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For staff only - Ukraine in East Sussex

Please note: This information is not to be shared publicly

How Ukrainians may come to East Sussex

There are three routes which refugees may take to get here:

  • The Homes for Ukraine scheme
  • The Ukraine Family scheme
  • Independent arrangements

Homes for Ukraine
If you'd like to offer be a host and share your home with refugees, you should sign up for this government scheme. This will allow safety checks to be carried out and payments to be made to both hosts and their guests. Hosts (sponsors) and guests will arrange to link up themselves (often through refugee charities or social media) but it’s essential that they also register with Homes for Ukraine.

This scheme is where most of our work as public sector organisations in East Sussex is being concentrated.

The Ukrainian Family Scheme
This is a different route for Ukrainian citizens who already have family members settled in the UK.

Independent arrangements
If you have contacted Ukrainians directly (for example by social media) and helped them apply for visas, we are strongly recommending that you still register with the Homes for Ukraine scheme. This is the best way for support and safety checks to be arranged.


Every arrival from the Ukraine will need a visa. These are managed by the Home Office and we’re not able to tell people how visa applications are progressing.

The Government’s free visa helpline:

  • +44 808 164 8810
  • 0808 164 8810 (in the UK)

Further guidance: Apply for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) - GOV.UK

The Government accepts some people have been waiting more than three weeks for visa applications to be processed. We know this is causing frustration for hosts in East Sussex and their guests.

How many Ukrainians may come to East Sussex?

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is not capped, so we don’t know how many Ukrainians may come to East Sussex.

By the second week of May, 1,374 Ukrainians had been matched with 570 hosts in East Sussex.

Around 2 in 5 of those refugees (about 550) had already arrived in East Sussex by this point.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is only open to adults and their families. Unaccompanied children (under 18) are not eligible. This does not apply to children planning to join a parent or legal guardian who is already in the UK (these children are not considered unaccompanied under UK law).

What East Sussex is doing

All public sector organisations and many voluntary groups in East Sussex are working together on this. Our roles include carrying out checks to keep people safe, getting financial and material support to people who need it and developing information as part of the community welcome.

This includes welcome messages and information guides being sent to all refugees travelling to East Sussex, providing them with helpful information around healthcare, banking, education and jobs etc.

Safety checks

East Sussex County Council is responsible for carrying out background checks on everyone aged 16 or over in a household hosting refugees. Each person will have a DBS check carried out and this will be an enhanced DBS check where guests coming to the house include children or a vulnerable adult.

We will also check our own databases for any information about people which suggests an increased safeguarding risk.

If a risk is identified, decisions on suitability and what action, if any, to take, will be made carefully by the Director of Children’s Services or the Director of Adult Social Care, drawing on expert safeguarding and information governance advice.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is carrying out property checks on homes where refugee guests will be hosted. These will establish if the property is suitable for sharing and whether there any concerns about the safety of living arrangements.

We have already been in contact with hosts who have been matched with guests and many of these safety checks are already under way.  We’re asking people not to contact us to ask when their checks will be done – we will be in touch directly as soon as we can.

As of 5 May we have:

  • made contact between 650 adult hosts, the County Council and the Fire and Rescue Service, so that safeguarding and home checks can begin
  • successfully checked 470 people against risk databases
  • completed (or booked in) almost 40 property checks.

Guests can move in without having to wait for safety checks to be finished. We’re prioritising checks where we know refugees have already arrived or will soon arrive.

If you are worried about an adult or child during their stay with a host, see the guide to safeguarding for host families:

Financial support

The Borough and District Councils are working with the County Council to arrange payments to guests and hosts which the government is funding.

Every person arriving from Ukraine is entitled to an initial payment of £200 to help cover immediate costs, and 4 weeks of free travel on Stagecoach and Brighton & Hove Buses.

Three voluntary associations are currently distributing the £200 payments and free Stagecoach travel:

  • in Eastbourne, Lewes or Wealden - contact 01323 639373
  • in Hastings - contact 01424 444010
  • in Rother - contact 01424 217259 or 07871 603235

Free travel passes for Brighton & Hove Buses are available from the company itself.

Every host has the option to request £350 a month towards the expense of hosting refugees. (Hosts should not charge rent). More details on how to request this will be published soon.

Government funding for each refugee is being paid to the County Council so it can be shared among the public sector and some voluntary organisations in East Sussex to support this work.

Other support

Ukrainians with visas arriving in East Sussex are immediately entitled to work, claim benefits, receive free NHS care and education for their children. They can also apply for social housing if at risk of homelessness.

We have published two welcome guides, one for hosts and one for guests, with more advice and information on safety, health, benefits, employment, applying for school places, and much more:

Guide for hosts: Welcoming Ukrainian guests to East Sussex

Guide for guests: Welcome to East Sussex 

These guides can be printed from the website if required.

Many voluntary and community organisations around the county are also actively supporting refugees.


The County Council is working with local schools to identify where places can be offered for Ukrainian children to resume their education.

Ukrainian families with school-age children can apply for school places online: Apply for a place during the school year

They can get more help and advice about their local school by contacting us by email.

By Tuesday 3 May, 130 children had already been allocated school places in East Sussex.

Answering queries

If you receive questions from members of the public, please refer them to our Ukraine web page in the first instance:

Not to be shared publicly

You can also forward queries from the public to ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk. We are not giving out this address widely so that the team managing queries doesn’t become overwhelmed.

A telephone helpline has been set up to answer questions from people in East Sussex who have been registered as hosts. This is open from 10am to 4pm on Monday to Friday. The number to call is: 01323 724748 


These details have been shared with matched hosts, with MPs and local councillors and other partners.

We’ll work to try and keep everyone updated as this fast-moving programme develops and as we continue to welcome Ukrainian guests to East Sussex.