Ukraine refugees staying with UK hosts not cleared by criminal record checks

2 days ago 9

Ukrainians fleeing the warfare are being housed with UK hosts who person not had a transgression grounds check, successful the latest interest to blight the government’s effect to the exile crisis.

Under expanding unit to robust retired flaws successful its schemes, authorities sources told the Observer they were creating a “rematching” work to location Ukrainians with radical consenting to help.

Tens of thousands of radical who person registered an involvement with the UK’s Homes for Ukraine scheme volition beryllium contacted to accidental the authorities is moving with councils and charities to lucifer them with Ukrainians who person arrived successful the UK but find themselves stateless aft their archetypal spot fell done oregon household members could not big them.

So far, much than 102,000 visas person been issued nether the 2 authorities exile schemes for Ukrainians, and 46,100 person arrived successful the UK. Teething problems proceed to beset the initiatives. In galore cases, radical person been housed for weeks by hosts who inactive are waiting for their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Karen Liebreich, from westbound London, collected her 21-year-old Ukrainian exile from the airdrome 5 weeks agone but said she was inactive waiting for the results of the checks.

She said: “My hubby and I person present filled successful our forms for the DBS checks, but she has been present for 5 weeks and we inactive haven’t been approved.”

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – which is liable for the strategy – contacted her past week to inquire if it could usage her arsenic a lawsuit study, but Liebreich refused.

In an email to the department, she said: “[Your] section was each implicit the property assuring america that everyone lodging a Ukrainian has had a completed DBS check. As this is simply a categoric prevarication ... I’m not prepared to facilitate an interrogation to bolster a authorities connection for ministers that look not to recognize the worth of the truth.”

Ukrainian refugees
Ukrainian refugees astatine the Isaccea borderline crossing past month. Photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

A DBS cheque allows employers and different organisations to look astatine the transgression grounds of idiosyncratic applying for a role, if they person one.

On Thursday different big of a Ukrainian parent and lad successful Essex besides said they had arrived but that she “hadn’t been checked” and had asked the assembly for an explanation.

Another big from Essex wrote connected Facebook: “Our guests, including young child, arrived connected 14 April and we were lone sent the links for the enhanced DBS cheque past Friday [6 May].”

Essex region assembly said the delays had arisen owed to the “volume” of cases but that it was “prioritising those who already person guests with them”, and past week started face-to-face DBS checks astatine 2 offices to “speed things up further”.

In effect to specified issues and concerns implicit homelessness, a parliamentary committee volition this week impulse the authorities to benignant retired its “completely dysfunctional” schemes.

Clive Betts, seat of the levelling-up committee, said helium had written to refugees curate Richard Harrington, astir fears for the information of Ukrainians and their imaginable to extremity up homeless.

Maggie Filipova-Rivers, of the City of Sanctuary network of 120 section councils, said the hold betwixt Ukrainians being housed and DBS checks conducted connected their big was worrying. She highlighted 1 caller lawsuit wherever a household successful Worcester were astatine hazard of becoming stateless aft problems arose with their host.

“Someone was hosting a household surviving connected a mattress successful the room and asking them for money; it was a imaginable exploitation case,” said Filipova-Rivers.

Worcester metropolis assembly said that though nary information issues had been identified successful this case, it had recovered the spot to beryllium “unsuitable”. But the big had ignored this and gone up with the placement.

Then the assembly had go alert of “problems successful the narration betwixt sponsor and their guests” – the Ukrainian household had appealed for assistance connected Facebook, which led to a enactment radical providing alternate accommodation successful Derby and past Sheffield.

Misha Lagodinsky, who runs a matching strategy called UK Welcomes Ukraine, which has 100 Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking volunteers connecting people, said: “Some radical are uncovering that they are stateless consecutive distant due to the fact that they person a visa granted and past their big fails DBS checks.”

Charlie Richards, a unpaid with different scheme, said that helium had heard of Ukrainian families sleeping connected benches aft becoming homeless.

Concerns person been gathering implicit the nonaccomplishment of the authorities to merchandise the information it holds connected the fig of Ukrainians presenting themselves to councils arsenic homeless. A root said it was owed to unveil the information shortly, and that numbers relating to the Homes for Ukraine strategy were “very tiny truthful far”.

They added that the volition was ne'er to transportation retired DBS checks connected each hosts earlier Ukrainians arrived due to the fact that the precedence was getting radical “out of danger” first.

A authorities spokesperson said: “The Homes for Ukraine strategy has stringent safeguarding measures successful place, and the Home Office conducts information and inheritance checks connected each sponsors earlier visas are issued. Councils besides behaviour checks and indispensable marque astatine slightest 1 in-person sojourn to a sponsor’s property.”

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