The Homes for Ukraine Scheme – which enables individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to sponsor a Ukrainian into the country – will now include an option for Ukrainians to be sponsored by the Scottish Government “if they do not have a named sponsor”.
The scheme will provide people fleeing the conflict in their homeland with temporary accommodation while a more permanent place is found for them.
The Scottish Government is directly sponsoring a number of Ukrainians. Individuals will be able to apply through the usual form, but should choose the Scottish Government as their sponsor, according to the UK Department for Levelling Up.
The Welsh Government will also serve as a direct sponsor in the coming days.
Scotland has offered sanctuary for 3,000 refugees, mirroring the offer made for the Syrian Refugee programme, with the Welsh Government offering this for 1,000 refugees.
Nicola Sturgeon told Ukrainians seeking refuge from the war that “Scotland wants to welcome you”, as she announced the scheme was open.
She detailed how the scheme will work in a thread on Twitter, and said people wanting to come to Scotland should select “Scottish Government” on the UK visa application site.
Ms Sturgeon wrote: “Choosing this option means that you do not have to arrange an individual sponsor before coming to Scotland. We will help you do that once you are here.
“When you first arrive in Scotland, we will provide temporary accommodation for you/your family while we put in place all the longer term support you need, including a place to stay. We want Scotland to be a safe, secure home for as long as you need.”
She urged organisations and charities working with Ukrainians needing refuge to help spread the word about the Scottish route.
Ms Sturgeon said multi-agency teams are working to ensure accommodation, safeguarding and support “as well as the warmest of welcomes” is provided.
The First Minister asked anyone who lives in Scotland and can offer accommodation to register their interest through the UK Homes for Ukraine site.
Details will be shared with the Scottish Government so appropriate matches can be arranged while immediate support is provided to those arriving.
Alongside the direct sponsorship, train operators have also offered free travel for Ukrainian on arrival in the UK.
The scheme will be live from Sunday and Ukrainian arrivals who have entered the UK will be able to travel for free on the national rail network by showing their Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the UK.
They will have 48 hours from arrival in the UK to complete their journey. The scheme applies to all train operators in the UK and many bus and coach operators are also offering free travel.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is hugely welcome that the transport industry has come together to offer free rail, tram, bus and coach onward travel from any international port, airport or train station."