Help for displaced people from Ukraine, hosts and people offering accommodation

East Lothian Council wants to help displaced people from Ukraine, host families and people offering accommodation

We can support you with short-term arrival needs like:

  • small amounts of emergency cash support - while you wait for payments via Universal Credit
  • checking the accommodation you are living in - to ensure your safety and welfare
  • school places for children of school age (between 5 and 16 years old)
  • health advice and referrals to specialist public health services if you have specific needs like: mental health, adult social care, and children’s services
  • access to local JobCentre Plus appointments for benefit assessments and job-seeking
  • support you to integrate into your local community in East Lothian
  • support you if you become homeless

We are continuing to work out how we can best support you in the medium to long term as the situation unfolds and as national guidance changes. More information will be available as soon as possible.

Contacting us

Email ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk to ask general questions, offer accommodation or get help as a host.

Please note - if you live in East Lothian, neighbouring councils (e.g. City of Edinburgh, Midlothian) will NOT be able to help you with things like emergency cash support or Universal Credit applications. You must contact East Lothian Council only. 

Welcome: a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK

Read and download the welcome guide from the UK Government.

1. Where to start - if you have just arrived in East Lothian

First:

  1. contact ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk and find out how to get your interim payment  - you can collect this money in cash when you arrive
  2. contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to apply for Universal Credit - this also gets you a national insurance numberread section 5. Finance for more information 
  3. register with a doctor (GP) and request a letter as proof of address - this will be helpful for things like opening a bank account
  4. enrol your children in school: phone your local school and ask for your child to be enrolled as quickly as possible - as places are limited in some schools

In your first week of arrival:

  1. apply for a bank account, this can be done with passport identification only: read section 5. Finance for more information
  2. contact other Ukrainian families or hosts within your local area, if you want to: email ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk and we can advise of other families living in your area or families with children of similar ages locally -with appropriate permissions

No later than the second week of your arrival:

  1. apply for a national insurance number - if you have not applied for Universal Credit
  2. apply to extend your visa by making arrangements for a Biometric Residence Permit read section 7. Residency for more information

If you feel overwhelmed in the first week and are unsure what to do: contact ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk and someone will call you to discuss your questions or concerns.   

2. Offering and providing accommodation

Offering accommodation as an organisation / company: Initially this was not possible, however following changes to processes mid-end April 2022, you can now register via Homes for Ukraine as an organisation / company. 

Offering a caravan as accommodation: all accommodation will be considered, however this type of accommodation is not ideal and would not be encouraged - residential dwellings are preferable.

Charging rent for the accommodation is not permitted: you will however receive a £350 payment for up to 12 months from East Lothian Council as a “thank you” for providing accommodation to the families. This will be paid a month in arrears from the arrival date of your family.  Bank account details will be requested during the initial process of your contact with East Lothian Council. Please note that payments will commence following a satisfactory property check.

3. Disclosure checks

The requirements for disclosure checks are the same regardless of the Scheme you register with: Homes for Ukraine or the Super Sponsor Scheme.

  • if you already have an Enhanced Disclosure certificate you have to apply again - it is a requirement for both schemes that a new Enhanced Disclosure is completed and verified
  • if you have registered with the Family Visa Scheme you do not require a disclosure check -  these are only required for households registering through Homes for Ukraine and Super Sponsor Scheme

Your circumstances

  • if you are offering accomodation in East Lothian but you live somewhere else, so a friend/relative who lives locally will be the host: you don't need an enhanced disclosure check as you are not living in the property - we would consider the individual circumstances of you and your friend/relative and we might decide a basic disclosure check is required
  • if you are offering a holiday let or a second home and you will live in the property: an enhanced disclosure check is required
  • if you are offering a holiday let or a second home and you will not live in the property: an enhanced disclosure check is not required - however as host, if you live close by to support the family and will spend considerable periods of time in the property, we may request a basic disclosure check
  • if you are offering accomodation in a granny flat or annex attached  to your home: we will carry out a property check first and if the annex is considered to be completely self-contained, it is unlikely an enhanced disclosure check will be required, although this depends on the layout of the property and household composition - it may be that a basic disclosure check will suffice - this this would be determined on an individual basis      

If concerns are highlighted i.e. through disclosure checks 

This is unlikely. However in this situation, East Lothian Council may ask the family to live in temporary accommodation provided by the Council as a short-term measure until any concerns are alleviated or issues are resolved.

Reporting concerns about someone who is hosting Ukrainians in their home

Any concerns should be reported as soon as possible to East Lothian Council, by emailing ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk - this will be prioritised via systems in place for safeguarding.   

4. Property Checks

Shortly after moving into a host’s property we will contact you to arrange for a property check. Inspections are currently on hold in East Lothian while clarity is sought at national level on the level of certification and checks required. We will contact you in the near future when checks can commence to explain what is covered and how you can prepare for this.   

