There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainian refugees who can live with UK host families under a new visa scheme, the government has confirmed.
It is hoped tens of thousands of displaced people will benefit from the Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme.
More details will be set out later, before a website goes live for people to express an interest in helping.
Hosts will receive £350 a month as a “thank you” from the government.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told BBC Breakfast there would be “no cap” on the number of people who can be supported through the scheme.
“I’m pleased that we’re doing this because as a country we have a very proud record of offering sanctuary to people from wars and from conflicts,” he added.
Under the new scheme people in the UK will be able to nominate an individual or family to stay with them rent-free, either in their own home or in another property, for at least six months.
Hosts are not required to personally know the refugee they want to host. They will be matched with those seeking refuge in the UK after submitting a form.
Mr Javid said once refugees arrive they will be allowed to stay in the UK “for at least three years”.
They will have access to the NHS and other public services, and their children will be able to attend local schools.
Local authorities will also receive £10,500 in extra funding per refugee for support services – with more for children of school age.
Applications to host refugees will be made online and both hosts and refugees will be vetted.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove will make a statement in Parliament later to set out further details.
Asked if he might host a Ukrainian family himself, Mr Javid said it was something he and his wife were “starting to have a conversation” about.
“Whatever I do at a personal level, I most certainly will be helping,” he added.
The first hosts and refugees will be matched this week, allowing the first Ukrainians to arrive in the UK through this route in about two weeks’ time, the BBC’s chief political correspondent Adam Fleming says.
One of those hoping to help through the new scheme is Maxine Taylor, who lives alone in a four-bedroom house in Godalming, Surrey.
Maxine, who is self-employed and works part-time, says the “peace and quiet” of her more rural home might be a better option for traumatised refugees than a busy city.
But she does want more information from the government about the scheme – such as whether or not hosts will be taxed on the £350 monthly payment, and how the matching service will work.
She also wants to make sure anyone she takes in gets the mental health support they will need after fleeing a war zone.
Maxine says she’s been wanting to find a way to help Ukrainians “since day one” of the invasion, and has felt “frustrated” that the government’s visa schemes have been “so slow” to get off the ground.
- My hopes to host refugees delayed by UK government
“I’ve just been absolutely horrified by what’s going on,” Maxine says, adding that seeing images of young women and men signing up to fight for their country has “really touched me”.
“I just feel I’d like to do my bit… we’ve got to help.”
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