Written evidence submitted by Migration Yorkshire



1. Migration Yorkshire supports people and organisations to achieve the most positive outcomes of migration for everyone in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

2. Migration Yorkshire is a partnership of councils working across the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region. We provide leadership and coordination, evidence, and practical assistance to organisations from all sectors at local, regional and national level. Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, Migration Yorkshire has sought to bring Yorkshire and Humber local authorities together to find shared solutions, to identify the key issues and maintain regular liaison with central government departments.

3. We are funded by Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to support operational delivery of the Homes for Ukraine programme. We set up an online resource tool for Ukrainians, hosts and organisations interested in or already supporting Urkainians in the UK Ukraine hub | Migration Yorkshire

4. We have drawn upon evidence from work as Strategic Migration Partnership in Yorkshire and Humber, working with a range of partners including local authorities and voluntary and community sector groups. This includes weekly strategic meetings and with all 15 local authority Homes for Ukraine leads, followed up by individual meetings to review the scheme; feedback from the Ukraine Advisory Panel which we set up in July 2023, with representatives from all Ukraine schemes across Yorkshire and Humber; and feedback gathered through a Host Survey which ran July 2023, and gathered 700 responses (not published yet); this survey was completed by ongoing research by Migration Yorkshire on An introduction to everyday hosting | Migration Yorkshire

5. We are submitting this to reflect the Yorkshire and Humber regional perspective.

The objectives of the scheme and how it was set up

6. Local Authorities acknowledge that the scheme was set up quickly but felt guidance was sometimes vague, with updates and responses from Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, at times, have been slow and inconsistent. This lack of clarity in guidance and differences in responses has created some confusion, with local authorities having to make their own judgements, which at times has led to complaints from hosts. Local authorities noted that the ‘goal posts’ kept changing e.g., how to administer ‘Thank you’ payments, which put local authorities in a difficult position. Local authorities stated:


7. There have been some challenges in the delivery of the scheme by local authorities. Example include:


8. From the Host Survey; 74% of hosts reported that before their guest arrived, the contact and information they had received from their local council (or representative) was enough in relation to their needs. The respondents mentioned that step-by-step guidance or a check list on practical things and paperwork would have been useful for them. Hosts identified issues at the beginning of the scheme including a lack of information, responsibilities, and expectations. 


Arrival numbers and checks conducted on applicants and sponsors

9. Local authority initial responses: local authorities reported challenges at the beginning of the scheme, with a lack of capacity, in terms of staffing, to be able to stand up and deliver at scale, with the volume of arrivals. Some staff took on work in addition to existing roles, assuming this would be short term. Some local authorities struggled more than others due to speed of being able to build a team. With hindsight some would have used the tariff to build dedicated resources. All local authorities now have dedicated teams.

10. From the Host Survey, not all hosts were clear about what would be expected during a housing inspection to be able to prepare. This was because information varied between different local authorities, at the beginning of the scheme. 

Funding provided for the scheme

11. There was a reduction in tariff in January 2023, but pressure stayed the same, and the majority of local authorities continued to provide the same level of response and level of service. This was further complicated by local authorities using the tariff to offer a top up on ‘Thank you’ payments for hosts over the winter period 22/23 and some have continued to ensure all hosts receive the £500.

12. Funding unlike other schemes meant it was difficult to plan what was going to be needed. However, it was noted that overall, not ringfencing funding was found to be useful for local authorities but it has ultimately created inconsistencies between geographical areas as they offer differing levels of provision.

13. A lack of clarity on future funding and confirmation on the rollover of funding into 2024/25, means it is difficult for local authorities to effectively plan for future services.

14. The ending of ‘Thank you‘ payments after 24 months has prompted concerns from local authorities about when these’ payments stop and the impact this will have on homelessness, as for some this is only 6 months away. This will also prevent new hosts from coming forward.

15. The Host Survey found that in regards to Thank you payments, 55% of respondents had indicated that they would not be able to host without it.  Some hosts reported incurring additional costs either in preparation for guests’ arrival or in increased bills. They also queried whether having a fixed rate regardless of number of guests, as costs higher when hosting larger numbers.

16. The ‘Homeless Prevention Grant’ for Ukrainians must be spent by March 2024. However, local authorities predict the demand for housing may increase, due to the ending of ‘Thank you’ payments for hosts, predicted impact April to June 2024. Some guests have said they want to stay in hosting arrangements for the duration of their visa, while many others are struggling to secure their own housing. 


Challenges and future risks


17. Housing. The majority of local authorities reported a lack of affordable housing and high rent prices, making it difficult for guests to move on. The Ukrainian Advisory Panel and the host survey also sighted this as a key issue. This is a particular challenge in rural and more affluent areas, where guests have been hosted. There is huge competition from diverse groups all chasing the same properties and landlords can choose to be selective. A limited pool of new hosts for rematches, combined with hosts being able to give immediate notice, creates additional pressures on local authorities, and for guests a lack stability and security. local authorities have been offering packages of support and the Local Authority Housing Fund has been appreciated, but this has also created community tensions, due to the percieved favourabke treatment of some groups over others. Examples of further issues highlighted include:


18. Future of scheme. There is currently no official clarity on the future of the scheme, which is having an impact on the ability of local authorities and Ukranians to plan ahead, and on future employment, language training and housing. Some individuals intend to settle and stay, even those who want to return to Ukraine do not see envisage this being possible in the immediate future. This was raised as one of the main issues by the Ukrainian Advisory Panel October 2023.

19. Hosts. The main challenge for local authorities was trying to maintain hosting relationships with hosts and guests; combined with a lack of clarity and understanding about what was expected of Hosts and local authorities. However, it is worth noting many hosts ‘came through’ for guests i.e., helping them to apply for benefits, enrolling into schools, settling into their community, finding housing using their own networks. Examples of specific issues included:


20. Guests. Local authorities have also faced specific challenges supporting guests, aside from managing hosting arrangements. Examples include:


21. The Ukrainian Advisory panel said their biggest challenges were:


22. Community tensions. Some local authorities reported that due to the differences of Ukraine scheme compared to other migrant cohorts, this created a perception that Ukrainians were more welcomed and receiving better treatment. Thus, it was difficult for local authorities to balance equality across provision with them having perceived preferential treatment, and with different policies i.e., 50% council tax. This has made it difficult for local authorities to implement changes as they do not fit into equality policies and procedures. It also generated complaints for local authorities to respond to, with them having to deal with issues which could be addressed at policy level.

November 2023