Last Ukraine-Russia war

Government-backed matching program opens to matched sponsors and Ukrainian refugees

A government-backed matchmaking scheme has been launched to connect British sponsors with Ukrainian refugees, amid warnings that schemes helping people get to safety must not become ‘Tinder for sex traffickers’.

Reset Communities and Refugees – a charity that has been running community sponsorship programs in the UK since 2018 – has launched a service to match sponsors and refugees, provide training and carry out initial eligibility and safeguard checks.

It received initial funding of £300,000 from the Department of Levelling, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The charity launched the initial phase of the program on Friday and hopes to scale to meet future demand.

The service was launched on Friday – two weeks after the government’s Homes for Ukraine sponsorship program opened for refugee visa applications with a named sponsor.

Some 4,700 visas have been granted and 32,200 applications have been made under the scheme as of Thursday, according to Home Office figures.

More than 200,000 people have expressed interest in opening their homes to a Ukrainian refugee under this program.

But there have been concerns that the matching aspect has led people to turn to strangers on social media and be vulnerable to exploitation by potential human traffickers.