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Bailiwick opens up to refugees

Bailiwick opens up to refugees

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Bailiwick opens up to refugees

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Refugees fleeing war in Ukraine are now welcome in the Bailiwick - whether or not they have existing family links with the islands.

After weeks of planning, the States announced the launch of a sponsorship scheme today which will match refugees with local people who are able to accommodate them.

Around 300 people in the Bailiwick previously registered an interest in hosting refugees from Ukraine. The States are initially contacting those who could provide self-contained units of accommodation to begin matching local sponsors with Ukrainians in need.

Applications are invited from anyone who was resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022, but they must be matched to an approved local sponsor before applying for a visa. Those who secure a sponsor and make it through the application process will be allowed to remain in the Bailiwick for up to three years while housed by their sponsor.


Pictured: It is estimated that around six million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded in February and a further eight million are believed to be displaced inside the war-torn country. 

The scheme will be run by States' officials under a policy agreed by the Committee for Home Affairs.

The Committee's President, Deputy Rob Prow, pictured top, 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.

"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."


Pictured: It is three months tonight since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The policy for the scheme agreed by the Committee for Home Affairs is available HERE.

The policy covers eligibility for the scheme, the standards necessary to become an approved sponsor, the visa application process and public services which Ukrainians can expect in the Bailiwick. 

"For the purposes of safeguarding, all individuals resident at a sponsor's address may be subject to security checks as part of the visa application process," said the States.

"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."


Pictured: People in the Bailiwick have given generously to calls for financial support and goods to support Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country. 

There was already a separate scheme in place to support Ukrainian nationals with existing family links to the Bailiwick. 

The Ukraine Family Visa scheme - extended locally from the UK - allows people who are settled in the Bailiwick to apply to be joined by an extended family member who is fleeing the war. 

More information about this scheme is available by clicking HERE.


Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme approved by States

Call for local households to host refugees fleeing war in Ukraine

Deputy calls for more leadership on taking refugees from Ukraine

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