Advice on how public bodies can support the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Overview and purpose
Wales is the first ever ‘Nation of Sanctuary’. As people from Ukraine arrive in Wales we want to ensure they have access to a full wrap-around service. This service will support them by ensuring their safety and provide them with access to public services.
Local authorities have a critical role to play in the support for people from Ukraine arriving in Wales. They are best placed to support their local communities to offer these people the warmest possible welcome on their arrival.
This guidance provides information for local authorities on their roles in the delivery of the Homes for Ukraine scheme in Wales in relation to individual sponsors.
The UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme relies on individuals in the UK, with at least 6 months leave to remain, acting as a sponsor and matching with people displaced from Ukraine.
Organisations, such as charities, will be able to act as a sponsor and host individuals and groups displaced from Ukraine in the second phase of this scheme.
The Welsh Government’s Super Sponsor route is a quicker and safer route for displaced people from Ukraine to come to the UK. It removes the need for applicants to be matched with a host before being given permission travel to the UK.
By acting as ‘Super Sponsor’, rather than waiting for the UK Government’s matching process, Wales can provide sanctuary immediately, welcoming significant numbers with the right safeguards in place. Those arriving under Super Sponsor arrangements are encouraged not to accept informal offers of accommodation as these have not been subject to the necessary checks. There is no cap on the numbers we will welcome. The First Minister has suggested 1,000 as an immediate step on the Wales Super Sponsor route, and then a fair and proportionate share of the total coming to the UK.
Applications for the Super Sponsor route are done via the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine portal. The applicant selects ‘The Welsh Government’ when asked for the name of their sponsor and when they are provided with a visa, we can welcome them here.
As with other resettlement schemes, local authorities working in partnership with other statutory service providers have a critical role to play in its success. They are best placed to provide the support required to ensure those arriving are given the warmest possible welcome. This is what Welsh local authorities have done and will continue to do for those who have arrived from many countries through asylum, resettlement and relocation programmes. With the support of the Welsh Government they will continue to do so for people displaced from Ukraine.
This guidance outlines the role of councils in supporting Ukrainian guests who:
- arrive under the Welsh Government’s Super Sponsor route
- match to hosts in Wales through the Homes for Ukraine scheme
This guidance does not cover displaced people coming to Wales through the Ukraine Family Scheme.
"Super Sponsor” refers to the Welsh Government in its role under the Welsh Government’s Super Sponsor route.
“Host” or “hosts” refers to an individual, group or organisation approved to accommodate an individual or household from Ukraine under the “Homes for Ukraine” sponsorship scheme, or, has agreed to participate in the Welsh Government’s Super Sponsor route. Under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme a person individually matched may be referred to as a “sponsor” or “sponsors”.
“Guest” or “guests” refers to an individual or household previously resident in Ukraine, prior to 1 January 2022, who has secured a visa under the “Homes for Ukraine” scheme, which enables them to be housed by a sponsor (Host).
To apply to the Ukraine Sponsorship route applicants must be Ukrainian, or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national. They must also:
- have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022 (including those who have now left Ukraine)
- be outside of the UK
- have an eligible UK-based sponsor. This includes the Welsh Government as a super sponsor
- apply for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine)
UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme
Background and eligibility
These rules are at the discretion of the UK Government and may be subject to change. This guidance explains how the Welsh Government expects this scheme to operate in Wales. See also the latest version of the relevant guidance on the UK Government website.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme was opened to visa applications on 14 March 2022 by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Sponsors at this stage must be specific individuals.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme was opened to visa applications on 14 March 2022 by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Sponsors at this stage must be named individuals. On Friday 18 March 2022, people from Ukraine could register their interest online. Potential sponsors (individuals and organisations) could also register their interest in sponsoring someone.
A person in the UK may nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.
The number of people who can access this scheme is uncapped. It is dependent on the capacity of the sponsors (individual hosts) who come forward.
Displaced people from Ukraine will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years. They can access benefits, healthcare, employment, and other support. They must have a visa. They need to meet standard security checks before a visa can be issued.
Hosts (and members of their household aged over 16 years) must apply for an enhanced disclosure if they are hosting someone in their own home. This must be done when they register for both the Super Sponsor route and Homes for Ukraine scheme.
The local authority will also make checks. These will include social work and local authority record checks for any child or adult protection risks or concerns.
Sponsors in the UK can be of any nationality and with any immigration status. They must have at least 6 months’ leave to remain within the UK and pass the background checks. They can live in any part of the UK. Sponsors/hosts must provide accommodation for at least 6 months.
Local authorities will administer ‘thank you’ payments of £350 per month for each sponsor household on behalf of the UK Government. This is a ‘thank you’ payment not a rental or any other kind of contractual payment. Additional funding will be allocated for these payments. Local authority administration costs, including fraud prevention, should be covered within the tariff.
Whilst the sponsorship arrangement exists sponsors/hosts are eligible for an optional ‘thank you' payment. The UK Government will fund a £350 monthly payment to hosts where their guest has been UK for less than 12 months, but will uplift this to £500 where the guest has been in the UK for more than 12 months. Due to ongoing cost of living pressures the Welsh Government has decided to uplift thank you payments to £500 per month where guests have been in the UK for less than 12 months. This means that every host in Wales will receive at least £500 per month during 2023 to 2024.
To align with current financial processes and to simplify the host top up process, the local authority will be required to pay the £150 top up directly to hosts and claim this back from the Welsh Government on their quarterly claim forms. The claim should be broken down to reflect the monthly payments within that quarter.
Where local authorities have decided to uplift above £500, it will be their responsibility to fund the additional payment.
The thank you payment is subject to all required checks being completed. There will be only one monthly payment per address paid in arrears regardless of:
- the number of guests being hosted
- the size or location of the property
Payments should not be released to sponsors until property checks and DBS checks have been completed. In the event the host does not engage with the checks, or that checks highlight concerns, the thank you payment threshold will not have been met and should not be paid.
