accompanying relative who might be paying rent and/or contributing to food/utilities on behalf of the child. Councils should use their discretion to assess whether these contributions are excessive and, if they constitute rent in practice, councils can decline to make the thank you payment. Councils are responsible for the prevention of fraud of the £350 payment at a local level and this should be conducted in line with usual fraud prevention activities. Costs of counter-fraud activity related to the operation of the scheme are covered within the £10,500 tariff.

It is recommended that councils conduct a 10% sample of monitoring checks for these payments. Over time councils may wish to raise or lower this depending on the level of risk they identify. These checks can be combined with any other ongoing checks.

Should members of the public suspect fraud is taking place, they should direct their concerns to the relevant council to investigate further.

Where fraud is identified, councils should use their best endeavours to claw the money back applying their usual counter-fraud and debt collection practices. Where councils are able to claw the money back, we expect this to be included in the reconciliation process at the end of the financial year.

Differing locations

The authority where the guest resides is responsible for paying the monthly £350 payment to the sponsor. If the sponsor is within another council area, for example because their child guest is staying with an accompanying adult relative in self-contained accommodation in a different authority, the two councils should work together to ensure the necessary fraud checks are conducted. The council responsible for issuing the payment will need to adhere to all of the above conditions but will likely need to rely on the sponsors council to cross reference the information against their records. We will provide further guidance on what should happen with the £350 payment if there is a change in sponsor in due course.

Funding for councils for Homes for Ukraine

The Government is providing funding at a rate of £10,500 per person to councils to enable them to provide support to families to rebuild their lives and fully integrate into communities.

This funding is un-ringfenced, with a number of conditions attached, and matches the tariff offered under the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), although the role of councils will be different. For example, councils will not be asked to source initial accommodation under this scheme as this will be provided by the sponsor.

The government is also providing funding for councils to administer the optional ‘thank you’ payments at the £350 per sponsoring household per month rate. We allocate additional funding for these payments through a ringfenced grant, and we expect councils to cover administration costs within the tariff. There are also conditions attached to this grant. Further details on the grant conditions are outlined below.

The Department will make regular payments to councils, each covering three months of the programme, in arrears. On 30 June 2022 DLUHC made the first payment to councils in England, to cover the first three months of the scheme the months March to May.

Payments are based on the actual number of Homes for Ukraine guests (for the £10,500 tariff) and the actual number of payments to sponsoring households (for the £350 ‘thank you’ payments) within each area. DLUHC will conduct a reconciliation process at the end of the financial year to ensure that councils receive their correct entitlement for both the £10,500 tariff and £350 ‘thank you’ payments. Future guidance will cover outstanding detail on this process, including the process by which we will account for movements of guests between sponsorships which that cross local authorities.

In England, in two tier areas, both districts and counties have access to funds for their relevant duties under the scheme. Having engaged closely with representatives from the sector to determine the most appropriate payment mechanism, funding for both the £10,500 tariff and the £350 thank -you payments will be provided to upper tier councils.

However, in two tier areas it is a condition of the funding that councils must agree a plan locally to:

  • make prompt payments to lower tier councils in relation to all the services which they provide to guests under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, during the full duration of the scheme, including for services such as homelessness assistance for which lower tier councils are responsible; and
  • make an immediate payment to lower tier councils in relation to any upfront costs.

In Scotland, councils will receive the £10,500 and the £350 thank you payments directly from DLUHC except in those instances where guests are placed in temporary accommodation of more than 14 days. In those cases, DLUHC will pay the Scottish Government the £350 directly through budget cover transfers.

In Wales, the Welsh Government will receive the £10,500 tariff payments for local authorities from DLUHC. The £350 thank you payments will be provided directly to Welsh councils by DLUHC, except in cases where the Welsh Government act as a sponsor. In those cases the £350 will be paid to the Welsh Government until guests move into sponsorship accommodation, at which point the thank you payments will be paid to councils.

In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive will manage all £350 thank you payments to sponsors and all £10,500 tariff payments for local authorities, and will be compensated by DLUHC.

We will continue to collect data relating to the programme via the Foundry system, through which we expect councils to upload relevant data on a weekly basis at a minimum. We also expect councils to maintain accurate records on the number of guests and sponsorship households in their area. It is critical that this data is accurately captured and reported to the Department, to enable payments of funding to be made.

