Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 the UK has issued 218,500 visas for Ukrainian refugees. Many have arrived under the “Homes for Ukraine” scheme where ordinary British people give up their spare room or loft to a Ukrainian family. One of the main criticisms of the Homes for Ukraine scheme has been how slow it is. If you are considering hosting a family for a short period, the government has issued new guidance for both individuals and Councils across the UK. This is intended to speed up the system, smooth out delays and get refugees settled into a new home in the UK as quickly as possible.


Start the Process Immediately

Applying for a DBS check takes time. Councils who bear the responsibility for managing the Homes for Ukraine scheme have systems in place to make applications as straightforward as possible, and can give help and guidance about which family members require a DBS check, and at which level. Checks have to be completed before Ukrainian guests move into their hosts’ home, and each time the host family takes in a new group from Ukraine checks must be redone. It is the job of the Councils who are matching refugees with hosts to manage the DBS process and ensure paperwork is all in place.

Completing the DBS check form is not difficult, but delays can be caused if people make mistakes on the form or misunderstand what is being asked for. Applicants must list all the addresses where they have lived over the past five years, and in addition give all of their previous names. Failure to do this can result in forms being returned and further delays in the system as the hosts have to start the application from scratch. There is lots of help out there for people who are applying for DBS checks, both from local Council contacts involved in Homes for Ukraine, and from the Disclosure and Barring Service. Whatever the query, the advice is always the same: check anything you are unsure about rather than making a guess and risking getting it wrong.


Identity Checking

An important part of the DBS process is checking identity documents such as passports and matching them to the applicants. This can be done face to face but is more commonly done online. There is a fee for DBS checking and Councils will generally cover the cost of these checks rather than asking host family members to meet the cost. Children under the age of 16 do not require a DBS check to host Ukrainian families as the law only applies to adults.

The local Council who is managing your DBS application should be able to help with a list of the documents which are required to support your check. There is a long list of accepted documents, such as passports, driving licences, bank statements or utility bills. The DBS will be able to give advice to those people who don’t have a passport or driving licence about the most appropriate combination of documents in their case.