In just the first day after the launch of the programme, more than 100,000 people from the UK expressed their willingness to host Ukrainian migrants, and the number grows constantly. Celebrities such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Ozzy Osbourne are among those ready to give shelter to Ukrainians fleeing the war. This willingness to support others is admirable and much appreciated, not to mention that many British people are also helping Ukraine in other ways, for example financially.

There are people with different income levels among sponsors, and so, living conditions for Ukrainian guests may vary. For example, you may be offered:

  • a separate room
  • a separate section of a house (with a bathroom, a toilet, and a separate entrance)
  • a separate house or an apartment

Sometimes people move to their relatives or friends in order to vacate their homes for migrants from Ukraine.

For Ukrainians, the main condition for participation in the programme is to have a sponsor in the UK. So, how to find a sponsor? There are three main options:

  1. Searching through friends. If you have friends or relatives living in the UK, they may be able to accommodate you at their place or recommend reliable people who would be ready to sponsor you.
  2. Searching on the Internet by yourself. This is the riskiest way. Many decent British people who want to help Ukrainians are looking for you on the Web just in the same way that you are looking for them. It is likely that you will find each other, for example, in one of the dedicated groups on Facebook. However, unfortunately, the programme also attracts various kinds of scammers and human traffickers, eager to take advantage of the vulnerability of migrants for their own selfish purposes. During the processing of the visa application, sponsors are screened by local authorities, which also visit the displaced persons after they arrive in the UK. However, we highly recommend to check your new acquaintances carefully in advance, and if serious problems arise, immediately contact the local council or the police.
  3. Matching through a special organisation, like ours. Generally speaking, organizations act like an additional filter to help weed out unscrupulous sponsors and can also provide additional support, such as assistance in filling out visa application forms, interpreting during an online meeting, assistance with settling down upon arrival, etc.

    Regarding BHSU, the main advantages of our organisation are:
    • an official status (registered in the UK as a community interest company)
    • a wide network of contacts among potential sponsors with an excellent reputation
    • a Ukrainian-British team that understands the problems, goals, and cultural peculiarities of both sides equally well
    • a great expertise that the British part of the team has in the selection, verification and preparation of host families in the framework of English courses at teachers’ homes throughout the UK

After you find, or are matched with, a sponsor, it is time to meet each other, discuss all the conditions and jointly apply for a visa. This is a brief description of what the process is in our organisation:

  • Receiving an application from displaced Ukrainians. You should fill in the basic information about yourself in a special questionnaire: your contacts, household composition, level of proficiency in English and other languages, information on whether you have pets, your wishes regarding future housing, etc.
  • Selecting prospective sponsors. When a suitable option comes up, the BHSU staff will provide you with basic information about these people and the accommodation offered.
  • Meeting via Zoom. You will meet the sponsors personally in the presence of representatives of our organisation. We offer free assistance from an interpreter to those who do not speak English well. In order for you and the sponsors to get to know each other better and make a final decision, additional meetings may be required.
  • Applying for a visa. After both parties confirm that they are happy with everything, the organisation’s staff helps them fill out the visa application form. The parties exchange contacts and can keep in touch later, for example, through WhatsApp.
  • Obtaining a visa and travelling to the UK.