The government is also providing additional funding to councils to provide education services for children arriving from Ukraine under this scheme. The Department for Education (DfE) will allocate funding on a per pupil basis for the 3 phases of education at the following annual rates:

  • Early years (ages 2 to 4) - £3,000
  • Primary (ages 5 -11) - £6,580
  • Secondary (ages 11-18) - £8,755

These tariffs include support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

In addition to this existing support, the government will provide further funding to support councils with costs arising from cases where eligible children’s sponsorship arrangements break down after arrival in the UK, and children are placed into the care of a council, at a rate of £64,150 per child per year (for the first year).

We will also support councils with the costs of supporting any eligible children who have arrived via this route, been placed into the care of a council, and leave the care system once they reach the age of 18, at a rate of £16,850 per care leaver per year (also for the first year).

We will set out further detail on this additional funding in due course.

Whilst under this extension to the scheme councils may be required to provide support over multiple years, the guidance on funding set out above relates to the first year only (with the exception of the £350 ‘thank you’ payment, for which sponsors will be eligible for up to three years, as set out above). Funding arrangements will be kept under review.

We expect councils to use the tariff to meet all of their associated costs (both for providing council services and for administering payments) – except in cases where eligible children’s sponsorship arrangements break down, as set out above. We ask that any council who may be experiencing unmanageable pressures to contact the Department in the first instance.

Homes for Ukraine funding - grant conditions

The conditions that the Department attaches to these grants are set out in the wider Homes for Ukraine guidance for councils.

Further detail will be provided in due course about the additional funding for local councils to support them with costs (i) arising from cases where eligible children’s sponsorship arrangements break down after arrival in the UK, and children are placed into the care of a council and (ii) to support children who have been placed into LA care and leave the care system once they reach the age of 18.

Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) obligations

If any Ukrainian child is later placed into council care after arrival in the UK they will not be included in the National Transfer Scheme threshold (currently 0.07% of the local council’s general child population) which will continue to only apply to Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) in their care.

Existing council obligations to UASC under the National Transfer Scheme continue to apply regardless of any approved sponsorship arrangements or the breakdown of those arrangements with respect to children who enter the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Definitions

“Adult relative” refers to a person above 18 years of age, who is not the child’s parent or legal guardian, but is a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt (whether of the full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership).

“Child” or “children” refers to any individual who is under 18 who has already applied for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme who is not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian. This includes both children who will be accompanied by an adult relative and those who are intending to be hosted by an adult relative as well as those for whom where neither applies. Where relevant the guidance distinguishes between these groups.

“Council” or “local Council” refers to the local government authority in the area where the sponsor is living, whose duties include the welfare of children and who will have responsibility for overseeing sponsorship arrangements including pre- and post-arrival safeguarding checks. In Northern Ireland, child safeguarding is the responsibility of Health and Social Care Trusts. Any reference to a council in this context should be read as a reference to a Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.

“DBS check” refers to a check on the criminal record of an individual by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, the authority that is responsible for carrying out criminal record checks for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). DBS also maintains the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists, and makes considered decisions as to whether an individual should be included on one or both of these lists and barred from engaging in regulated activity. Any reference to a DBS check in this context should be read as a reference to Access NI checks in Northern Ireland.

“Further education” includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree).

“Guest” or “guests” refers to people who were residents in Ukraine before 1 January 2022, who have secured a visa under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, which enables them to be housed by a sponsor.

An “immediate family member” could be any of a:

  • Partner who is a Ukrainian national; or
  • Parent who is a Ukrainian national or whose partner is a Ukrainian national; or
  • Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner who is a Ukrainian national.

“Known sponsor” means that the child’s parent or legal guardian should personally know the sponsor, and that their relationship with the sponsor should have started before the beginning of the conflict on 24 February 2022. In exceptional circumstances, the council may determine that the sponsor does not need to be personally known to the parent or legal guardian, for example, where the council judge that a child will be cared for appropriately by an adult relative who has been given day-to-day caring responsibility by the parent or legal guardian for their child and who will live with their child in the UK.

“Legal guardian” refers to a guardian appointed by a court who has the same rights and responsibilities as parents in protecting the child’s assets and rights.