Guidance on the required property checks is set out in a section below.
This payment will be tax free. It should not affect the sponsor’s entitlement to benefits or to a Council Tax reduction. We will continue to work with local authorities on the delivery of these payments.
Sponsors/hosts should not charge rent. They are not expected to cover costs of food and living expenses. Sponsors/hosts may wish to offer this especially in early weeks while guests are settling in the UK. Sponsors/hosts should not expect their guest to carry out any unpaid work.
More information is available from the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Data flow and systems
The Welsh Government receives and shares the following data with local authorities:
- Homes for Ukraine: Individual and Super Sponsor routes
- offers of support
We do not receive any data relating to people coming to Wales under the Ukraine Family scheme.
Any queries on the data that is shared should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homes for Ukraine: Individual and Super Sponsor routes
The Welsh Government receives data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) about sponsors and citizens who have applied for visas under the Homes for Ukraine Individual and Super Sponsor routes. The Welsh Government does not receive any information about arrivals through the Family scheme.
We also receive data on Ukrainian citizens entering the UK under the Homes for Ukraine schemes from the Home Office.
Data on sponsors, approved applicants, visa statuses and UK arrivals is shared with local authorities via the Ukraine Data Platform.
Information governance documentation has been put in place, including the Information Sharing Protocol (ISP) which sets out what information can be shared between the Welsh Government, local authorities and NHS Health Boards and for what purpose. It also provides assurance that the partners have considered the requirements of data protection legislation. The ‘Homes for Ukraine Scheme: privacy notice’ has also been published to provide information on how we process personal data, both will be reviewed regularly.
Offers of support
The Welsh Government receives data about potential offers of accommodation for Ukrainian citizens from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Additional information about these offers is collected by Welsh Government including the location of the accommodation being offered.
The Welsh Government shares details of accommodation offers with the relevant local authorities through a secure file transfer.
The Welsh Government also collects data related to other offers of support from businesses and organisations. Where necessary data is shared with local authorities through a secure file transfer.
The ‘Ukraine support offers: privacy notice’ provides further information regarding the sharing of data relating to offers of support.
Homes for Ukraine Data Platform
The Welsh Government has developed a national Data Platform to support the Homes for Ukraine resettlement scheme in Wales.
It provides secure access to an up-to-date, single source of data to those providing support to Ukrainian citizens coming into Wales.
It helps local authorities support individuals as well as enabling reporting to Welsh Ministers and UK Government.
The Data Platform has been developed based on user needs. Use and take up of the platform continues to grow.
Local authorities and the contact centre are responsible for ensuring the information held in the data platform is up to date. It is essential that information is kept up to date and accurate. There are implications of failing to keep data up to date or not following guidance, such as:
- safeguarding issues: failure to maintain data correctly could slow an investigation or result in someone being at risk
- unlawful processing of personal data: as data controllers you are responsible for your data. By failing to update the data you are at risk of a breach of GDPR which could lead to serious reputational damage to your local authority, an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and possibly a fine
- incorrect information that is then used for strategic and tactical decisions and provides information to the Senedd
- incorrect numbers provided to UK Government for financial claims
The FAQ resource offers more information on the platform itself, the kinds of data the platform records, and the information governance procedures that are in place.
The Welsh Government and Transport for Wales (TfW) has set up a free travel scheme which allows all refugees and people from Ukraine to travel free on any TfW rail services. and on all local bus services. The scheme will continue until 24 July 2023 pending a further review.
The scheme provides unlimited travel on:
- all local bus services
- Transport for Wales rail services across Wales
- bus and Transport for Wales train services that cross into England if starting or finishing in Wales
The scheme is available for all refugees, people from Ukraine and those seeking international protection in Wales, in line with our Nation of Sanctuary vision on production of one of the following:
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) marked that someone is a ‘Refugee’, has ‘HP’ or ‘Humanitarian Protection’, or includes the words ‘Afghan’, ‘Ukraine’ or ‘Hong Kong’
- personally addressed letter issued by the Home Office / Home Secretary confirming anyone of the statuses in subsection A
- valid Ukrainian, Afghan or Hong Kong British National Overseas passport
There is no need for an individual to apply to participate in this scheme. If the individual is unable to produce valid proof of the above eligibility requirements free travel will not be provided and standard fares will apply.
Individual operator conditions of carriage apply for journeys made. Free travel is not available on National Express and Stagecoach megabus services.
In England, Scotland and Wales people from Ukraine can get free travel by train, bus, coach or light rail from the major airport or port where they arrive. To be eligible they must travel within 48 hours of arriving in the UK.
In Northern Ireland they can get free train or bus travel within 7 days of arriving.
Role of sponsors and hosts
Sponsors in Wales can be:
- of any nationality
- must have at least 6 months’ leave to remain within the UK must have passed the background checks
Sponsors are required to:
- provide suitable accommodation for a minimum of 6 months: It is at the local authority’s discretion if they wish to approve a host who is able to offer less than the recommended 6 months, but priority must be given to offering a sense of stability for a guest(s). The local authority should be mindful of pressures of supporting a guest to find alternative accommodation if a sponsor cannot provide accommodation for 6 months or more
- stay in regular contact with the person they are sponsoring prior to their arrival to help organise and coordinate their arrival in the UK
- where possible meet them on arrival, and facilitate transfer to their accommodation
- signpost the person to public services and assist them with tasks such as registering with a local GP surgery
some potential hosts who rent their home may have a tenancy agreement which includes a term that says they need permission from their landlord before they host a guest
Further information on the role of sponsors is set out in the guidance for hosts and sponsors.
We advise all sponsors to regularly read that guidance to get the latest information about ways to support the people they are hosting.
Welsh Government Super Sponsor route
The Welsh Government’s Super Sponsor route is designed to provide a quicker and safer route for people from Ukraine to come to a place of sanctuary.
