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Javid: ‘No cap’ on refugees under new UK visa scheme

It is hoped tens of thousands of displaced people will benefit from the Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme.

More details will be set out later, before a website goes live for people to express an interest in helping.

Hosts will receive £350 a month as a “thank you” from the government.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told BBC Breakfast there would be “no cap” on the number of people who can be supported through the scheme.

“I’m pleased that we’re doing this because as a country we have a very proud record of offering sanctuary to people from wars and from conflicts,” he added.

The government has so far faced criticism – including from its own MPs – over the speed and scale of its response to the refugee crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under the new scheme people in the UK will be able to nominate an individual or family to stay with them rent-free, either in their own home or in another property, for at least six months.

Hosts are not required to personally know the refugee they want to host. They will be matched with those seeking refuge in the UK after submitting a form.

Mr Javid said once refugees arrive they will be allowed to stay in the UK “for at least three years”.

They will have access to the NHS and other public services, and their children will be able to attend local schools.

Local authorities will also receive £10,500 in extra funding per refugee for support services – with more for children of school age.

Applications to host refugees will be made online and both hosts and refugees will be vetted.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove will make a statement in Parliament later to set out further details.

Asked if he might host a Ukrainian family himself, Mr Javid said it was something he and his wife were “starting to have a conversation” about.

“Whatever I do at a personal level, I most certainly will be helping,” he added.

Some 4,000 visas have so far been granted through that route, the latest Home Office figures show.

The Home Office has defended requiring security checks on Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion. It says it must ensure the UK helps those in genuine need as it’s seen people falsely claim to be Ukrainian.

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