Waltham Forest has a long and proud history of welcoming migrants and refugees from all over the world. The generosity of Waltham Forest residents has seen hundreds of displaced Ukrainians find sanctuary in the borough since the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme went live in March 2022. 

How people fleeing Ukraine can apply

The scheme opened on 18 March 2022 for visa applications from individuals or households fleeing from Ukraine who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them. Either the applicants coming from Ukraine or the sponsor can complete the application. One application is required per individual coming to the UK. 

Read advice for sponsors, including eligibility criteria and instructions on how to apply.  

The Council’s role

The Home Office will carry out security checks on both the sponsor’s and the refugee’s families before applications are approved. 

Once the application is approved, the Home Office will ask the council to carry out the following: 

Once these checks have been satisfied, we can provide the following support:

  • administering a £350 thank you payment to the sponsor each month for the guest’s first year and a £500 payment each month for the guest’s second year. 

  • any interim financial support for the family until they receive Universal Credit 

  • more general resettlement support, including access to healthcare and school places

The sponsor’s role

The sponsor must commit to providing accommodation for a minimum of six months in return for a £350 thank you payment each month for the guest’s first year and a £500 payment each month for the guest’s second year.  The payments should not affect the sponsor’s entitlement to benefits and will be tax-free. 

If you are accepted as a sponsor, you are not expected to provide any other financial assistance or support to the people you take into your home. The accommodation you provide must be kept in a clean and reasonable state and offer certain facilities, including: 

  • have adequate kitchen and bathroom space 

  • have access to drinking water 

  • have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building 

  • have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature 

  • be almost entirely free of damp or mould 

  • have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly 

  • be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm 

Important things to consider 

Hosting can be a very rewarding experience, but there are some important things you need to think about carefully before continuing: 

  • the additional household costs with more people living in your home 

  • communicating with guests who don't speak your first language fluently 

  • changes in your household dynamics when sharing your home with guests 

  • differences in living habits, including household tasks and eating preferences 

  • deciding on boundaries and how you want to live together 

See more information for sponsors 

Phase two

The government has announced that a second stage of the Homes for Ukraine scheme is planned. This will allow anyone who doesn’t have existing links to people leaving Ukraine to become a sponsor. 

In the meantime, you can register your interest on the Homes for Ukraine website, to be rematched with a Ukrainian person who is not able to continue living with their current host after the initial six-month period. The council will contact you to carry out DBS and property checks before you are rematched with a Ukrainian person. 

Information on help and support in Waltham Forest