It removes the need for applicants to be matched to an individual sponsor prior to being given permission to travel to the UK. Through the Super Sponsor route, people are offered initial accommodation and support to help them settle into Wales.
This support includes language and interpretation services, a health assessment, help to register for a bank account and access to social security payments.
Once people have arrived in Wales local authorities will assess people’s accommodation needs and seek to move people into longer-term accommodation.
This may be a social or private rental property or a property that has been registered by an individual on Homes for Ukraine: record your interest.
Due to the positive response to the Super Sponsor route, we have paused new applications, however this will be regularly reviewed in line with ministerial decisions.
Role of the Welsh Government
By adopting the super sponsor approach, the Welsh Government has committed to provide support for the individuals and families on arrival into the UK. We have developed support services to provide UK-based transport, accommodation, wraparound services and to work with local authorities to secure ongoing accommodation during their stay in Wales.
We work closely with local authorities and the third sector to provide a warm welcome through this initial accommodation and support package. Once arrivals are supported into longer-term accommodation, the local authority provides ongoing support and uses the national data platform to record people’s location and progress to access funding.
Role of local authorities
Local authorities are the key delivery mechanism for the Homes for Ukraine Super Sponsor route. The approach is similar to previous resettlement programmes and all 22 local authority resettlement teams will be involved in supporting arrivals into longer-term accommodation across Wales.
The initial process is:
- person arrives into Wales under Super Sponsor route and is allocated into initial accommodation that has been set up across Wales
- local authority and partners undertake initial triage on arrival to assess for any emergency needs
- local authority resettlement partnerships work with initial accommodation and arrivals to identify immediate and longer-term needs. This will see arrivals receive initial financial support, local information on services and area, support with staying in touch with friends and family, advice and support to access benefits and advice and support on accessing health and education services
- arrivals can access ongoing support through local authority and Third Sector as required
There are specific arrangements that need to be put in place to enable full provision of services and the implementation of overall resettlement processes, these are outlined in this guidance.
Third Sector Non-Statutory Support schemes
Wales Sanctuary Service
The Welsh Government has an existing contract with a Welsh Refugee Council-led consortium of third sector organisations to deliver advice and advocacy services to sanctuary seekers in Wales. The latest iteration of this service is called the Wales Sanctuary Service, replacing the Asylum Rights Programme in April 2022. Since the service was commissioned, the Ukraine crisis has led to thousands of additional sanctuary seekers arriving in Wales so we have varied the contract accordingly from July onwards to include Ukrainians.
The service can be called upon to provide help to Ukrainian arrivals with a range of queries or barriers in accessing support. This route to direct support for Ukrainians will be useful where the capacity of statutory services is stretched. The service is operational and taking referrals.
As well as advice and advocacy provision, the extension of the service includes a dedicated monthly virtual peer support forum for Ukrainians. Displaced People in Action is be coordinating this forum to help Ukrainians to connect with each other and discuss shared opportunities and challenges encountered in Wales. The service also includes immigration legal advice provided by Asylum Justice, where required.
Finally, the service has a dedicated Third Sector Coordinator to help us to map the outpouring of offers and informal support services, with a view to directing these offers most appropriately.
You can refer Ukrainians into the service for help via 0808 196 7273.
If there are any questions about the service itself please contact: email@example.com
Family Reunion Integration Service
Those arriving in Wales under the Ukraine Family Scheme receive very little support, their hosting family members do not receive thank you payments, and their host local authorities do not receive the £10,500 tariff. The Welsh Government has repeatedly called for funding parity between the two Ukraine visa schemes but UK Government has not agreed to provide this.
In the absence of any other support, the Welsh Government aims to support Ukrainian families and local authorities by grant funding the British Red Cross to provide trauma-informed, preventative and holistic integration support for these families. This project builds upon successful methods of supporting refugees reunited under the normal Refugee Family Reunion route.
The service provides a casework programme, led by the needs of Ukrainians arriving and their families. Bespoke integration plans will be established to help people settle in, access rights and entitlements and be supported where vulnerability is identified.
Unfortunately, we do not have data on Ukraine Family Scheme arrivals in Wales. As a result, we need to take a referral and ‘snowballing’ approach to promoting the scheme. We encourage all local authorities and third sector organisations who are in touch with Ukraine Family Scheme arrivals to promote the service to those individuals. We will also use social media networks to promote the service.
The service is operational and you can refer Ukrainians by calling 01633 720 010, or email: RSWalesUkraine@redcross.org.uk.
Homes for Ukraine Host support
The Welsh Government grant funded Housing Justice Cymru to provide a service to support the hosts on the Homes for Ukraine scheme in Wales. This is an extension of the work which Housing Justice Cymru does in leading a Welsh Government funded third sector consortium, providing Hosting and accommodation for people in Wales with refused asylum claims and no recourse to public funds.
Many local authorities now have their own support systems in place for hosts. The Housing Justice Cymru host support service will remain in place until the end of July 2023, should hosts wish to access any additional or independent advice.
The Host Support service also provides the ‘Introduction to Hosting’ training, which all those submitting expressions of interest will be signposted to. This can provide potential hosts with more information about the role, and help people decide if this is right for them. Housing Justice Cymru will also offer ad hoc training for hosts and or mediation between a guest and host where a placement requires support. You can make a referral for the mediation service by using the contact details below.
In addition to the Host Support Service, from April 2023 to July 2023, Housing Justice Cymru will be supporting local authorities to offer targeted help to guests in initial accommodation to support with their move on. We encourage local authorities to take this offer up as Housing Justice Cymru is able to encourage guests to consider host offers, and support guests to explore private rented sector options across Wales.
Housing Justice Host Support Service Contact Details:
Host helpline: 01654 550 550 (10am to 6pm)
Short-term emergency accommodation via Airbnb.org
Housing Justice Cymru is delivering a short-term project in partnership with Airbnb.org, with the support of Welsh Government. Airbnb.org is the charitable arm of Airbnb, tasked with providing humanitarian responses.
