War in Ukraine: Just over 100 of 2,500 potential homes for Ukrainian refugees put through vetting process in past month as families languish in hotels and cruise ships

Just 115 homes of potential hosts for Ukrainian refugees were vetted in the past month out of more than 2,500 awaiting checks – despite thousands of people who have fled the war being stuck in temporary accommodation in cruise ships and hotels in Scotland.

Scottish Government statistics show as of November 3, out of 6,040 properties offered as host accommodation to those arriving through the super sponsor scheme, only 3,425 have had all necessary disclosure checks carried out on them. This is just 115 more than the 3,310 homes recorded in October.

The number of homes which have completed all necessary disclosure checks for those arriving as part of the individual sponsor scheme has fallen from 1,675 completed in October to 1,640 as of November 3, presumably as a result of hosts withdrawing from the scheme.

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The figures also show the number of Ukrainians in hotel rooms has increased from 4,751 in October to 4,756 this month, while the number of Ukrainians onboard passenger ships has increased from 2,247 to 2,442 over the same period.

Thousands of refugees are still living in hotels and on cruise ships.
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Last month, it was confirmed the Government’s super sponsor scheme for refugees would not be re-started.

The scheme, which allowed Ukrainians to name the Government as their sponsor for a UK Government Homes for Ukraine visa, rather than find an individual host, was paused, supposedly for three months, in July to allow the Government to catch up with a backlog of new arrivals and match them to long-term accommodation.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “People across Scotland have opened up their arms in a collective gesture of generosity to welcome those fleeing war. The Scottish Government need to back up that generosity with the necessary legwork. There are thousands of Scots willing to take people in, but progress in vetting hosts is glacial.

“These checks are an important of making sure refugees are comfortable and safe in host accommodation, but if progress continues at this virtually negligible rate, many Ukrainians could face years on board a cruise ship or inside a hotel room.”

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Refugees minister Neil Gray said: “I am grateful for the support of Scottish households who have come forward to offer a place in their home for displaced Ukrainians. Local authorities are working hard to carry out the necessary checks on host accommodation.

"There is a natural fluctuation in the number of ‘active’ hosts as household circumstances change and people withdraw from and join the scheme. Local authorities are also not always able to access properties to carry out the required checks immediately as this is dependent on the hosts’ availability.”

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