Starfish Ukraine

Latest Developments

Things are changing quickly as the conflict in Ukraine continues. We will update this page with the latest developments when it comes to Ukrainian refugees and how people are looking to help them.

Starfish Ukraine Website launched

In an effort to make the process of aligning Ukrainian refugees with host families in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the Starfish Ukraine team have recently launched a website that seeks to make the process as easy as possible.

PetPlan are offering free insurance for Ukrainians bringing their pets over

We are deeply saddened by the events in Ukraine and the impact the war is having on people and their pets. At Petplan, we know that pets are part of the family, and that many Ukrainians are taking their pets with them as they flee to safety.
We believe that all pets deserve the best care. That’s why we’re offering free Petplan insurance to Ukrainian families bringing their pets to the UK via the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. This will help ensure pets can access the veterinary care they need, and remove the worry of veterinary bills for the first year as families facing uncertainty settle in the UK.
If you’re hosting a Ukrainian family and their pet, and you would like to find out more about the support that’s available, please get in touch on 0330 057 3662.

Homes for Ukraine: Don't match female refugees with single men, UN says

The UN's refugee agency has urged the UK government to ensure that Ukrainian women and children are not matched with single men as hosts.

There are concerns that refugees are at risk and could be exploited if matched with an unsuitable host via the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme.

The UNHCR has called for "a more appropriate process" when matching sponsors and refugees.

The government said there were "robust security and background checks".

Three UK announces connectivity support package for Ukraine refugees

Ukraine: Three announces connectivity support package for refugees arriving in the UK
Mobile network Three today (10 March 2022) announces a new package of support for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK. As of Thursday 10th March, a free 30-day preloaded Pay as You Go SIM card will be made available to any incoming refugees from the conflict in Ukraine. This will include unlimited domestic calls, text and data for use within the UK.

Homes for Ukraine: Housing scheme called danger to refugees

Potentially abusive men are using a UK scheme to host Ukrainian refugees - to contact vulnerable women, BBC News has learned.

The men, some with a reported history of violence, message the women on Facebook groups specially set up to connect sponsors and hosts.

Some refugees have also become homeless after relations with hosts broke down or because housing was not well vetted.

But a UK government official said safeguards were in place.

These included "Home Office security and background checks on all sponsors, before visas are issued", and at least one council visit to a sponsor's property.

Free tuition for Ukrainian refugees at Scottish universities

Ukrainian refugees will be able to study at Scottish universities free of charge and receive living cost support, subject to parliamentary approval.

Under proposals from the Holyrood government, Ukrainians wishing to start a higher education course in Scotland this autumn will qualify for home fee status, under which tuition fees – set at £1,820 for undergraduate courses – are covered by the administration.

To qualify – and to be eligible for additional living cost support of up to £8,100 a year in bursaries and loans – applicants will need to have applied to one of the Homes for Ukraine, Ukraine Family or Ukraine Extension schemes.

Ukrainian refugees get home fee status at English universities

Ukrainian refugees studying at English universities will face the same fee status as domestic students, it has been announced.

In a letter to higher education institutions, universities minister Michelle Donelan says the government is extending access to “HE student support, home fee status, [and] tuition fee caps” to Ukrainian refugees who had been given leave to stay in the UK.

It means Ukrainian undergraduates studying at English institutions will not be charged more than £9,250 a year – instead of international fees, which can be much higher – and will have access to student support like loans.

Almost 600 visas granted for Ukrainian refugees in Northern Ireland under Government scheme

Almost 600 visas have been granted for Ukrainian refugees in Northern Ireland (29 April 2022).

Latest figures show that 598 visas have been issued to applicants being sponsored by Northern Ireland residents under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The total number of refugees in Northern Ireland is not known however as others may have arrived outside of the Government's scheme.

It's understood as many as 500 refugees could be in the region, according to those working on the ground with families fleeing the war.

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