The project is time limited and in place until the end of June 2023.
Read the guidance for short term emergency accommodation via Airbng.org to find out more and how to make a referral to the project.
The Welsh Government established the Contact Centre to support local authorities and to coordinate and support the arrival of people in Wales under the Homes for Ukraine and Ukrainian Families schemes.
The Contact Centre operates a helpline and tracking service from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. The team also provides support with tracking Super Sponsor visa holders through their journey and allocating people to their initial accommodation in Wales.
The Contact Centre provides advice on travel arrangements and coordinates the movement of people between initial temporary accommodation where necessary. Its Data and Management team also:
- supports the rationalisation and closure of initial accommodation
- supports the maintenance and development of the Ukraine Data Platform
- assures host offers
The Contact Centre’s case management team supports the accommodation needs of more complex cases such as where:
- there are particular health and wellbeing or accessibility needs
- there are wellbeing or safeguarding concerns
- someone has not arrived at their expected destination
- there are cross-border allocations
- where there are pets
Other areas where the Contact Centre may provide support include:
- chain sponsorship cases
- stock cases of Unaccompanied Minors through Foundry
- managing host offers
The Contact Centre is hosted by Cardiff Local Authority.
Freephone within UK: 808 1751508
From outside the UK: 020 4542 5671 / +44 (0)20 4542 5671
Welcome centres and initial accommodation
The Welsh Government acts as ‘Super Sponsor’ for those allocated to initial accommodation such as Welcome Centres and university accommodation. The Welsh Government will provide funding to local authorities who have initial accommodation to deliver wrap-around support for people in those centres.
Local authorities should provide the following services and support:
- welcome and Induction
- access to money
- access to interpretation services
- casework support
- access to education
- access to healthcare
- risk assessment checks, safeguarding and on-site security
- immediate essential items
- connectivity: mobile phones and SIM cards
- local co-ordination between support partners
- engagement with the Welsh Government
Full details about the wrap around services is available from the Objective Connect information platform please contact UkraineResponseQueries@gov.wales to arrange access.
Welsh Government has commissioned Corporate Travel Management (CTM) to find and make hotel bookings across Wales to fulfil the increasing demand for initial accommodation.
Local authorities are asked to liaise with hotel operators to provide support to Ukrainians that are placed in hotel accommodation. The Welsh Government is rationalising the type and location of hotels, and prioritising self-catering accommodation such as found in holiday parks. This will give local authorities clarity on who will need to provide support and the likely number of people that may require it.
It is expected that stays in hotel accommodation will be short term only until either suitable longer-term accommodation is found or capacity is available in a other kinds of initial accommodation.
The Welsh Government will provide information about initial accommodation made in local authority areas and individuals and families allocated to the accommodation to enable local authorities in partnership with third sector, registered social landlords and other partners, to provide support.
The Welsh Government will register those local authority single points of contact (not already registered) on the Objective Connect Welcome Centre Portal which will give access to the necessary translated information to support Ukrainians placed in hotels.
The basic level of support should be:
- translated materials explaining the situation, what will happen next and what support to expect are made available to all arrivals
- cash or pre-paid cards provided to arrivals in line with guidance
- undertake an initial welfare check, ideally in person
- ascertain whether there are any immediate health needs
If arrivals are reporting they are unwell, advice should be sought from the NHS 111 service
- help arrivals to settle into the local area, this might be in conjunction with local voluntary or third sector groups
Local authority costs will be met from the tariff but, in some instances, for example where local authority areas are seeing significant numbers of arrivals into hotels, additional funding will be available. Local authorities should keep a record of associated expenditure.
The Welsh Government aims to ensure that the stay in hotels is as short as possible. We want to be as flexible as possible about arrangements local authorities may want to put in place locally for arrivals in hotels with hosting or other accommodation options. This will work alongside the centralised process for matching offers of accommodation across Wales. Our priority remains moving people out of initial accommodation and any hosting and other accommodation offers for this process should still be made to the UkraineresponseQueries@gov.wales mailbox.
Process for placement in initial accommodation
- CTM sources hotel and caravan park options. Preliminary booking is undertaken and Welsh Government notified. Welsh Government checks with local authority and other relevant agencies prior to confirming booking and informs relevant local authority if a booking is confirmed. The sourcing of this accommodation is dependent on room need; demand has significantly reduced in the latter part of 2022 as there are fewer new arrivals and move-on increases. Welsh Government will, therefore, work with all relevant authorities to close hotels over a managed six-week period. Timescale: Immediate.
- Contact Centre provides support to Ukrainian arrivals to help people get information about accommodation, the interpretation service and the Nation of Sanctuary website. Timescale: Prior to arrival.
- Contact Centre contacts local authority about placements in their area so Local authority can make contact with arrivals to deliver services. Note: where arrivals are unexpected it may be necessary to allocate accommodation at very short notice. The Contact Centre will do their utmost to ensure everyone is informed as soon as possible. Timescale: Once travel arrangements are known.
- Local authority provides induction pack with local contact numbers and local services. Timescale: Upon arrival.
- Local authority ensures £200 payment is made as soon as possible. £200 can be divided into smaller amounts (ideally no less than £50 per person immediately) if it is not possible to immediately provide £200. Balance to be provided as quickly as possible. Timescale: Upon arrival.
- Local authority confirms arrival of individual with the Contact Centre through the data sharing process. Timescale: Upon arrival.
- Hotel ensures breakfast and evening meal, cleaning and, linen services are provided. Ideally, provision of essential items on arrival. Where the hotel does not offer a full board option meal allowance packages will have been pre-arranged. Timescale: Upon arrival and continuous.
- Those in self-catering accommodation will be required to prepare their own meals and pay for these once in receipt of Universal Credit. Local arrangements will be in place to provide meals or vouchers until receipt of Universal Credit. Timescale: Upon arrival and continuous.
