Frustrations for Dorset families who want to take in Ukrainian refugees

Frustrations remain high for many families in Dorset who have offered to take in Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war zone.

A Dorset Council report says many are still waiting for government departments to act on visas and funding.

“There has been some frustration from some members of the public about the time it takes to issue visas and understanding the system, which has led to customer complaints to the council,” said one. report to advisers.

He says help is only offered through one of the schemes, Homes for Ukraine, which has also drawn complaints from those arriving in the UK through other routes, including the UK Family Scheme, which offers entry visas through the Home Office to extended family members of British nationals, but not the funding or support that goes with it, whether for refugees or UK-based families.

Read more: This Dorset woman seeks to house a Ukrainian refugee

Other issues highlighted include allowing refugees to leave Ukraine or other countries they may have fled to before background checks are carried out on British hosts or their homes are visited by officials to check that they are suitable and safe.

Dorset Council says that although it has been promised government funding of £10,500 a year for each individual to help with relocation and other costs, it is still awaiting advice on the payment system and the administration of monthly payments of £350 in appreciation to host families under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Furthermore, he indicates that the authority is still waiting for a process to inform the councils when the refugees have arrived.

Read more: Mission of a pub owner in Ukraine

On the positive side, more people have offered accommodation, despite the difficulties, than there are currently through official channels: “Many more people have expressed interest in hosting a Ukrainian refugee and are currently awaiting a response from Home Office and in some cases contact the council to try to get information, but we are unable to respond and this leads to some frustration,” the report to the People’s Watch Committee said. health next week.

There is also some uncertainty about what could happen if there is a break up with host families, given that in Dorset there is little emergency accommodation available. The council says it hopes that in the event of an outage, it might be able to match the refugees with other potential hosts.

The report also includes a warning about the care of unaccompanied children and young people which it says is under-resourced and could ultimately put further strain on the Children’s Service budget.

According to the report: “Refugees and asylum seekers have gone through great difficulties and settling in a new country is a huge challenge. Many will have had to deal with long and difficult journeys and spend time in difficult and crowded conditions, which can make them more susceptible to infections, including Covid-19. Traumatic events and ongoing stressors mean they are more likely to have poor mental health.

The report also warns that the risks of exploitation of asylum seekers are ever-present and must be protected by all its staff and other professionals.

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