In news– Recently, the UK government has introduced the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, which allows residents to host displaced Ukrainians in their own homes or independent accommodation for six months to a year.
What is the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme?
- The scheme allows individuals, charities, communities groups and businesses in the UK, across nationalities, to bring in Ukrainians.
- In Phase One of this scheme, the sponsor can choose whom to support, be it an individual, more than one adult or adults with children.
- Hosts will be subject to safeguard and security checks, so will the guests.
- While they are expected to give rent-free rooms, the UK government will offer “an optional thank-you payment of £350 a month”, which can continue till 12 months of sponsorship.
- Local authorities will be given £10,000 for helping each Ukrainian refugee through this new scheme, besides funds for providing education to school children.
- With this Ukrainians with international passports can directly apply online for entry without the need to visit a visa application center.
- They can remain in the UK for three years and will have “full and unrestricted access” to state benefits, healthcare, schooling, and employment.
- They will need to be vetted before entry and biometric checks will be made in the UK after arrival.
- Until now the Gateway Protection Programme, a UK refugee resettlement scheme, partnered with UNHCR has been in action since 2004, where local authorities have provided for housing.
- In 1938, the British government had conducted a nine-month rescue operation for Jewish children fleeing the Nazi pogrom.
- Called Kindertransport (Children Transport), the parents or relatives had to provide a £50 bond, to be “assured of their ultimate resettlement”, and it was assumed they could reconnect with their families once the crisis was over.
- In 1939, the UK again stepped up to help refugees soon after the passing of Norwegian statesman and polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen.
- The Nansen passports, recognised internationally as refugee travel documents, from 1922 to 1938, issued by the League of Nations, were discontinued.
- Then resumed the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, with its headquarters in London.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-
- It was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly.
- The UN refugee agency emerged in the wake of World War II to help Europeans displaced by that conflict.
- The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.
- Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.
- It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.
- It also has a mandate to help stateless people.
- In 1954, UNHCR won the Nobel Peace Prize for its groundbreaking work in Europe.