- Where guests have access to the laundry, they will be responsible for doing their own laundry, paying for use of the machines and buying their own laundry products. Where they do not have access to the laundry, they will be expected to pay towards the cost of laundry services. Timescale: Upon arrival and continuous.
- Local authority arranges provision of SIM card and internet-enabled devices (as required). Timescale: Within 48 hours.
- Accommodation provider ensures access to free WiFi. Timescale: Upon arrival and continuous.
- Local authority arranges for opening of bank account. Timescale: Within 7 days.
- Local authority supports Universal Credit application. Timescale: Within 7 days.
- Local authority contacts Local Health Board to ensure they are aware of arrival. Timescale: Upon arrival.
- Local authority to consider whether local voluntary organisations can be utilised to provide additional informal support, through interpretation, conversational English, befriending or other means, to support temporary stays in emergency accommodation. Timescale: Within 7 days.
Absences from initial temporary accommodation
Ukrainians who have been sponsored by the Welsh Government on a Homes for Ukraine visa may expect to be provided with accommodation for up to 6 months from first arrival into the UK.
We need to maintain the sustainability of the Super Sponsor route so that we can continue to offer accommodation to those who need it. This means that there are circumstances when the offer of initial accommodation during the first six months after arrival can reasonably be withdrawn.
Guests are notified on admission into initial accommodation that they cannot expect their rooms to be held until they return if they leave for more than two weeks. This forms part of the Code of Conduct which should be provided to all guests. Guests should inform the local authority if they expect to be away for longer than two weeks and reasonable departure from this general rule will be considered. If guests are absent for more than two weeks without agreement, the absent guests’ rooms are made available for someone else. Those that leave and then return after more than two weeks are usually offered alternative initial accommodation on their return as long as it is within six months of first arrival into the UK.
We will continue these arrangements for anyone who has been in initial accommodation up until the new year. From 9th January 2023 anyone who leaves their accommodation without good reason for a period longer than two weeks will have been deemed to have voluntarily withdrawn from the Welsh Government’s offer of accommodation and will no longer be offered initial accommodation on their return. It is important this is made clear on arrival and is contained within any written information given to guests, such as welcome packs or a code of conduct.
Leaving belongings in their room does not constitute occupancy and guests should be made aware that unattended belongings will be removed after the two week absence and only stored for a very short period afterwards until arrangements have been made for their disposal. Any costs incurred by this may be charged to the guest.
Flexibility may be exercised where the guest has a good reason for being absent for more than two weeks, such as unforeseen emergencies, illness or death of a relative; or the need to travel to take exams where these cannot be taken locally. Absences of two weeks or more should be treated on a case-by-case basis. Regular travel for work or business are not normally good reasons for prolonged or frequent absences.
Use of initial accommodation for those who are not Welsh Government Super Sponsor Beneficiaries
The Welsh Government does not receive funding from the UK Government for initial accommodation as part of the Super Sponsor route Super Sponsor initial accommodation should not normally, therefore, be used for non-Super Sponsor beneficiaries. Where there is capacity, however, there are exceptions that will be considered:
Safeguarding and emergency use case: we will support non-super sponsor beneficiaries where:
- there is a highly exceptional safeguarding reason
- other options such as alternative hosting placements or Airbnb.org short-term placements have been considered but no suitable placements are available
- a clear exit plan has been provided by the referring local authority to enable alternative accommodation to be provided, ideally within 30 days
Family unity use case: we will support those on the Scottish super sponsor route or the Homes for Ukraine individual sponsorship route where:
- the individuals have close relatives in our initial accommodation who are Welsh super sponsor beneficiaries
- they will be able to share the existing allocated accommodation without causing overcrowding
Children born to Welsh super sponsor beneficiaries after the initial visas were granted will need a separate visa for the child. The visa will normally be a Ukraine Extension Scheme visa. Children born to these families will also be supported in our initial accommodation during their parents’ stay.
Wrap-around support should be provided within the initial accommodation in the same way as for other guests. Local authorities will already be claiming the Integration Tariff for those on the Homes for Ukraine route allocated to their area. There is no Integration Tariff funding for those on the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Ukraine Extension Scheme, but support should be delivered as necessary.
Where people move to initial accommodation from a different local authority, the receiving local authority will need to give consent to enable re-assignment. This will enable a portion of the Integration Tariff to be claimed for Homes for Ukraine re-assignments. This is especially important in Family Unity cases to ensure most of the costs of supporting these individuals can be recouped.
In all cases of use of initial accommodation for non-super sponsor individuals, the Welsh Government must be consulted and permission granted.
The Home for Ukraine: framework for accommodation guidance explains the principles local authorities need to consider when housing people from the Ukraine. This includes providing accommodation after a stay in initial accommodation or where a hosted placement has broken down. It also provides advice about ‘thank you’ payments to hosts.
The Framework explains the over-arching principles to help local authorities with the challenging process of balancing our commitment to the people from Ukraine and homeless households in temporary accommodation.
The Framework includes recommended approaches to support the matching of Ukrainians in initial accommodation to hosted placements or other longer-term accommodation across Wales. It also includes the rematching of people where an initial placement has broken down and a new placement needs to be agreed.
Expected standards for accommodation is explained in this guidance.
Those arriving under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme will have met standard international security checks before being issued with a visa. Sponsors and all adults in the sponsor’s household will also be subject to initial Police National Computer (PNC), criminal records and Warnings Index checks by the Home Office.
PNC checks will only identify individuals who have been subject to arrest, remand, conviction or warning markers. All requests for Police information should be carried out through the formal Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) process. This process includes checks of various police databases. It gives the best reassurance possible that vital information is not missed which could lead to safeguarding concerns.
Local authorities should start the DBS application as soon as possible following receipt of data on sponsors and/or guests, on the individual scheme and aim to ensure that all checks are completed prior to placing guests where practical.
Where the local authority is made aware of a match after a placement has taken place, i.e self-matching, the local authority should ensure that DBS and accommodation checks are carried out immediately.
