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Ukraine refugees staying with UK hosts not cleared by felony file checks | Immigration and asylum


Ukrainians fleeing the warfare are being housed with UK hosts who haven’t had a felony file examine, within the newest concern to blight the federal government’s response to the refugee disaster.

Under rising stress to iron out flaws in its schemes, authorities sources instructed the Observer they have been making a “rematching” service to accommodate Ukrainians with individuals prepared to assist.

Tens of 1000’s of people that have registered an curiosity with the UK’s Homes for Ukraine scheme will probably be contacted to say the federal government is working with councils and charities to match them with Ukrainians who’ve arrived within the UK however discover themselves homeless after their preliminary place fell via or members of the family couldn’t host them.

So far, greater than 102,000 visas have been issued underneath the 2 authorities refugee schemes for Ukrainians, and 46,100 have arrived within the UK. Teething issues proceed to beset the initiatives. In many instances, individuals have been housed for weeks by hosts who nonetheless are ready for his or her Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Karen Liebreich, from west London, collected her 21-year-old Ukrainian refugee from the airport 5 weeks in the past however mentioned she was nonetheless ready for the outcomes of the checks.

She mentioned: “My husband and I have now filled in our forms for the DBS checks, but she has been here for five weeks and we still haven’t been approved.”

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – which is accountable for the scheme – contacted her final week to ask if it might use her as a case research, however Liebreich refused.

In an e-mail to the division, she mentioned: “[Your] department was all over the press assuring us that everyone housing a Ukrainian has had a completed DBS check. As this is a categoric lie … I’m not prepared to facilitate an interview to bolster a government message for ministers that seem not to understand the value of the truth.”

Ukrainian refugees
Ukrainian refugees on the Isaccea border crossing final month. Photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

A DBS examine permits employers and different organisations to have a look at the felony file of somebody making use of for a job, if they’ve one.

On Thursday one other host of a Ukrainian mom and son in Essex additionally mentioned that they had arrived however that she “hadn’t been checked” and had requested the council for an evidence.

Another host from Essex wrote on Facebook: “Our guests, including young child, arrived on 14 April and we were only sent the links for the enhanced DBS check last Friday [6 May].”

Essex county council mentioned the delays had arisen as a result of “volume” of instances however that it was “prioritising those who already have guests with them”, and final week began face-to-face DBS checks at two workplaces to “speed things up further”.

In response to such points and issues over homelessness, a parliamentary committee will this week urge the federal government to type out its “completely dysfunctional” schemes.

Clive Betts, chair of the levelling-up committee, mentioned he had written to refugees minister Richard Harrington, about fears for the protection of Ukrainians and their potential to finish up homeless.

Maggie Filipova-Rivers, of the City of Sanctuary community of 120 native councils, mentioned the delay between Ukrainians being housed and DBS checks carried out on their host was worrying. She highlighted one latest case the place a household in Worcester have been prone to turning into homeless after issues arose with their host.

“Someone was hosting a family living on a mattress in the kitchen and asking them for money; it was a potential exploitation case,” mentioned Filipova-Rivers.

Worcester metropolis council mentioned that though no issues of safety had been recognized on this case, it had discovered the property to be “unsuitable”. But the host had ignored this and gone forward with the location.

Then the council had change into conscious of “problems in the relationship between sponsor and their guests” – the Ukrainian household had appealed for assistance on Facebook, which led to a assist group offering various lodging in Derby after which Sheffield.

Misha Lagodinsky, who runs an identical scheme known as UK Welcomes Ukraine, which has 100 Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking volunteers connecting individuals, mentioned: “Some people are finding that they are homeless straight away because they have a visa granted and then their host fails DBS checks.”

Charlie Richards, a volunteer with one other scheme, mentioned that he had heard of Ukrainian households sleeping on benches after turning into homeless.

Concerns have been constructing over the failure of the federal government to launch the information it holds on the variety of Ukrainians presenting themselves to councils as homeless. A supply mentioned it was on account of unveil the information shortly, and that numbers referring to the Homes for Ukraine scheme have been “very small so far”.

They added that the intention was by no means to hold out DBS checks on all hosts earlier than Ukrainians arrived as a result of the precedence was getting individuals “out of danger” first.

A authorities spokesperson mentioned: “The Homes for Ukraine scheme has stringent safeguarding measures in place, and the Home Office conducts security and background checks on all sponsors before visas are issued. Councils also conduct checks and must make at least one in-person visit to a sponsor’s property.”



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