Key steps for your Community Sponsorship group during arrival
The day you’ve been planning for is getting very close! Here, we share what other groups have done or thought about during the arrival period.
Managing the arrival of the family you will be supporting is usually one of the most exciting parts of your Community Sponsorship journey, as it marks the time when all your plans become reality. Make sure you take time to review where you are in the process, if things are working as you expected and that you ensure you include the family as soon as possible in your plans.
Coronavirus testing post arrival
According to current government guidance, all travellers aged 5 and above must have Covid-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 following their arrival into the UK (arrival day is considered day 0).
The Home Office team will be in contact with Groups who are welcoming, to explain what needs to happen. You will be asked to pay and book the tests in advance, and you will reclaim the costs from the Home Office.
Once your Group and your Local Authority have accepted the refugee family, you will be provided with a scheduled arrival date; this can be between 8-12 weeks from the date of acceptance.
What will be happening for the refugees during this time?
During the time before departing the country they are currently in, the refugees will receive details of your Group (which you will have provided to the Home Office), will have pre-departure medical checks to ensure everyone is safe to fly, and they will go through cultural orientation training to begin to understand life in the UK. Even though the refugees should receive this training, it does not remove the need for your Group to go through these things with them again – especially as this training is not always guaranteed, due to the circumstances in the host countries the refugees are living in.
What should our Group be doing?
This will depend on the family who you will be supporting, however, you will generally need to:
- Prepare the accommodation – don’t forget that the Home Office will reimburse incurred void property costs at local housing allowance (LHA) rates. This will be up to 8 weeks for properties with 3 bedrooms or less, and 12 weeks for properties with 4 bedrooms or more. The Home Office will send the property claim form to you shortly after arrival.
- Notify your local services of the arrival date, booking appointments where you can. You will need to book appointments with:
- Jobcentre Plus
- Register with schools
- Notify specialist services as indicated by the profile of the family members you support
In this time, we would also recommend that you:
- Plan your trip to and from the airport and make your transport arrangements
- Decide which group members will be at the airport (this should be a small group and include an interpreter)
- Book or be able to access interpreters 24/7 for the first week following arrival
- Prepare the welcome pack
- Initially plan your first few days and weeks
- Make sure your Group members know what is expected of them
- Learn from groups who have welcomed families who need to self-isolate on arrival
We’ve created a guide on arrival day and post-arrival support you will be offering, along with an arrival planning chart which you can download below.
At the time of writing, this article reflected current Covid-19 guidance. It is important that you check gov.uk/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information.