“Parental responsibility” in England refers to the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and their property. It also includes the rights, powers and duties which a guardian of the child’s estate would have in relation to the child and their property.

“Sponsor” or “sponsors” refers to an individual who has been approved to accommodate an individual or household from Ukraine under the “Homes for Ukraine” sponsorship scheme.

Annex A: Confirmation of understanding of role of sponsor of eligible child

I ________ [prospective sponsor] confirm that I have discussed and understand my prospective role as a sponsor of an eligible child (a child applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme who is not travelling with or to join a parent or legal guardian) with _________ [council representative].

This discussion included:

Duration of the sponsorship agreement – the sponsor should commit to hosting the child for the full 3 years of their leave to remain or until the child turns 18 (and has lived with the host for at least 6 months). Where the child is due to turn 18 within the 3 years of their leave, the sponsor should consider from the outset how they will support a move into independent accommodation or whether the child will be able to stay with them for an extended time period. The sponsor’s role in ensuring safe travel arrangements for the child both to the UK and when they return to Ukraine.

Living arrangements and whether the sponsor or an accompanying adult relative will take on day to day responsibility for care of the child.

That the parent or legal guardian will retain parental responsibility for their child.

Financial arrangements for the child as agreed with the parent or legal guardian.

Any medical, developmental or other needs the eligible child may have and how the sponsor will either meet these or support the adult relative to meet them.

The sponsor’s role in supporting the child’s education and registering them for a place a school or college.

The sponsor’s role in keeping in supporting the child to keep in touch with their parent or legal guardian and the possibility of facilitating visits from the parent or legal guardian.

The sponsor’s role in raising safeguarding issues or any other concerns about the child’s wellbeing including contact details.

Requirements to notify the council regarding any proposed change or breakdown of the sponsorship arrangement (see sponsorship breakdown and change of circumstances section below).

That the sponsor will receive ongoing council visits to monitor the sponsorship arrangement.

I ________ [Sponsor] confirm that I have discussed and understand my role as a sponsor of an eligible child.

I ________ [Council representative] confirm that I have discussed the role of a sponsor of an eligible child with the prospective sponsor.

Date ______

Annex B: Process for applications from eligible children made before 15 July 2022

1. Applicants (or prospective sponsors if those were the contact details provided in the original application) will be contacted by the Home Office to check that both parties still want to continue. As set out in sponsor and parent or legal guardian guidance, the proposed arrangement should be discussed in detail to ensure that all parties understand expectations.

2. For those applications that are continuing, the Home Office will provide guidance to request that the parent or legal guardian prepares two forms of parental or legal guardian consent:

a. Proof of parental or legal guardian consent for the child to leave Ukraine notarised by an authority approved by the Ukrainian Government:

i. If in Ukraine, then this must be certified by the notary authorities or the Guardianship Service of the city or regional council in Ukraine.

ii. If in another country, then this must be certified by the notary authorities in that country or by the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate.

b. A completed UK Sponsorship Arrangement Consent Form for parent or legal guardian. This is available to download. The sponsor or applicant will then email the completed documents to UK Visas and Immigration.

3. UKVI will check documentation and upload to the Foundry system.

4. Councils in England will receive notification of the sponsor’s application through Foundry and will be able to access all the information provided.

5. The council initiates their checks (set out in further detail in the Approving Sponsors section of this guidance), which include:

a. DBS checks

b. Accommodation suitability check;

c. Council led assessment:

  • A suitability assessment of sponsorship arrangements;
  • confirmation of expectations including in relation to the duration of sponsorship.
  • written confirmation that the prospective sponsor understands the expectations of them, as set out in the sponsor guidance.

6. The council will upload results of these checks to Foundry.

7. In parallel, UKVI will complete security checks on the prospective sponsor, all other adults in the sponsor’s household, and any adult guests. UKVI will also check the sponsor’s immigration status to confirm they have no time limit to stay in the UK or, if they have immigration permission, have at least 3 years or as long as they will be sponsoring the child. UKVI will update Foundry with the results of these checks.

8. After all of the checks have been completed, the council will record on Foundry if the sponsorship is suitable.

9. Where the application is failed, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will contact the sponsor directly to inform them that they do not meet the suitability requirements of the scheme and that applications linked to them cannot progress. In parallel, UKVI will contact the applicant to let them know their visa application has not been successful.

