Homes for Ukraine scheme: Open letter to Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Home Office

The Open Rights Group and our coalition of frontline migrants’ rights groups, including Refugee Action has written to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Home Office to express our serious concerns regarding the data practices involved in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. 

28 April 2022

Direct Communications Unit 2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

United Kingdom correspondence@levellingup.gov.uk

Dear Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities,
 


Open Rights Group (ORG) and our coalition of frontline migrants’ rights groups, including Refugee Action, write to express our serious concerns regarding the data practices involved in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

We were very pleased to see the establishment of a government scheme in the UK to provide refuge to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. But it is clear that the scheme, as it stands, is not fit for purpose. Instead of placing vulnerable migrants with welcoming hosts, the lack of supervision over the matching of sponsors with refugees has led to serious actual (and potential) harm.

Specifically, we would submit the following questions for your consideration:

1. Hosts must identify someone to be sponsored before registering, and as a result, many have turned to social media to find matches. Predictably, these online venues have therefore become attractive to those wanting to prey on the vulnerable, and instances of harassment/abuse have been reported. This danger has been identified by some groups, who have limited restrictions in place on who they allow to match. Some Facebook groups

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