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States still unsure whether Guernsey will run scheme for refugees

States still unsure whether Guernsey will run scheme for refugees

Monday 18 April 2022

States still unsure whether Guernsey will run scheme for refugees

Monday 18 April 2022

There remains uncertainty about whether the Bailiwick will take in refugees of the war in Ukraine who do not have existing family links with the islands.

It is now a month since the States invited local households to register their interest in hosting refugees. At the same time, the States said they were in discussion with the UK Government about whether the Bailiwick could operate a local version of a national scheme known as 'Homes for Ukraine'.

But the President of the Committee for Home Affairs, Deputy Rob Prow, has now said that "the UK's Homes for Ukraine scheme does not provide a workable blueprint that can be replicated within the Bailiwick readily".

He said his Committee was looking at a number of alternative options in consultation with other States' committees "to further explore a scheme which can fit our community" and that it "truly understands the desire to get this off the ground".

Deputy Rob Prow

Pictured: Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said that a way has not yet been found for the Bailiwick to welcome refugees from Ukraine who do not have family members already settled in the islands.

The Bailiwick has welcomed a small number of refugees from Ukraine and more will arrive soon. But the current scheme is limited to people who have family members already settled in the Bailiwick.

The equivalent conditions apply to a scheme set up in Jersey.

The Guernsey Border Agency is working with locally-based families who want Ukrainian relatives to join them. They are trying to speed up visa applications which must be approved by the UK Home Office.

And the States have set up a team which is working across the island's services to co-ordinate support for refugees arriving to live in the island with their families.

But the Committee said that it would still like to set up a wider scheme for refugees who do not have existing family links with the Bailiwick if it could be done "correctly" and "sustainably".


Pictured: It is estimated that around five million people have fled Ukraine as refugees of the war which started when Russia launched attacks on its neighbour on 24 February.

"The Committee will be engaging in formal consultation with [States'] 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," said Home Affairs.

"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."


Pictured: Express reported on the States' call for expressions of interest this time last month. The article can be read HERE.

Deputy Prow said that his Committee was "incredibly grateful" to Bailiwick residents who have expressed an interest in hosting unrelated refugees.

"We know many people want us to progress this as soon as possible," said Deputy Prow.

"We’re particularly mindful of the capacity and resources of 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 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."


Pictured (clockwise from left): Deputies Al Brouard, Andrea Dudley-Owen and Peter Roffey lead States' committees overseeing services which the Committee for Home Affairs wants to be sure not to overburden if it introduces a wider scheme to take in refugees of war in Ukraine.

Deputy Prow said that any options for a scheme pursued by the Committee needed to recognise differences between the Bailiwick and the UK.

"We all continue to watch in shock at the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Ukraine and are fully supportive of the Bailiwick's donation, fund raising and charitable response to date," he said.

"It is just important to 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."


Guernsey to welcome nine refugees

Call for local households to host refugees fleeing war in Ukraine

Deputy calls for more leadership on taking refugees from Ukraine

Visa changes on the way for fleeing Ukrainians with family in Guernsey

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