This commentary discusses the ways in which the welfare system has responded to the financial and housing needs of Ukrainian citizens coming to the UK since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The focus is on two key areas of policy: social security and housing. The article considers the revised eligibility criteria for welfare benefits and two policies which can provide accommodation: the Ukraine Family Scheme, which allows applicants to join family members in the UK, and the Ukrainian Sponsorship Scheme (known as ‘Homes for Ukraine’) which allows Ukrainian nationals to come to the UK if they have a sponsor who can provide accommodation for at least six months. It provides a comparison of the provision for Ukrainian refugees and the standard asylum system in the UK.
This article concludes that although the UK government quickly introduced emergency provisions for newly arrived Ukrainians which go beyond the scope of support for many other groups moving to the UK, significant areas of concern are evident, with risks that these will increase in future months and years. These concerns centre on discrepancies between the two policies which provide accommodation, risk of exploitation, homelessness caused by the breakdown in provision, and complexity in the welfare benefit system.
Betts, C. (2022) Homes for Ukraine: checks, https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/22359/documents/165277/default/.
Charity Commission (2022) Ukraine Crisis: Increased Risk of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment, London: Charity Commission, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukraine-crisis-increased-risk-of-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse-and-sexual-harassment.
Chartered Institute of Housing (2022) Help for Ukrainian Refugees, Coventry: Chartered Institute of Housing, https://www.housing-rights.info/help-for-ukrainian-refugees.php#ukraine-family-scheme.
Crew, J. (2022) Home Secretary could face legal action over Ukraine visa delays, Independent, 3 May, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ukraine-priti-patel-refugee-visa-delays-b2070221.html.
Das, S. and Townsend, M. (2022) Ukrainians face a homeless future in the UK thanks to red tape on renting, The Guardian, 19 June, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/19/ukrainians-face-a-homeless-future-in-the-uk-thanks-to-red-tape-on-renting.
DLUHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) (2022a) Homes for Ukraine: Sponsor Guides, London: DLUHC, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guides.
DLUHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) (2022b) Homelessness Management Information – Ukrainian Nationals: England, London: DLUHC, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-management-information-ukrainian-nationals-england.
DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) (2022a) Immediate Benefit Support for Those Fleeing the Invasion in Ukraine, London: DWP, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/immediate-benefit-support-for-those-fleeing-the-invasion-in-ukraine.
DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) (2022b) Guidance A4/2002: The Social Security (Habitual Residence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, London: DWP, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-benefit-adjudication-circulars-2022/a42022-the-social-security-habitual-residence-amendment-regulations-2022-and-the-homes-for-ukraine-scheme.
European Commission (2022) Information for People Fleeing the war in Ukraine, Brussels: European Commission, https://eu-solidarity-ukraine.ec.europa.eu/information-people-fleeing-war-ukraine_en.
Home Office (2022a) Apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme Visa, London: Home Office, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-ukraine-family-scheme-visa.
Home Office (2022b) Ukraine Family Scheme, Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) and Ukraine Extension Scheme Visa Data, London: Home Office, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukraine-family-scheme-application-data/ukraine-family-scheme-and-ukraine-sponsorship-scheme-homes-for-ukraine-visa-data--2.
Home Office (2022c) Home Secretary Statement on Humanitarian Support for Ukrainians, London: Home Office, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/home-secretary-statement-on-humanitarian-support-for-ukrainians.
Institute for Government (2022) Asylum Backlog, London: Institute for Government, https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/article/explainer/asylum-backlog.
Machin, R. and McCormack, F. (2021) The impact of the transition to Personal Independence Payment on claimants with mental health problems, Disability & Society, doi: 10.1080/09687599.2021.1972409.
Migration Observatory (2022a) Asylum and Refugee Resettlement in the UK, Oxford: Migration Observatory, https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/migration-to-the-uk-asylum/.
Migration Observatory (2022b) Q&A: The UK and the Ukraine Refugee Situation, Oxford: Migration Observatory, https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/migration-and-the-ukraine-crisis/?mc_cid=57fda7247a&mc_eid=2544d054e8.
Scottish Government (2022) Scotland’s Support for Displaced People from Ukraine: Super Sponsor Scheme Review, Edinburgh: Scottish Government, https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-support-displaced-people-ukraine-review-super-sponsor-review/#:~:text=The%20Scottish%20Government%20took%20the,arrangements%20to%20be%20found%20first.
UK Parliament (2022) Universal Credit: Refugees, Question for Department for Work and Pensions, London: UK Parliament, https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-03-28/148320.
UNHCR (2022) UNHCR Statement on the UK’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, https://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/press/2022/4/6256b5144/unhcr-statement-on-the-uks-homes-for-ukraine-scheme.html.
|May 2022 onwards||Past Year||Past 30 Days|
|Full Text Views||1834||1834||509|