The Homes For Ukraine scheme statistics have been published and despite more than 200,000 offering to help, just 2,700 refugees have been granted a visa by the Home Office
Just 2,700 Ukrainian refugees have been given a spare room despite more than 200,000 British families offering to help, the government has confirmed.
Ministers have published statistics for the Homes For Ukraine scheme and it has been revealed just 2,700 visas have been issued by the Home Office.
More than 200,000 people offered a spare room for those fleeing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, and 28,300 have applied for a visa.
The separate Ukrainian Family Scheme, which allows refugees to come to the UK without having a sponsor, has seen 31,200 Ukrainians apply, with the Home Office issuing 22,800 visas.
Refugees Minister Lord Harrington said the government was aiming to “streamline” the visa process for, adding they would expect to average 15,000 applications a week.
He said: “The response of the British public has been incredible, opening their hearts and homes to the people of Ukraine, and we must do everything we can to make the most of this extraordinary generosity.
“We are starting to see progress because of changes the Home Office made to streamline the visa process and put additional resources into the system. However, we need to do more and will be making further improvements to bring people to the UK as quickly as possible.
“I look forward to welcoming more families and ensuring they have the support they need when they arrive.”
It comes as Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Shadow Communities Secretary Lisa Nandy write a joint letter to ministers urging the government to simplify the visa process.
The letter to Priti Patel and Michael Gove reads: “The shameful scale of bureaucracy is preventing desperately vulnerable people from reaching sanctuary in the UK.
“The result of unnecessary Home Office bureaucracy is that desperate Ukrainian families are being let down. While the response of the British public has been overwhelming, with more than 150,000 families signed up to open their homes, the system you have created is squandering that generosity and failing to deliver the support that our country rightly wants to provide.
“The government has known for months about the potential invasion of Ukraine by Russia. It is therefore unacceptable that more than a month on from the start of the conflict there has been so little progress and there are so many people waiting in limbo before they can reach some security and support.”
The UN refugee agency has confirmed that more than four million people have now fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, marking a new milestone in the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.
The UN High Commissioner posted on a website that tracks refugee flows around the world to say 4.01 million have now left Ukraine.
Of those, 2.3 million have entered Poland.
Aid workers say the flow has eased in recent days as many people await developments in the war, which started when Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24.
An estimated 6.5 million people have also been displaced from their homes within the country.
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