Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice
The first matches are being made under the Homes for Ukraine scheme to enable people fleeing the war in Ukraine to seek safety in Wales and the UK.
This scheme will enable people from Ukraine who do not have existing family connections here to obtain a visa to come to the UK for up to the three years while Putin’s troops continue to assault Ukraine.
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people in Wales – some 10,000 people have registered their intent to offer space in their home and to sponsor someone from Ukraine.
Wales will act as a super-sponsor for this scheme. This option will be available to people fleeing Ukraine from 26 March.
As part of our role as a super sponsor, we have been working intensely with local government in Wales; with the third sector and with wider public services to ensure all the support refugees need when they arrive in Wales are available. This includes support for people suffering trauma and ill health as a direct result of the conflict.
We will also be able to sponsor people directly and people arriving via this route will be directed to one of the welcome centres, which are being set up across Wales before going on to medium and longer-term accommodation. This model is based on the success of the Afghan and Syrian resettlement schemes.
I want to put on record my thanks to the close working relationship we have with local government and the third sector – especially the WCVA – and other partners.
Transport for Wales has confirmed Ukrainian refugees will be able to access free travel while they are settling in Wales by showing a Ukraine passport to conductors and station staff for a period of six months.
The scheme is an extension of an ongoing Welsh Government programme, which provides free public transport for asylum seekers in Wales, as part of our ambition to become the world’s first Nation of Sanctuary as endorsed by the United Nations.
There is a warm welcome waiting in Wales.
People who have a room in their home and want to help, can register their details for the Homes for Ukraine scheme online (external link).
Donations of money to the DEC Ukraine Appeal can be made at www.dec.org.uk (external link).
I will keep Members updated with the latest developments.