- Document Cover
- Summary of Recommendations and Observations
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Delivery, partners and co-ordination
- 3. Raising awareness
- 4. Monitoring: challenges and implications
- 5. Opening up access and advancing equality and non-discrimination
- 6. Take up
- Annex 1 – Overview of support schemes
- Annex 2 – Approach to Scrutiny
Annex 1 – Overview of support schemes
Immigration and visa issues are reserved to the UK Government. As part of the effort to support Ukrainian families and returning UK nationals the UK Government introduced a humanitarian support package, announced in a statement made by the Home Secretary to the UK Parliament on 1 March 2022. This includes a series of schemes operating from 18 March 2022, under which anyone seeking to utilise the provisions made in the Regulations would enter the UK through:
- The Ukraine Extension Scheme which applies to Ukrainian people with permission to be in the UK on 18 March 2022 (or who previously had permission to stay in the UK that has expired on or after 1 January 2022). A successful application allows the person to apply for an extended visa allowing them to live, work and study in the UK for up to three years.
- The Ukraine Family Scheme has allowed for British nationals and people settled in the UK to bring a wider group of family members to the UK, with eligibility expanded to parents, grandparents, adult offspring, siblings and their immediate family members. Those coming to the UK are allowed to stay for a maximum of three years and are able to work and access public funds, including the social security system.
- The Homes for Ukraine Scheme was also established for visa applications from Ukrainian applicants who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them. The rules of the scheme allow for individuals or organisations who want to offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine to become a sponsor (with certain restrictions). This process is managed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
During the development of the UK Government schemes, the Scottish and Welsh Governments called for the UK Government to waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge in the UK. They raised concerns about the Homes for Ukraine scheme, particularly the requirement for a displaced person to seek out a private sponsor before being able to receive a visa and the possible implications for the protection of vulnerable people. Both Governments highlighted their intent to ensure that displaced people previously resident in Ukraine were cleared to enter each country quickly and housed temporarily, while they worked with local partners to provide longer term accommodation, safeguarding and access to services.
On 18 March, the Scottish Government announced that they had agreed a “super sponsor scheme” with the UK Government to sit alongside the Homes for Ukraine scheme. This removed the need for applicants to be matched to a host prior to being given permission to travel to the UK (though they still require a visa to be approved by the UK Government in order to gain entry). The Scottish Government directly offers sponsorship to people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to resettle in Scotland, meaning that people can travel immediately and be provided with temporary accommodation, meals and a range of support and advice including in relation to applying for social security benefits.
By 16 August 2022, 10,975 people of the 14,247 displaced people previously resident in Ukraine who had arrived in Scotland (76%) were sponsored by the Scottish Government under the “super sponsor scheme”. 29,803 visas have been issued naming a Scottish sponsor though 63% of these people have yet to arrive in Scotland. This is significantly higher than the 3,000 displaced people previously resident in Ukraine who it was originally anticipated would be welcomed to Scotland under the scheme.
 Anyone in the UK can apply on the basis that they can offer a spare room or home for at least 6 months, they are a British citizen or have leave to remain in the UK for at least 6 months and they do not have a criminal record.