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Friday, September 22, 2023

Criminal record checks for Ukrainian hosts

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We are seeing the loss of life and property daily because of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion. This has caused a surge in locals leaving the conflict zones in Ukraine and becoming refugees across Europe. The UK has played a vital role in taking in a large number of these refugees with local households and families volunteering as hosts to take in large numbers of Ukrainians. The British government instituted the Homes for Ukraine Plan very early on in the conflict in March 2022. As per this scheme families or individuals can stay in the houses of UK residents that are volunteering to play hosts.   

Background checks for UK families as hosts

Once the Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched, the government decided that those planning to play hosts will need to undergo background checks. Any family or person that wants to be part of the scheme as a host must have a DBS check carried out. This is done to prevent any such individuals that have been previously criminally convicted from playing host and posing a security risk to the family or individual that stay at their property. Undergoing a DBS check helps the authorities to ensure that they are providing a safe environment for the refugees to live in when they are in the UK.    

Types of DBS checks needed

After the authorities consult the individual or family that intends to host the refugees, the type of DBS check to be done will be decided and the host asked out to complete the application. In most cases, the Basic or Enhanced DBS checks are asked for those families or individuals that intend to host refugees from Ukraine.  

Basic DBS Check: It only reveals very basic information about the criminal record of an individual found in the PNC database.  These will include unspent convictions and cautions of any kind as per the ROA 1974 guidelines. This is to be done for every family member of a household that has offered to be hosts to refugees from Ukraine.    

Enhanced DBS/CRB Check: Only those individuals or families that volunteer to take in children or vulnerable adults need to get an Enhanced DBS check. It is a comprehensive disclosure that covers all aspects of information that could be part of the criminal record of a person. It includes reprimands, warnings, cautions, spent and unspent convictions including a barred list check (if deemed necessary). All those in a family 16 and above that will play host to refugees that include children below 18 or vulnerable adults requiring extra support must undergo an Enhanced DBS/CRB check.  

Payment for the Checks

Before the launch of the scheme to help refugees from Ukraine by the British government, there already were a large number of background checks completed for different positions. In most cases, the employers or the individual who made the request made the payments. However, since the scheme is introduced and those wanting to be sponsors for the refugees, the costs will be taken care of by the local city council in their areas. This is to make the scheme more attractive to UK households and families that are keen to contribute to the effort to alleviate the hardships faced by the refugees.  

As a sponsor how do I get a DBS check?  

If you are an individual or a family that wants to sponsor refugees from the conflict, you can approach your local council to apply for the process of getting your DBS check carried out. They will guide you about what kind of check you need to undertake and the information needed. 


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