UK government is set to pay British families over Â£2,000 to open their homes to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. Families will be given Â£350-a-month "thank you" cash if they provide a room rent-free for a minimum of six months.
Homes for Ukraine Scheme
The scheme will be unveiled by UK Housing Secretary Michael Gove on Sunday to provide thousands of displaced people with safety.
The scheme will include a fast-track visa system which will go live this week, allowing the first wave of refugees to arrive within days. The householders that lay down the welcome mat will be eligible to receive a total of Â£2,100 tax-free for six months.
"The UK stands behind Ukraine in its darkest hour. The British public understands the need to get people to safety as quickly as we can," said Gove last night.
"I urge people across the country to join the effort and offer their support to our Ukrainian friends. Together we can give a safe home to those who desperately need it," Gove added.
The decision came after a public outcry over Britain's tardy response to the current humanitarian crisis which is the biggest since World War II.
The scheme, drawn up by ministers from five government departments, cuts through the bureaucracy which has led to angry accusations of foot-dragging by officials, reported The Sun.
The scheme is set to be implemented from this week to give Ukrainians fast and safe shelter on completion of a simple, one-page online visa form that can be filled in by the host family.
Eligible to Enter the Jobs Market
Refugees will be eligible to enter the jobs market and would claim all benefits apart from housing allowance. The government has also revealed that the refugees will have full access to public services including the NHS and schools.
"There will be no need for the hosts to offer anything other than a roof over their head and a warm bed. The Ukrainians may even want to offer a contribution towards food and other household costs, but that can all be decided privately," a source told The Sun.
"It will be up to families to provide whatever support they wish to their Ukrainian guests. We won't be stipulating how generous people should be but are sure many will open their hearts and their homes," the source added.
So far, the government has not decided over the numbers of refugees allowed under this scheme and it has also not revealed the total bill for the housing scheme.
Scheme to be Cheaper
However, sources have revealed that the scheme will be cheaper as it will cost far less than keeping refugees in hotels.
An opinion poll has revealed that three in ten people will open their gates for refugees. The poll also found that 63 % are not in a position to open their doors and nine % are expected to help while 20 % are still in consideration to provide refugees shelters.
Under the scheme, a website will be launched for sponsors to provide their interest â including individuals and community groups.
On the website, names and details of the Ukrainians, who are receiving shelters, will be required to be filled by the British families. It is not necessary that Ukrainians should have family ties in the UK. Upon arriving in the UK, Ukrainian refugees can have their six-month stay upgraded to three years.
From Tuesday, Britain is also allowing extended family members to enter the UK and it will also make complete security checks of upcoming refugees.