In the instance of a match on the Super Sponsor route, the relevant DBS checks must be completed in advance of move-in.
Local authorities can legally request an Enhanced DBS with checks of children’s and adults’ barred lists for all Homes for Ukraine sponsors and all members of a sponsor’s household aged 16 years and over if needed.
The local authority should use discretion when deciding which level of check to undertake on a sponsor (a Basic check or an Enhanced with Barred Lists check). This will depend on each hosting situation, including the make-up and needs of the guests that the sponsor is applying to host.
Local authorities must request Enhanced DBS checks (with a check of the relevant barred lists) in the following scenarios:
- on sponsors (and any other household member aged 16 years and over) of eligible children where there is a family relationship between the sponsor and the child, then an ‘Enhanced with children’s barred list check’ in the ‘Other’ workforce should be requested.
- on sponsors (and any other household member aged 16 years and over) of eligible children where there is no family relationship between the sponsor and the child, then an ‘Enhanced with children’s barred list check’ in the ‘Child’ workforce should be requested
- on sponsors (and any other household member aged 16 years and over) of a family group that includes at least one guest who is a child (a guest under 18) and they are not related to the sponsor, an ‘Enhanced with children’s barred list check’ in the ‘Child’ workforce should be requested
- when an adult guest, who is not related to the sponsor, needs more support, due to age, illness or disabilities and it is proposed that a member of the sponsoring household (aged 16 years and over) gives them this support, then an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the adults’ barred list) should be made on the specific member(s) of the sponsor’s household who will give that support
In all other cases, including if guests are being rematched with a new host, local authorities should use their own judgement to decide whether to apply for an Enhanced DBS check (with a check of the relevant barred list). If the local authority decides that an Enhanced DBS check is not needed, a Basic DBS check should be requested for sponsors and household members aged 16 years and over.
If a DBS check discloses previous offences, local authorities should take a balanced view on a case-by-case basis when judging the suitability of that individual (and their household) for the hosting role, taking into account factors such as:
- the person’s age at the time of the offence
- how long ago the offence took place
- the nature of the offence and its relevance to being a host
- what else is known about the person’s conduct before or since the offence
The decision should be clearly recorded and signed off by the assigned decision-maker. Some local authorities may wish to hold a panel to make this decision, or use their existing processes to consider such cases, i.e facilitating a multiagency meeting or raising with Public Protection Unit.
Complete Background Screening Ltd
The Welsh Government has confirmed that an arrangement with Complete Background Screening Ltd (CBS) allows access to the existing online Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) DBS solution until 31 May 2023. This will be approved by the UK Home Office and managed by CBS and Vibrant Nation.
To set up an account local authorities should email firstname.lastname@example.org directly. CBS will manage the registration process on behalf of CIW.
The following information is required:
- name of organisation
- address and postcode
- contact telephone number
- main contact name
- contact email address or shared inbox address
The main contact will receive an email with log‑in details into the CIW system and that will give access to the DBS Portal. The Main contact can share the log‑in credentials with other users who will be able to access the system simultaneously.
Where previous hosting arrangement has broken down due to safeguarding concerns, the local authority must undertake the following process:
- local authority notifies the Jira Homes for Ukraine Service Desk with a short summary of the issue including all the host name, D.O.B, and address or addresses
- local authority then forwards a copy of the notification sent to Jira to Ukraine Safeguarding mailbox and commits to also forwarding response from Jira
- If known, explain which individual has passed/failed checks
- the Welsh Government discusses responses on a monthly basis at joint meetings with UK Government and devolved administrations (see below)
- in line with UDP Ukraine Data Platform User Guide ensure the host is flagged as HST005- Rejected
Guests absences from hosting arrangements
We recognise that guests may need to be temporarily absent from their host accommodation for various reasons.
If a guest is away for more than 4 consecutive weeks in a single period, or it has been 4 consecutive weeks and they have not returned, the host will need to notify the local authority.
Where a guest is away for less than 4 weeks, there is no requirement to notify the local authority. However, if this is becoming a pattern and the guest is absent on multiple occasions for fewer than 4 weeks, hosts are encouraged to discuss this with the local authority. The local authority is expected to ensure that the reason for frequent absence is justified, and that the host placement is being appropriately used. The local authority can use their judgment as to whether the hosting arrangement is being abused, and consider if notice should be given for the placement to end. The local authority should attempt to work with the guest and understand the reason in the first instance and explain how further absences may affect the placement.
If a host is notified that a guest is leaving permanently, they must notify the local authority that the hosting arrangement has ended. They should not wait until 4 weeks of absence has passed before notifying the local authority.
If you have reason to believe that a host has withheld information to make thank you payment claims, the local authority has the right to make further investigations. This could result in the host having to pay back money.
Guests absent from sponsor accommodation for a continuous period exceeding 4 weeks
Once the local authority is notified of a guest’s absence over 4 weeks the host’s ‘thank you’ payments should be paused. These should be reinstated once the guest returns.
Guests in receipt of benefits from Department for Work and Pensions, should also be advised of the need to notify them of any absences from the UK.
Mental wellbeing and health care
Service referrals. All families from Ukraine can register with a doctor (GP) to access mainstream health services. This includes mental health services.
Guidance for Health Boards on the Health and Wellbeing of Asylum Seekers and Refugees explains how health support should be provided. Local authorities should work with local health boards to signpost people to advice and referral pathways to specialist public health services. For example for vaccinations (including the COVID-19 vaccination) or health screening.
Advice on further support services such as:
- initial stabilisation
- counselling and mental health support
- adult social care
- children’s services
should be provided as needed.
Materials to support the mental health and initial stabilisation of those arriving from Ukraine have been translated into Ukrainian and Russian. These are published on the Traumatic Stress Wales website.
The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) has produced a useful toolkit that can be used directly by people who have experienced traumatic events. This has been translated into over 20 different languages (including Ukrainian and Russian).
