Ukrainian Support Project
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In response to the war in Ukraine the government has made it easier for Ukrainians to come to and remain in the UK. They’ve done this by:
- introducing a scheme to allow Ukrainians to join family members already in the UK
- introducing a scheme to allow British nationals to sponsor Ukrainians to enter the UK and stay with them
- making it easier for Ukrainians with visas to extend or switch them.
This page contains information about the new schemes and the support available for newly arrived Ukrainians. It may be helpful for Ukrainians in Wandsworth and residents who want to host or support Ukrainian refugees.
You can use our contact form if you need help from us or want to refer someone else for help.
Entering the UK
Ukrainians wishing to come to the UK need to have permission to enter the country. They can get this by:
- being sponsored by a family member already in the UK – the Ukraine Family Scheme visa
- being sponsored by a British national through the Homes for Ukraine scheme – the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme
- applying for a visa to visit, work, study or join family in the UK in the normal way.
There’s comprehensive guidance about UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals on GOV.UK. The Home Office also have a helpline for people who have questions about the Ukraine Family Scheme (0808 164 8810). This helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is available outside the UK by calling +44 0175 390 7510.
Ukrainians already in the UK
Help with money
Ukrainian nationals coming to the UK under either of the visa schemes can claim benefits. People who’ve come from Ukraine because of the war don’t need to pass the habitual residence test for benefits purposes if they:
- were living in Ukraine by 1 January 2022
- left Ukraine because of the invasion
- have a visa that gives them the right to stay in the UK.
Help with housing
- they were residing in Ukraine immediately before 1st January 2022
- left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion
- have been granted leave – except where they have a no public funds condition.
This is most relevant for people who aren’t sponsored under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Free immigration advice
Volunteer legal professionals are providing free advice about UK immigration, visa and asylum rules for people fleeing Ukraine. The UK Advice Project website has guidance in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish and explains how to request advice.
Help with learning English
You can register now for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes starting in September 2022. Some classes are running before then, so it’s worth getting in contact as soon as possible.
- South Thames College
- Lambeth College
- Wandsworth Lifelong Learning (register your interest in ESOL and preparation for employment classes here).
Help with finding a job
Wandsworth Work Match can help with training and looking for work in Wandsworth.
The ‘Find a job’ service is provided by the government to help people search and apply for jobs anywhere in England.
GOV.UK has guidance about moving from benefits to work, with information about looking for work, starting a business and help for parents.
London Plus are collating and publishing information about other support for Ukrainian nationals coming to the UK.
The charity Barnardo’s have set up a free helpline (0800 148 8586) for people fleeing Ukraine. It can provide:
- therapy with a qualified psychotherapist – delivered by phone or online
- advice on a range of issues e.g., housing, accessing key health services, education and employment
- practical support, including access to digital devices, toys for children, baby items and more.
The helpline is open 10AM to 8PM, Monday to Friday and 10AM to 3PM on Saturdays. All of their services have access to Ukrainian and Russian interpreters. You can visit the Barnardo’s website for more information.
Wandsworth Mediation Service can provide free, confidential support to resolve conflicts between Ukrainian guests and their sponsors. If you’re having communication or organisational problems in your relationship with your sponsor or guest, they can help you find a positive way forward through mediation, conflict coaching or facilitated conversations. You can visit the Wandsworth Mediation Service website to find out more about their services and how to contact them.
If you want to help
The best way to support Ukraine is to donate to the relief effort. The Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal is taking donations on behalf of 15 major charities who are working in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. Every donation makes a difference to people displaced by the conflict in Ukraine.
If you can make the commitment, applying to be a host through the Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow someone without family in the UK to enter and stay here. You can find more information in the Homes for Ukraine FAQ on GOV.UK.
If you want to help by volunteering you can contact Wandsworth Care Alliance, who can connect you to a local organisation supporting the relief effort or Ukrainian refugees settling in the borough.
You can use this webform to contact us if:
- you’re a Ukrainian in Wandsworth and need advice
- you’re supporting a Ukrainian refugee and want to connect them to support.