Ukrainian nationals who came to the UK through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, can look for their own property to rent when their sponsorship arrangement ends. They will be responsible for the council tax themselves, but if all the residents have Homes for Ukraine visas then they will receive a 50% discount and they may also be able to claim council tax support.
Where Council Tax has already been paid and this reduction creates a credit on the account, you may be eligible for a refund. If your Council Tax bill shows a credit, you will be able to claim a refund by completing the online form under Council Tax refunds. Details will be on the bill.
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Residents of Cheshire East have shown fantastic generosity in offering homes to Ukrainians escaping the conflict in their homeland.
The Government has opened the visa application process for its ‘Homes for Ukraine’ refugee support scheme, which allows residents to request to sponsor and offer accommodation to a named Ukrainian individual or family seeking safe refuge in the UK.
If you know a refugee individual or family you wish to sponsor and can provide suitable accommodation for at least six months, then please visit the Government website for more information about ‘Homes for Ukraine’ and to apply.
Sponsors will receive £350 a month during the first 12 months of their guests’ stay. This increases to £500 once the guest has been in the UK for 12 months to help sponsors who can continue hosting for longer, up to a maximum duration of 2 years. This includes when a sponsor or guest has been rematched, even if it is the sponsor’s first-time hosting.
To date, three in four sponsor households have indicated they wish to continue hosting beyond the six-month period, however, this means that one in four placements may need additional support to continue or to find alternative accommodation.
To help with this, and reduce the risk of placement breakdown, we are putting in place additional payments for sponsors, using a proportion of the government funding tariff of the Homes for Ukraine scheme that has been received by the council. These additional payments will be for sponsors participating in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme who agree to continue sponsoring beyond the initial six-month period to receive an extra £100 per month (months 7 to 12).
The local council is responsible for conducting:
Everything you need to know about how to become a sponsor including things to consider and thank you payments - Becoming a sponsor: Homes for Ukraine - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you would like to register your interest as a sponsor, you can do this on the government’s website - Homes for Ukraine - record your interest - GOV.UK
Homes for Ukraine sponsor toolkit - Reset Communities and Refugees (resetuk.org).
How the NHS works, a guide for migrants
More information about applying for school places is available under information for applying for schools drop down.
You may also find the information under information for Ukrainian refugees useful.
If your guest will be absent temporarily:
It is recognised that guests may be temporarily absent from their sponsors accommodation for many reasons. Please note the following:
It is the Sponsor’s responsibility to keep the Council updated about guests’ absence and departures.
Hosting someone already in the UK – rematching
Cheshire East Council might ask you to house a guest or group of guests that have left their first host, either because their previous host were no longer able to support them, or the initial sponsorship period has come to an end. If your guest is in their first 12 months in the UK, you will be eligible for a thank you payment of £350 per month from the government. Once a guest has been in the UK for 12 months, this will increase to £500 per month - even if you have not been their initial host.
If you are asked through social media or a community group to host a guest or family who is already in the UK, you need to contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure that the Council can make the necessary checks.
Under the council’s statutory duty to promote the welfare of adults and children at risk, the council is required to check all accommodation being offered under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to ensure it is safe and appropriate for the guests.
Information about how to become a Homes for Ukraine sponsor, including checks the council will make, and eligibility criteria.
How to meet the accommodation needs of guests, including information about gas safety and information about bills and paying rent.
Overcrowding and space standards
Sponsors should also consider how many guests they can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be allowed to sleep in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners, a parent and child, two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10 or two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room to sleep in.