Supporting people who have suffered traumatic events Toolkit:
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published support materials to help with stabilisation during the initial resettlement phase. This includes a helpful leaflet about coping after a traumatic event which contains information for anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, and can also help someone who knows a person who has experienced a traumatic event. This leaflet is also available in over 20 different languages (including Ukrainian and Russian).
CALL Mental Health Helpline is available to support people and their families arriving in Wales. CALL uses Language Line if someone wants to access help in a language other than English and Welsh. Information on the CALL Mental Health Helpline has also been translated into 20 different languages (including Russian and Ukrainian):
Support for Displaced People in Wales in Private Accommodation guidance
for sponsors has been published by the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Hub Wales. The document includes links to Royal College of Psychiatrists resources on coping after a traumatic event..
ACE Hub Wales is part of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Public Health Wales (PHW). They have developed a range of resources focussing on tackling, preventing and mitigating the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences. This includes a pre-recorded training resource delivered to those supporting displaced people.
ACE Hub Wales has also published a leaflet to explain the effects of being exposed to distressing events which have been translated into multiple languages. This is included in a mental health resources document published on the Traumatic Stress Wales website. They have also published helpful information on the health and wellbeing support available for displaced people.
Information about understanding and dealing with grief (in Ukrainian) is available from Cruse Bereavement Support.
The information includes step-by-step instructions on how to call the Cruse helpline and receive help through an interpreter. There is an article on their website about traumatic loss in conflict and war.
The Welsh Government is working to ensure that safeguarding is a central consideration in the systems, policy and advice being developed to support the arrival of people from Ukraine. We know this is also a priority for local authorities and relevant safeguarding partners.
There are a number of different ways in which people from Ukraine and people in Wales will come to be living in a single household. This guidance is about the individual UK Government sponsoring scheme via Homes for Ukraine. It will be reviewed and updated regularly.
Overall, local authorities are required to carry out their existing statutory safeguarding functions in relation to this individual sponsoring scheme, as they would for any other population in Wales. Advice on identifying and responding to safeguarding concerns about children or adults at risk (as defined in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014) is explained in the Wales Safeguarding Procedures.
The Case Management team are now able to support and assist local authorities to ensure guests are kept safe and any concerns swiftly resolved.
Local authorities are asked to direct all such queries to:
Freephone within UK: 808 1751508.
From outside the UK: 020 4542 5671 / +44 (0)20 4542 5671.
The Welsh Government recognises Ukrainian refugees are at risk of modern slavery. This includes Ukrainians who are internally displaced, those who have travelled to neighbouring countries, and those who have arrived or are currently transiting to the UK. We have raised these concerns with the UK Government, are monitoring the situation closely, and are engaging with relevant partner agencies concerning these issues.
Local authority staff engaging with Ukrainians should have awareness of modern slavery. There are many free resources on modern slavery, including e-learning courses for First Responders and on child victims of modern slavery. The Home Office has produced a Modern Slavery Awareness Booklet.
Accessible and multilingual information and resources on modern slavery are also available at online sources including:
- The Welsh Government’s Sanctuary site
- The Welsh Government’s Live Fear Free site
- The Wales Safer Communities Network site
Ukrainian refugees are at risk of the 4 main types of modern slavery as identified by the Home Office:
- Labour exploitation: where victims are forced to work in a highly exploitative situation in which they cannot freely leave for other employment or exercise choice.
- Criminal exploitation: where victims are exploited and coerced to commit a crime for someone else’s gain. An example of criminal exploitation is the transportation and cultivation of drugs
- Sexual exploitation: where victims are coerced into sex work or sexually abusive situations. This includes child sexual exploitation.
- Domestic servitude: which typically involves victims working in a private family home where they are ill-treated, humiliated, subjected to unbearable conditions or working hours or made to work for little or no pay.
Local Authorities in England and Wales are required to follow the Statutory Guidance for England and Wales under section 49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Local Authorities in Wales should also follow the Wales Modern Slavery Safeguarding Pathway.
There are many different signs of modern slavery that depend on the type of exploitation. Unseen UK, which run the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline has produced information on signs of modern slavery to look out for.
Read Information about reporting modern slavery. In Wales, a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) approach is adopted to refer adult victims into support and appropriate MARAC guidance should be followed. Complete the online form to make a National Referral Mechanism (NRM) referral.
Informed consent is required for an adult to be referred into the NRM. Where an adult does not consent to be referred, a Duty to Notify referral should be completed using the same online form.
Following referral to the NRM, a decision should be made within five days by the Home Office competent authority on whether there are reasonable grounds to suspect the person referred is a victim of modern slavery. This is called a Reasonable Grounds (RG) decision. Following a positive RG decision, the potential victim will enter a recovery period until a Conclusive Grounds (CG) decision is made.
Adults and their dependents should receive support through the recovery period. This includes financial support, medical support, accommodation, translation and interpretation services, and access to legal representation. Bawso are the Modern Slavery Victim Care and Coordination (MSVCC) service provider in Wales.
Children who are suspected victims of modern slavery must always be referred to the NRM and do not have to provide consent. In addition, children should also be referred to the Independent Child Trafficking Guardianship (ICTG) service. The ICTG service, operated by Barnardo’s, operates nationally in Wales. This service provides various practical, psychological, and emotional specialist services to children. Children can be referred using the online form. This is in addition to NRM and safeguarding referrals which must also be made.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) have produced ‘Know Your Rights’ posters about exploitation in English and Ukrainian. Local authorities should ensure these posters are displayed in all Welcome Centres and initial temporary accommodation within their areas.
People seeking sanctuary from Ukraine have the right to work as soon as they have been given a visa to stay in the UK from Ukraine. While some sponsors may offer employment opportunities following Ukrainians arriving in sponsor accommodation, the rights of Ukrainians must be fully respected.
