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‘Unacceptable that Ukrainians cannot switch between visa schemes after arrival’

Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK under the family visa scheme with nowhere to live should not have to register as homeless when residents nearby are offering accommodation, the Government has been told.

They should also not be required to find a sponsor before “escaping a war zone” if their family member cannot give them a room, Labour MP Clive Betts said in a letter to refugees minister Lord Harrington.

Refugees with family connections in the UK are currently unable to transfer on to the Homes For Ukraine sponsorship scheme if their relatives cannot provide accommodation.

This means councils are having to provide them with emergency accommodation, such as hotels.

In a letter to Mr Betts, who is chairman of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, Lord Harrington had said it is not possible to switch schemes after arrival.

Ukrainians with relatives who cannot accommodate them are “welcome to apply” under the sponsorship scheme, but must do so before they arrive in the UK, he said.

Mr Betts said the committee had found this “unacceptable”, and that he “strongly” urges the Government to rethink the policy.

Responding to Lord Harrington on Wednesday, he wrote: “It should not be incumbent on refugees escaping a war zone to find a sponsor before leaving that war zone simply because their family in the UK does not have suitable accommodation.

“Nor should a refugee arriving on the family scheme have to register with their council as homeless when residents in the area are willing to offer accommodation.”

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