20. Following a significant increase in new applications, and against a backdrop of continued pressure on short-term accommodation from pre-existing visa-holders, on the 11 July the Scottish Government announced there would be a three-month pause to new applications and the scheme closed on 13 July. The wider Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (referred to as 'Homes for Ukraine') remained open to applications sponsored privately by UK residents, including those in Scotland.
21. On the same date, the Scottish Government also announced it was chartering a passenger vessel MS Victoria to be docked in Edinburgh to provide additional immediate accommodation for new arrivals, later joined by MS Ambition in Glasgow. These passenger ships have since been providing comfortable temporary accommodation with facilities including restaurants, child play areas and communal spaces, and have been well received by the communities living there.
22. The Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine also instructed officials to conduct a rapid review of the scheme with a focus on sustainability and longer-term accommodation, and to develop a set of criteria against which any plan to re-open the super sponsor scheme to new applications could be objectively assessed.
23. The review was led by the Chief Social Policy Adviser, Professor Linda Bauld, with broad engagement from subject matter experts across local government, the third sector (for example the Scottish Refugee Council) and academia (for example the Chair of 'New Scots Core Group for Refugee Integration'). The review also benefitted from the lived experience of recently arrived Ukrainians.
24. The outcome of the review is 16 specific interventions (Annex A) aimed at improving the performance of the existing scheme, and a set of seven criteria, also developed with support of key stakeholders, to ensure any future plan to reopen is safe and deliverable (Annex B).
25. The interventions range from clearer information and support, to investment in social housing and innovative alternatives such as modular housing, in addition to actions to reduce barriers to employment and the private rental sector. The review team noted that many of the more innovative interventions have potential well beyond Ukrainian communities, for example, responding to homelessness.
26. On 30 September, the 'Ukraine Senior Oversight Group', which includes members of COSLA, local government and the third sector, endorsed the outcome of the review and committed to working in partnership with the Scottish Government as part of work to move Scotland's response from mass evacuation and towards integration, more aligned with the principles of New Scots – Scotland's refugee integration strategy: integration from day one, a rights-based approach, refugee involvement, inclusive communities and partnership and collaboration.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback