Less than half of Ukrainian applicants approved UK visa – POLITICO

LONDON – The United Kingdom has awarded 2,700 visas to people fleeing the war in Ukraine under its flagship sponsorship scheme, just under 10 percent of all applications.

While the Home Office said on Wednesday that a total of 25,500 visas had been issued to Ukrainians, of the 59,500 applications received by Tuesday, the vast majority were granted to applicants with relatives in the UK data from the department.

A whopping 22,800 of the visas issued went to Ukrainians applying through the Ukrainian family program, after 31,200 people applied through this route. Launched on March 4, the family scheme requires applicants to show they have at least one relative in the UK when applying.

Despite 28,300 applications, only 2,700 visas were issued under Ukraine’s sponsorship program. This program is open to anyone fleeing the war in Ukraine and is subject to security and identity checks if they have a UK sponsor

This route was opened to bids on March 18 after the British government was heavily criticized for not being generous enough in its offer to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.

In contrast to the few that are granted UK visas, more than 200,000 UK households have expressed an interest in hosting people fleeing Ukraine by registering through a government website.

More than 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine, with many more to follow in the coming weeks, according to the UN refugee agency. The EU has decided to waive visas for Ukrainians for three years, despite several countries asking people to register on arrival. Germany has registered more than 270,000; France has received about 30,000; Spain, around 25,000; and Ireland about 13,500, among others.

In response to the UK visa numbers, MPs urged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “cut the Home Office bureaucracy” to speed up the arrival of Ukrainians in the UK during Prime Ministers’ Questions in the House of Commons.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said “paperwork is preferred over people”, citing the case of an elderly couple on the Polish-Ukrainian border who told him it was “too complicated” to get to Britain

Johnson defended the government’s “overwhelmingly generous” record on taking in refugees.

“I think everyone is pulling together, the number of people who have reached out to offer their homes is incredible,” he said. “But I really don’t think he does [Davey] should reject what the UK is offering. We’ve already given 25,000 people… already got visas, we’re processing 1,000 a day, and there’s no limit, no cap to the number we can take.”

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, a think tank focused on social inclusion, said the UK government needs to work “much faster” to cut visa processing times to less than a week and ensure the logistics for the There is reception of Ukrainians, warning there could be a cascade of arrivals.

He estimated that “more than 60,000 people will come in a month and many more within a quarter.”

“I think this could be the largest single influx of people into the UK in one quarter in over half a century,” he added.

https://www.politico.eu/article/visa-application-sponsorship-program-uk-ukraine-refugees/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Less than half of Ukrainian applicants approved UK visa – POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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