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Scoping work progressing towards the potential for a Ukrainian Visa Scheme following launch of Family Scheme

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Thursday 14 April 2022

The Committee for Home Affairs will be engaging in formal consultation with Principal Committees and Sark and Alderney as to how the Bailiwick might best execute a sponsorship scheme to allow Ukrainian residents fleeing conflict to live in the islands.

While the Committee is aware of and shares the desire of many in the community to get a system up and running, it is also important that if a scheme is developed, it is done correctly and considers what could be a range of complex and specialist service requirements within our limited Bailiwick Infrastructure. Equally, the needs and interests of the people who will be moving to our Bailiwick are paramount, as the community will have a duty of care to those people.

The Committee for Home Affairs has now formally agreed the Rules to the Family Scheme and the Extension Scheme to offer support to those with a known local family connection.

Members are pleased with the work towards the Family Scheme, and expect it to continue to grow. The island will be welcoming more new arrivals in the coming days and weeks following the successful arrival of the first applicants.

Guernsey Border Agency officers are actively supporting families in Visa applications to try and speed up the necessary processes. The island is reliant on the UK Home Office on issuing final visas and the GBA is in constant liaison with their UK counterparts.

The States has also successfully set-up a co-ordinating team to work across relevant public services to support those arriving on Island through the Family Scheme and any future scheme, as they are welcomed into the community.

Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:

"We have been incredibly grateful for all of the interest in the community for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and we know many people want us to progress this as soon as possible. We're particularly mindful of the capacity and resources for some services who provide support to our most vulnerable islanders, and who would need to extend those services, which are already stretched, to more service users.

"We want to be sure that any scheme is implemented sustainably, and with the support across the States, whether that be in Health, Education, Employment & Social Security or any other area. The Committee will now look at a number of options, based on the work that has been achieved in recent days and weeks.

"The Committee understands that the Bailiwick is not the same as the UK, and so is looking to further explore a scheme which can fit our community. The UK's Homes for Ukraine Scheme does not provide a workable blueprint that can be replicated within the Bailiwick readily."

The Bailiwick remains in lockstep with the UK, and continues to work with the UK Home Office who we are reliant upon for issuing Visas as they are the responsible agency for all of the British Isles.

Deputy Prow added:

"I know I speak on behalf of all of the Committee when I say we truly understand the desire to get this off the ground. We all continue to watch in shock at the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Ukraine, and are fully supportive of the Bailiwick donation, fund raising and charitable response to date; it is just important ensure we get right any wider on-island support we can provide. When we have consulted our colleagues across the States, we look forward to sharing a further update."

Islanders wanting to make a contribution to The Bailiff's Relief Fund can still do so, and can be accessed through this link: Royal Court Home Page - Guernsey Royal Court. This has demonstrated the community's generosity and willingness to do its part in supporting the people of Ukraine.

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