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World News

Archbishops welcome refugee sponsorship scheme

by Donna Birrell

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are welcoming the announcement of a government scheme to provide accommodation for refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of displaced people could benefit from the Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme after the government said there will be no limit to the number of Ukrainian refugees who can live in the UK under new visa plans.

In a statement Most Rev Justin Welby and Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said :

“The Humanitarian Sponsorship Scheme offers the opportunity for the generosity of UK citizens to express itself. We look forward to working with all partners to ensure the scheme works with all partners as effectively and as well as possible.

“Ukrainian refugees need homes, work and education opportunities until they are able to return to their own beloved nation. We welcome this development and hope it gains wide support.”

People in the UK willing to host refugees will receive £350 a month as a "thank you" from the government.

Earlier, Christian charity CARE said while the idea behind the scheme is well-meaning, the government must ensure proper safeguarding measures are in place to prevent the risk of exploitation and abuse. 

Lauren Agnew, human trafficking policy expert at CARE said :

"The Homes for Ukraine scheme is well motivated and could benefit a great number of individuals but the logistics of it must be weighed carefully. With large numbers of applications needing to be processed quickly, red flags could be missed in the vetting of potential hosts.

"Setting refugees up in homes around the UK is not the end of the story. There must be follow-up checks to ensure these individuals are not being exploited. We must remember that refugees are extremely vulnerable. They must not be allowed to fall off the radar.

"We urge the government to put rigorous safeguarding measures in place to ensure one, that homes and other locations offered to refugees are safe, and two that the welfare of refugees is ensured for as long as they need to take refuge in the UK."





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