5. Finance

Interim payments

  • every individual arriving from Ukraine via the Homes for Ukraine and Super Sponsor Scheme, regardless of age, is entitled to a one off payment of £200 upon arrival - to cover immediate costs while you settle in
  • email ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk to make an appointment for you or your host to collect this money in cash from the council offices at John Muir House, Haddington or Brunton Hall, Musselburgh - please do not come to collect this money unless a time slot has been arranged for you in advance
  • a host can collect the money on behalf of a Ukrainian household - please bring one form of identification with you
  • alternatively, the payment can be made into a bank account within 48 hours, if an account has been set up for the Ukrainian household - contact ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk to request this

Additional money on arrival

Phone the British Red Cross on 0808 1963651 to register for a free SIM card and a pre-loaded card that has £50 per person, as a welcome payment. You will need an email address to register. They will then contact you to provide passport information / proof of identification.

If you make a claim for Universal Credit, you may also be entitled to request an Advanced Payment.  You may wish to discuss this further with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) once the claim has been approved.  The DWP Work Coach will agree eligibility, and the amount that can be provided. Remember an Advanced Payment must be paid back and this will be deducted from your Universal Credit Payment over a period of months until clear.

Bank accounts

  • The Royal Bank of Scotland has online help for Ukrainians wishing to open an account
  • online accounts you can apply for with just a passport include: Starling, Monzo, Revolut and Barclays 
  • to register with Bank of Scotland you need proof of address as well as your passport - a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP), letter from an employer or a letter from a GP are all suitable as proof of address: an employers’ letter must be on headed paper and include your name as it is on your passport and the date (dated within the last month). Here is a template of what it should say:
    • I can hereby confirm that [full name] of [insert address] is directly employed by [full business name].
    • Their employment start date is [insert date].
    • For any further information please contact [phone number].

Universal Credit - from The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

Apply for this as soon as possible on arrival at the host’s accommodation. translation services are available to help new arrivals with phone applications, and Work Coaches in DWP Jobcentres can support people making claims online.

  • read about applying for Universal Credit, and other benefits you may be eligible for at: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/support-for-those-fleeing-the-conflict-in-ukraine/
  • DWP staff are delivering additional face-to-face assistance to those who need it, including support to find work and advice on claiming benefits.
  • to make a claim face to face call: 0800 328 5644 for an appointment so staff can arrange for interpretation at the appointment.
  • to make a claim over the phone call:  0800 328 5644.
  • Interim payments will be provided as detailed earlier until their claim has been assessed and a payment date notified.
  • Once a claim has been accepted, your family can also request an Advance Payment, this is a repayable loan and you will discuss the amount and repayment plan with a Work Coach.

Hosts - monthly payment of £350

  • as a “thank you” you will be entitled to a monthly payment of £350 - paid to you monthly in arrears from the date of the family arrival date
  • this is subject to property check being approved
  • you will be asked for bank details - to allow us to set this up for you as soon as possible to help you with the provision of accommodation
  • payments will be available to you for up to a 12 month period
  • if you register as a host and are matched to a family, but the arrangement breaks down and the family move in with someone else you are no longer entitled to the £350 monthly payment - the payment would go to the new host family

6. Education, Health and Social Care

Education

  • Early Years - if you have a child under school age contact ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk for advice
  • Primary/Secondary school - phone your local school directly to enrol a child in school
  • Further/Higher Education - The Scottish Government is looking to approve free tuition for displaced Ukrainian households to take part in further/higher education for free - this has to be approved through Parliament and further information will be provided in the near future
  • English lessons - we can provide English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) lessons for adults 18+ years of age. Lessons may be online or in groups depending on where you live and the level of English you need. You can request a referral form for you or your family from our colleagues in East Lothian Works by email to: ukraine@eastlothian.gov.uk. The referral will ask for contact details of the household, and questions around your current understanding of English, to assess the level of English tutoring needed

Health

7. Residency

How long can I stay in the UK?

If you have attended a visa application centre and given your biometrics already, you will be given three years’ leave to enter on arrival. Otherwise, the entry stamp you received on entry to the UK permits you to stay for the first six months only. To extend your stay for up to three years under the Schemes, you will need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit or BRP. This must be done within your first six months.   

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

This permit is proof of evidence of your right to live, work and study in the UK. It can be used as proof of identity when opening a bank account or renting a property. The electronic chip holds information such as name, date of birth and place of birth. It will also have your photograph, fingerprints and immigration status. 

Extend your visa

To extend your visa for three years, please visit: https://apply.visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/ukraine-scheme-brp?_ga=2.41889127.476630351.1650736735-1179440380.1650736735

You will be asked for details including your name, address, previous names, previous address, passport information and your GFW number. You will then be directed to the UKVAC site where you can register and make an appointment to have your biometrics taken and checked. You can also upload a photo of your passport and any other supporting documents to make your appointment quicker.

It takes 15-20 minutes in total to compete the forms and this will give you the Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) that you can use as proof of address. It may take 10 days to receive your BRP.

National insurance number

If you apply for Universal Credit: this will be generated automatically so you do not need to do anything else.

If you do not plan to apply for Universal Credit: apply online for a national insurance number - it can take up to a week to arrive, but you can work before it arrives and your employer can use your passport to register for tax/PAYE.

8. Ukraine information and advice

Support

Citizens Advice Bureau - free, impartial and confidential advice

Musselburgh: Musselburgh Citizens Advice Bureau website or call: 0131 653 2748

Haddington: Haddington Citizens Advice Bureau website or call: 01620 824471