When council officers carry out their check of the accommodation, legislation standards typically used in regulating rental properties, will largely be used to assess whether the accommodation being offered is suitable and appropriate for the guests and whether any overcrowding would exist or be created as a result of your guest staying. The following are minimum room floor areas that our officers will be mindful of when assessing rooms suitable for sleeping purposes:
- less than 4.65m2 are not suitable for sleeping purposes
- between 4.65m2 and 6.50m2 are suitable for a child under 10 years of age
- between 6.51m2 and 8.36m2 are suitable for 1 adult person
- between 8.37m2 and 10.22m2 is suitable for sharing with 1 adult person a child under 10 years of age
- Larger than 10.22m2 is suitable for 2 adult cohabiting partners to share
Since the accommodation being offered is not subject to the usual landlord/tenant legislative requirements, there is a degree of flexibility for councils to accept lower standards and sizes of accommodation than that which would be accepted in the private rental sector. Nevertheless, we are still required to ensure that accommodation is suitable and provides a safe and healthy environment for the guests and for the duration of their stay.
Whilst guests may accept living in confined conditions for a short period time without experiencing or it causing them harm, evidence suggests that overcrowding is linked to detrimental health conditions, which include psychological and mental health disorders, particularly that associated with a lack of privacy and childhood development. As sponsors are being asked to provide accommodation for at least 6 months, we are required to look further ahead than just short term needs, if the accommodation being offered is to remain a healthy environment and not be the cause of health issues or result in a relationship breakdown.
Other accommodation requirements
- window restrictors will be required on all openable windows with sills equal to or less than 800mm above the internal floor level and are located on the first floor or above, to prevent anyone from accidentally falling though the open window
- any room containing an open flue (log or multi fuel burner, solid fuel fire etc) will require a working carbon monoxide detector fixed within that room
- you will be required to supply a satisfactory service certificate or gas safety certificate, which is less than 12 months old, for any gas or oil-fired central heating boiler
- your electrical installation throughout the property will need to be visibly free from any damage or disrepair
- conservatories are not appropriate for use as sleeping accommodation
- you may be asked to provide evidence of a building control completion certificate for any garages that have been converted for use as living accommodation
Guides for guests about applying to the scheme, finding work, accessing benefits, education and health for children and adults can be found on the Homes for Ukraine: Guidance for guest's webpage.
Top 5 things to do on arrival
We recommend you complete the following actions when you arrive in the UK. They will ensure you have all the services you need.
- Register with a doctor’s surgery. The surgery is where you would usually go if you have a health problem. They can treat many conditions and give health advice. They can also refer you to other NHS services. After registering, you will get an NHS number.
- Apply for a UK bank account. You will need a UK bank account to receive wages and social security benefits. Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest are offering support to Ukrainian guests. But you should be able to apply to any bank, in person or online.
- Register to get a National Insurance number. Anyone who wants to work in the UK must have a National Insurance (NI) number. The government uses it to record your taxes while you’re employed in the UK.
- Apply for social security benefits. You can claim certain benefits while you are looking for work. The UK government of the UK pay Universal Credit to people of working age who have a low income or no income. Check your eligibility and how to claim Universal Credit. You may also be eligible to claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support - Claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
- If you have school aged children, you will need to apply for a school place as soon as possible, visit the School Admissions webpage.
Guidance for guests about applying to the scheme, finding work, accessing benefits, education and health for children and adults can be found on Homes for Ukraine: Guidance for guests - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Visa applications are handled by the UK Visas and Immigration service (UKVI). Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide you with any information about your visa application. If you need help to extend your visa, you can find information from the Home Office about claiming asylum in the UK. If you require any further advice, call the Home Office helpline on 0808 164 8810. Calls are free.
Finance and benefits
An interim payment of £200 is available for each guest on arrival. Email email@example.com to initiate this payment. This is a one-off payment.
The Department for Work and Pensions has had approval for emergency regulations so that those arriving in the UK from Ukraine because of the Russian invasion can access Universal Credit and jobs support immediately. Those arriving have the right to work, have access to public funds and they will therefore have access to a range of benefits.
Understanding the financial support available, guidance to support those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
There is a range of different housing options available, depending upon your circumstances. With the demands for social housing ever increasing, not everyone will be successful in applying for a home through Cheshire Homechoice. For housing advise and to make you aware of all the options that may be open to you, contact Cheshire Homechoice.
