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Ukrainian refugees: Why is the UK only issuing 300 visas?

The British government is under increasing pressure to issue more visas to Ukrainian refugees after it was reported that only 300 had been granted as of yesterday.

The Interior Office said a total of 17,700 visa applications have been initiated under the government’s Ukraine Family Program, which was launched on March 4. Three days later, 8,900 applications were submitted, while 4,300 applicants made an appointment to submit their biometric details.

Of these, 640 applications were confirmed and 300 visas issued. More than two million people have fled the war in Ukrainewith most seeking safety in neighboring Poland, which has already received 1.2 million refugees, according to United Nation.

Technical difficulties and delays

Guardians reports that Ukrainians trying to flee to safety in the UK have described their “violent frustration and anger at the bureaucratic hurdles and technical difficulties” when trying to get visas under the new program.

Candidates told the newspaper that they had been left behind in foreign countries “grabbing with a complicated application process” and were plagued by “difficulty uploading important documents or application websites” application crashed”. Others complained that there was “no appointment available to complete their application” or found they were asked to “send supporting documents to an office in Wandsworth”.

And Ukrainian refugees arriving in Calais have faced uncertainty and delays, with nearly 600 refugees stranded in the French port town, reports BBC. Many said they were turned away at the border for “lack of documentation”. French authorities told the broadcaster that “nearly 300 people were turned away trying to cross the border into the UK”.

Several refugees told the BBC they had been asked to go to Paris to apply for a visa, where they had “had to wait more than a week” for an appointment.

On Monday, the Interior Minister Priti Patel denied the refugees were being returned to the French port town, and said her department was in the process of setting up an application center. “We have staff in Calais, we have support on the ground. It is wrong to say that we are just turning our backs on people, we are not at all, we are supporting the people who have come to Calais,” she said.

But Daily MirrorChief correspondent Andy Lines tweeted a photo of a poster in a youth hostel in Calais that appeared to suggest visas would not be shipped to town, and directed people to fill out a form. online form before visiting visa centers in Paris or Brussels.

Shadow Interior Minister Yvette Cooper has criticized the number of visas issued to Ukrainian refugees as “shockingly low and astonishingly slow”.

After releasing the figures from the Ministry of Interior, Ms tweeted: “Only 250 since yesterday. At this rate, it will be weeks before many families are reunited. Urgent action is needed. ”

She also questioned why there were so many reports of Ukrainians in the French town being unable to get a visa because there was no official to process the application, reports Guardians.

“I hope the secretary of state will deliver on some of the promises she has made, but there’s a huge gap between the rhetoric and the terrible reality, which has let down Ukrainian families,” Cooper said.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government should offer “a simple path to sanctuary” for those who feel Ukraine, and criticized the Home Office as “completely messy”, the BBC reports. know.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International UK said that “history is repeating itself” following its response to last year’s crisis in Afghanistan.

Refugee and migration rights director Steve Valdez-Symonds said the Home Office was “once again too slow and too bureaucratic to respond to a refugee crisis that almost everyone sees coming”.

UK visa routes open to Ukrainian refugees

Under the UK’s recently extended family visa scheme, Ukrainians with parents, grandparents, children and siblings already in the UK are allowed to stay for up to three years.

Another avenue for Ukrainian refugees is through the sponsorship of an individual or business.

But the proposal “is not in line with the proposal of EU countries”, said ITV. Some have waived visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees, allowing them to enter EU countries for up to three years without having to apply for asylum first.

It is thought Patel may be looking at “legal options” to create a “humanitarian path”, providing all Ukrainian refugees with the right to come to the UK, whether they have family ties to the UK or not, in a similar scheme. of the EU.

But the prime minister Boris Johnson appeared to have spoken of the possibility of such a route being introduced, telling reporters on Monday: “What we are not going to do is have a system where people can enter the UK without any any test or any control, I don’t think that’s the right approach,” Independence reported.

“But what we’re going to do is have a very, very generous system,” he added.

Johnson continued: “As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, people will want to see this country open its arms to those who are fleeing repression, fleeing war zones.

“I think people who have rooms available who want to take in people from Ukraine will want us to have a system that allows them to do that. And that has been and is happening. ”

https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/uk-news/956009/ukrainian-refugees-uk-visas Ukrainian refugees: Why is the UK only issuing 300 visas?

Fry Electronics Team

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