10. Where the visa application is successful, the Home Office will issue the guest with a permit to travel.

11. The parent or legal guardian and sponsor must ensure at this stage that safe arrangements have been made for the child’s travel and share these with the council. The child can then travel to the UK.

13. Within 24 hours of a child’s arrival, local councils should carry out an initial visit, consistent with the Private Fostering framework, to confirm the suitability of the living arrangements and establish any immediate welfare needs. This will be particularly relevant in a) scenarios where the parent or legal guardian has given responsibility for day-to-day care of the child to an accompanying adult relative who the council did not meet in person prior to the child arriving in the UK; and b) scenarios where that accompanying adult relative with day-to-day caring responsibility is living with the child in self-contained accommodation, separate to the sponsor. The council will give the child information about how to raise any concerns about their arrangement and has a duty to help them if they believe they are at risk.

Annex C: Pre-departure travel plan template

To ensure the safe transportation of eligible children entering the UK, we recommend sponsors work with the parent or legal guardian to populate the below template for any eligible child they are hosting. This plan should be shared with the local council.

  • The aim of this procedure is to assure all parties that a plan is in place for supervising all stages of the transit process as well as what contingencies should be enacted if anything goes wrong. To this end we are asking council leads to:

  • Engage sponsors to work with the parent or legal guardian ahead of departure to populate the fields below and mutually agree the pre-departure plan.

  • Once agreed, councils should upload the template to JIRA, ideally 72 hours ahead of departure. If uploading the council should flag in the subject box, the following title ‘’Eligible Child Transit Plan. GWFXXXX Name:XXXXXX

  • Provide the council with relevant emergency contact details.

Key information
Hosting council  
Name of eligible child  
Contact phone number for eligible child (if they have one)  
GW Number (available in in Foundry -Council to add)  
Name of parent or legal guardian  
Parent or legal guardian contact details  
Name of Sponsor  
Sponsor Contact Details  
Will the child be travelling alone Y/N
Name of accompany adult relative travelling with child (if applicable)  
Accompanying adult relative contact details (if applicable)  
Council Lead Official and role title  
Council Lead contact details  

Pre-departure plan

No. Action Yes/No Mitigation
1 Has the sponsor alerted the child or chaperone escorting the UAM to the pre-departure plan and are they confident they understand the process?    
2 Please can you include information in the mitigations box on the following:

a. Departure date and time

b. Flight number

c. Name of departure and arrival airports

d. Expected arrival date and time

e. Arrival terminal
   
3 If the child is under 13 years old and travelling alone, has the sponsor contacted the airline pre-departure to ensure the child is recorded under passenger assistance scheme?    
4 What language(s) does the child speak?    
5 Will the child depart the plane and present at the border themselves? If no please can you specify in mitigations box who will chaperone them.    
6 Does the child have any specialist needs (such as medical or mobility needs) that will require assistance? If so please can you detail these and any support requirements in the mitigations box.    

Handover and collection

No. Action Yes/No Mitigation
7 Can you detail in the mitigations box, where in the airport the child instructed to wait to be collected by the sponsor? If the child is travelling with a chaperone, then please ignore.    
8 What type of ID will the sponsor provide to confirm their identity ahead of handover?    
9 Has the Sponsor provided an alternative/emergency contact details should we not be able to contact them on the day? Please can this be provided as well as their relationship to sponsor in the mitigations box.    
10 Has the council informed the sponsor about welcome point support at the port of entry, should they need to use it?    
11 How do the sponsor or chaperone intend to continue their onward journey? Does this require the use of public transport and how long roughly will it take to reach the sponsor location?    
12 Has the council confirmed with the sponsor that they must inform them that the child is in their care immediately after collection at the port? If yes please can you provide contact detail of who the sponsor should contact (email or phone) in the mitigations box.    

Data sharing

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the Home Office are data controllers for the Homes for Ukraine visa sponsorship scheme.

Councils will become independent data controllers once they receive the data.

Further information can be found in this privacy notice, and with the data sharing agreement between DLUHC and the council.

Published 15 July 2022
Last updated 5 August 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added link to: new welcome guide for children arriving in the UK from Ukraine.

  2. Guidance has been updated with new information on future applications to the Homes for Ukraine scheme for children travelling without a parent or legal guardian.

  3. First published.