As you learned in Reset’s matching webinar, according to government guidance either you or your guest can fill in the online visa application form. To do this, you’ll need to share personal details, including passport numbers, addresses and more.
We take all possible steps to make safe matches, but we know that when people are desperate, there are always people looking to exploit them.
We think the safest and fastest way of getting people to safety is for you to take charge of the visa process and complete the visa application on your potential guest’s behalf, and not share your passport number with your guest.
We’ve put together some frequently asked questions below but do get in touch with Reset if you have any questions.
You should only go through with sponsoring someone you feel comfortable having in your home. If the refugee you’d previously agreed to sponsor tells you they can no longer come to the UK, you should call the Home Office helpline and cancel the visa so you will no longer be listed as their sponsor. You can of course sponsor someone else known to them, but we’d encourage you to get to know them as you did with the first guest before agreeing to host them. If anything about the situation begins to feel suspicious, please let us know. You should also inform your local council immediately.
Refugees have been through a lot to get to the point where they decide to leave their country, giving up control of yet another process may make them nervous. Just like you, they will be expected to share personal information with a stranger and may be hesitant to do so. This doesn’t mean that they are acting in bad faith. If your guest is insistent that they complete the form, you can offer to fill in the application while sharing your screen with your guest. When you get to the page where you enter your own passport details, simply stop sharing the screen. If your guest continues to insist that they fill in the application or if you at any point feel uncomfortable with their behavior, you should feel free to decline to sponsor them and get in touch with Reset for more advice.
This is perfectly fine and follows government guidance, we would just encourage you to be aware of any suspicious behaviour in the lead up to their arrival. An example of this would be if they ask you to sponsor someone else or a relative instead of them. If you think anything is off at any point, get in touch with your local authority or call the Home Office helpline at + 44 808 164 8810 and they will be able to advise you on how to proceed. Please get in touch with us too, while we do not have access to any visa records, you can sense check any situations with us.
You should not agree to sponsor someone if you know they intend to live elsewhere once they arrive in the UK.
If the person you sponsor arrives in the UK and immediately goes to live with someone else, they will effectively be living outside of a system put in place to protect them. Refugees are intended to live with hosts who have been DBS checked, had their accommodation approved, and who will be checked in on by the local council to ensure everything is OK once they arrive. They will also have access to help from the local council including help to sign up for services and be given initial payment upon arrival. If they are granted a visa with you as a sponsor and do not inform the council before moving on, they could end up in an unsafe, unregulated living situation and will not be known to the local authority.