Hundreds of visas issued for Ukrainian refugees to stay in south east London

·3-min read
Number of visas issued for Ukrainian refugees in south east London (image: Google Maps/Canva)
Number of visas issued for Ukrainian refugees in south east London (image: Google Maps/Canva)

Hundreds of visas have been issued for Ukrainians to stay with hosts in south east London, as a new survey has found more support is needed.

Since March, Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion have been able to apply for a visa to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

The scheme, also known as Homes for Ukraine, allows people to host refugees for a minimum of six months.

A new survey has suggested that hosts need more financial help from the government amid the cost-of-living crisis, which has rapidly pushed up the price of food, energy, and fuel.

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Across the UK, more than 17,000 sponsors responded to the questionnaire between July 7 and July 14, with more than 70 per cent saying the crisis has impacted their ability to provide support.

Among those who said they were only planning on hosting for six months, or were not sure, 40 per cent said an increase in the £350 monthly payments they receive would encourage them to provide accommodation longer term.

Below is the number of visas issued for refugees staying with hosts in each south east London borough.

Bexley

As of August 2, 265 visas had been issued for refugees staying with hosts in Bexley – 204 of which had arrived in the UK as of the day before.

Bromley

As of August 2, 606 visas had been issued for refugees staying with hosts in Bromley – 435 of which had arrived in the UK as of the day before.

Dartford

As of August 2, 112 visas had been issued for refugees staying with hosts in Dartford – 89 of which had arrived in the UK as of the day before.

Lewisham

As of August 2, 448 visas had been issued for refugees staying with hosts in Lewisham – 335 of which had arrived in the UK as of the day before.

Greenwich

As of August 2, 585 visas had been issued for refugees staying with hosts in Greenwich – 421 of which had arrived in the UK as of the day before.

The Local Government Association, a membership body for local authorities, said better information was needed on what options are available after the six-month initial placement period.

It added that the "thank you" payment should be increased to reduce the burden on sponsors.

Separate data shows there were four refugee households owed a homelessness duty in Lewisham as of the end of June.

The Refugee Council, a charity which advocates for those fleeing conflict, said that support and advice was needed to stop arrangements from breaking down and refugees becoming homeless.

The charity's CEO, Enver Solomon, added the cost-of-living crisis was an "additional burden" to those who have already faced significant hardship.

The survey shows that many hosts supported their guests beyond providing accommodation – and have found the experience to be a positive one.

More than nine in 10 hosts have helped set up services for those staying with them, and 58 per cent say they have helped with sorting school and university places.

Another 37 per cent say they would consider hosting people fleeing from foreign conflicts again.

Refugees Minister Richard Harrington said the survey results were "testament to the goodwill the British public has shown the people of Ukraine".

He stressed that hosts would continue to receive monthly “thank you” payments for up to 12 months to help with the costs of opening up their home.

“We initially asked sponsors to host for a minimum of six months and we are working closely with councils to ensure Ukrainians have a safe place to live if they decide to move on," he added.

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