Town Hall, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1EA
Advice line: 0300 123 5017 option 1
The Homechoice customer advice line is open:10.30 to 12.30 and 13.30 to 16.30 Monday – Friday
Ukrainian nationals who came to the UK through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, can look for their own property to rent when their sponsorship arrangement ends. They will be responsible for the council tax themselves, but if all the residents have HFU visas then they will receive a 50% discount and they may also be able to claim council tax support.
Where Council Tax has already been paid and this reduction creates a credit on the account, you may be eligible for a refund. If your Council Tax bill shows a credit, you will be able to claim a refund by completing the online form under Council Tax refunds Council Tax refunds (cheshireeast.gov.uk). Details will be on the bill.
Requirements to receive a 50% discount:
- Council tax account
- The names of the occupants (all occupiers must be on HFU scheme)
- Evidence of permission to enter or stay in the UK under the HFU Scheme
- Address of property and move in date
Please provide these details to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Council tax reductions for Ukrainian guests joining a sponsor’s home under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be ‘disregarded’ when council tax discounts are calculated in England to ensure that sponsors are not financially worse off as a result of taking part in the scheme. As well as there being no impact on a sponsor’s discount for their main home, there will be a 50% discount for empty or second homes occupied only by Ukrainian guests if all the residents have HFU visas. The council tax bill will need to be issued in the name of the residents.
Voluntary and charity organisations
- British Red Cross Society offers information and support to people from Ukraine who are in the UK. This includes family migration visa and the Ukrainian family scheme.
Telephone: 0808 196 3651 (10am to 6pm daily)
If you need an interpreter say “can I speak to an interpreter?
- Citizens Advice give support and advice on:
Debt and money
Law and courts
Telephone: 0808 278 7819 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
- Refugees Welcome has been supporting Ukraine guests and their hosts through the organisation of community café hubs. They also offer ESOL training, friendship groups and help with applications for jobs, doctors, dentists, schools and much more as is required. Contact Us (refugeeswelcome.co.uk)
The following information help sponsors help their guests to apply for school places for their children.
An application should be submitted for each child. This can be completed before the child has arrived in the UK or after they have arrived. We would strongly encourage that an application is only made either after the child has arrived or when arrangements are confirmed (for example, checks completed) so a place is not offered until it is needed. It must be submitted by the parent or someone who has care of the child. Although sponsors can support with the application they are not permitted to apply on behalf of the parent. We understand that sponsors will want to support parents. We may need to speak to the parent or make verification checks before discussing an application with the sponsor or other person.
For further information about applying for school places, visit School admissions (cheshireeast.gov.uk)
For information about activities during the holidays see support for Ukrainian Families in the holidays (PDF, 331KB).
- Refugee Welcome has been supporting Ukraine guests and their hosts through the organisation of community café hubs. They also offer ESOL training, friendship groups and help with applications for jobs, doctors, dentists, schools and much more as is required. Contact Us (refugeeswelcome.co.uk)
The Ukraine Family Scheme is open to allow Ukrainians to join family members in the UK or to extend their stay in the UK.
People applying under this visa route must be applying to join/accompany a UK-based family member, be a Ukrainian national (or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national applying to the scheme) and have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1st January 2022.
The council does not have the same responsibilities under the Ukraine Family Scheme as it does under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
At the present time, Cheshire East cannot accept any types of financial support. For any financial contributions please see the links below:
Disasters Emergency Committee, Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which provides food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families. Donations will be match funded by the government up to a total of £20m.
The British Red Cross, which has launched an appeal to help the Ukrainian Red Cross to provide food, medicine, clothing and shelter, as well as first aid training in bomb shelters
The UNHCR refugee agency, which is funding emergency shelters, repairs for homes damaged by shelling, emergency cash assistance, psychological support and warm clothing
Unicef, the UN children's charity, which is helping to ensure families have clean water and food and that child health and protection services continue
Save the Children, which is providing cash assistance, food and other support to refugees crossing into Romanian and Lithuania, as well as in Ukraine itself.
The council has responsibilities under the Homes for Ukraine scheme for safeguarding and to support in case of homelessness. We have provided a set of guidance for Ukrainian refugees to help them if they experience problems or placement breakdown.