Tuesday 24 May 2022
The Bailiwick of Guernsey Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme has now officially launched, following extensive work to ensure all appropriate support and legal measures are in place.
A policy for the scheme has been agreed by the Committee for Home Affairs and has been published today. Changes were also needed to the Bailiwick's Immigration Rules; these amendments have also been agreed by the Committee, in concurrence with His Excellency, the Lieutenant-Governor and close consultation with the Policy & Resources Committee.
The policy aims are:
- To ensure that Ukrainian beneficiaries who may come to the Bailiwick under this Scheme are provided with a sponsorship arrangement that is safe, suitable and dignified;
- To promote a positive relationship between the approved sponsor and Ukrainian beneficiary; and,
- To ensure all Ukrainian beneficiaries travelling to the Bailiwick under this Scheme have access to the appropriate community and public service support.
The policy covers the key areas of eligibility for the scheme, the standards an individual will need to meet in order to become an approved sponsor, the Visa application process and the access to public services that Ukrainian beneficiaries can expect. These include public benefits such as Income Support.
Almost 300 members of the community kindly expressed an interest in being a sponsor. All will be contacted in due course but the focus at this stage is on reaching out to potential sponsors who can provide a self-contained unit of accommodation. Making contact with those who expressed an interest is now being carried out in a phased approach to focus on matching Ukrainian beneficiaries with the most appropriate sponsors to meet their needs.
Ukrainian residents applying for the Scheme will need to be matched to an approved sponsor prior to applying for a visa. For the purposes of safeguarding, all individuals resident at a sponsors address may be subject to security checks as part of the visa application process. These checks will be conducted before an individual can become an approved sponsor and detailed criteria will be provided to individuals as part of the approval process.
Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:
'A considerable amount of work has been going on behind the scenes to progress the various and complex strands of developing our own scheme. We absolutely needed to make sure that we could provide the necessary support to beneficiaries, some of whom may arrive with complex needs given the horrors they may have experienced. We needed to make sure an appropriate policy was in place to meet expectations as a responsible jurisdiction. And we had to carry out the necessary legal amendments to effect the changes to the Immigration Rules, to ensure visas can be granted to Ukrainian beneficiaries.
'We have set up an enquiry line and will continue to co-ordinate support as we have done with the family scheme. Officers continue to collaborate with Humanitarian Aid Guernsey to ensure the best support will be provided to both sponsors and Ukrainian beneficiaries as they arrive and settle into island life.
'I want to thank everyone, nearly 300 people, who came forward and expressed an interest in being a sponsor. Our focus at this stage is very much on trying to secure accommodation that enables beneficiaries to have their own living space. Householders who are able to provide that are being contacted in the first phase. It is critical that we progress this scheme but also make sure that the aims of the policy are met. It is paramount that any arrangements provided for beneficiaries under the scheme are safe, suitable and dignified.'
The Ukraine Coordination Support Team can be contacted via 220001, option 3. Please note this new enquiry line will be live from tomorrow (Wednesday 25th May 2022). Alternatively, please email email@example.com.
The policy for the Bailiwick of Guernsey Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme can be read at www.gov.gg/ukraineresponse