Evacuated orphans find shelter in far western Ukraine and Poland
France 24

More than two million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion. Now, there are two UK schemes to help refugees out of the crisis.

The EU has abolished visa requirements for those fleeing the war and allowed Ukrainians to resettle for three years. However, the UK is much more strict.

The first scheme allows Ukrainians to enter the UK for up to three years – if they have extended family. The scheme will allow around 200,000 people into the UK.

Ukrainians who want to enter under this scheme must have family who is one of the following:

  • A British citizen
  • Has UK settled status, proof of permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain
  • Someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • An EU, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swiss, or Liechtenstein national with pre-settled status who started living in the UK before 1st January 2021

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The second scheme allows an unlimited amount of Ukrainians with no family ties to seek sanctuary in the UK. Though, they must have a sponsor who can provide housing. Further details will follow in the coming days by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Boris Johnson told MPs at PMQs that the sponsorship route will allow "everybody in this country can offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine".

The government says it "will work closely with international partners and neighbouring countries on the scheme to ensure that displaced Ukrainians forced to flee their homes are supported to apply".

How can you help?

People who have a spare room available can register with Shelter for Ukraine,which will connect you with Ukrainians seeking refuge.

UK charity, Refugees at Home also puts people in contact with asylum seekers needing somewhere to stay.

In addition,Airbnbis also helping hosts open up their homes in a time of crisis. The company will fund all stays and you don't need to be an existing Airbnb Host to sign up. Anyone who can't host can still donate to this effort.


The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

  • To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.
  • To sign the petition click here.
  • If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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