Education and childcare
The Welsh Government has no powers to change the laws or policies on immigration this is reserved to the UK Government. When a person arrives in the UK their immigration status is decided by the Home Office. People coming to Wales from the Ukraine under the Home Office schemes will have immigration documents or visas to show their rights to work and claim benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have removed certain residence based qualifying conditions for people from the Ukraine. People from the Ukraine who have come to the UK under certain Home Office visa schemes are exempt from the Habitual Residence and Past Presence Tests. This means they can apply for certain benefits immediately after arriving.
The Welsh Government has no powers in relation to:
- the welfare benefits system including benefits for disabled people
- support for people seeking employment
- support for people to get into work
- access to benefits such as Universal Credit
These are managed by the UK Government at the DWP.
Income related benefits for children, such as Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, are managed by the UK Government at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Council tax discounts and exemptions
A person who has come to Wales under the Home for Ukraine sponsorship scheme and continues to reside with a host will be disregarded for council tax purposes. This will protect the host’s entitlement to the following discounts:
- 25% discount for one liable adult in the sponsor household or
- 50% discount where all people in the sponsor household are already disregarded
The host will not lose any exemption from council tax if they offer accommodation to a person who has a visa under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme.
If the host provides accommodation in a second home the higher premium council tax will not be charged. The person residing in the property will be liable to pay council tax at the standard rate.
An individual or family from the Ukraine living in separate accommodation will be liable to pay the standard rate of council tax. The Welsh Government wants them to have access to council tax support to reduce the amount they must pay where appropriate.
From April 2023, the Welsh Government has made provision in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme regulations (CTRS) so that people from Ukraine are eligible for council tax support.
The council tax bills of households who host people under the Homes for Ukraine scheme are not affected. Also people from the Ukraine living in separate accommodation will have access to the CTRS.
Support for people from Ukraine seeking employment is managed by the UK Government at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Employment support will be assessed at a local level by resettlement teams. DWP Work Coaches will signpost individuals to suitable employability and skills support.
DWP Work Coaches will undertake individual assessments. People from Ukraine will have access to a range of employment and skills support that is tailored to their individual needs.
For businesses seeking to offer employment it is important to note that guests are given time to rest and to recuperate. They may not be immediately available for work. Offers of accommodation must not to be linked to offers of employment.
DWP has implemented a new process for employers to share details of their potential vacancies. Employers should complete an on-line template via the DWP’s offer work to people who have come to the UK from Afghanistan or Ukraine page.
When a completed template has been submitted, a member of the team at the DWP will contact the prospective employer to discuss the vacancy. Suitable vacancies will be made available to anyone seeking employment across the Job Centre Network.
The Working Wales service can provide personalised expert careers advice and employment support. It is a free service available to anyone aged 16 and over living in Wales.
Working Wales can help by offering:
- careers information, advice and guidance
- help to find job opportunities
- CV and application support
- job interview preparation
- redundancy and unemployment support
- support to apply for funding
- advice and coaching on career change
- help to upskill and access training
- referrals to other employability services
Working Wales can also help people seeking sanctuary by providing access to:
- a language line for interpretation during our appointments
- advisers specialising in support for refugees and those seeking sanctuary
- transferring overseas qualifications into recognised UK equivalents for those applying for work or training
Working Wales contact details:
- Phone 0800 028 4844
- Dropping into a Careers Wales centre
Specific guidance has been developed to support the recruitment of people from Ukraine into the childcare sector.
Pets from Ukraine
Cats, dogs or ferrets brought into the UK must meet strict health requirements. Read the Bringing your pet to Wales from Ukraine: frequently asked questions for more information.
Birds, rodents and other small mammals may need a licence from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). These birds and small mammals must be kept indoors in an enclosure for 30 days. They must not have any contact with other pets or wildlife. These requirements do not apply to reptiles or invertebrates.
Welsh ministers have decided not to relax the quarantine requirements in Wales for cats, dogs and ferrets. We will monitor the implementation of the home containment policy in England and Scotland. If the policy changes this guidance will be amended. Please check the date of the guidance to make sure it is up to date.
It is important to ask hosts if they are happy to accept pets and the type of pets they can accept. Some people may dislike or not be able to tolerate some types of animals. Some hosts or their household members may have allergies which would make it difficult to host a pet.
If an animal is quarantined, it is important that Welsh Government is notified of this and proposed or actual release dates as soon as possible. This will enable us to plan for the animal’s release, either into pet-friendly accommodation with its owner or, where this is not possible, to boarding kennels.
There may be limited capacity to house pets in initial accommodation. Cats, dogs and ferrets which meet APHA requirements may have to be housed elsewhere. This will usually be in boarding kennels or catteries. Welcome Centres may pay for this using their wrap-around services budget. The Contact Centre will notify the Welcome Centre about people who are travelling with pets. This will allow the Welcome Centre time to make the necessary arrangements. The local authority should have a list of registered kennels and catteries in their area.
No one should arrive at their accommodation in Wales with a pet that does not meet APHA requirements. If there are concerns a pet is not compliant guidance should be sought immediately from APHA.
Telephone: +44 3000 200 301 (option 2)
Evidence of compliance may be in the form of an APHA licence or a pet passport. APHA may need to send someone to assess the animal. Hosts or the Welcome Centre should ask the pet owner to keep the animal indoors. The animal must not have contact with other pets, wildlife or humans. APHA must be satisfied the animal is compliant before it can live with the family.
There are no restrictions for pets that meet all APHA requirements.
Tempo Time Credits: support for volunteers and hosts
Tempo Time Credits is charity in England and Wales that provides opportunities for people to do volunteer work in exchange for time credits. Those time credits allows them entry to events and activities hosted by a range of organisations.
Tempo Time Credits will support all families hosting people from Ukrainian with 10 time credits. This will provide an opportunity to access to a range of opportunities, experiences and activities to support wellbeing and relationship building.
Tempo Time Credits could be used by the hosting family and guests together to have experiences in the community. Or they could be used by the guests on their own. Watch the video on How do I use Tempo Time Credits.
Contact Tempo's Customer Service team for further information email@example.com.