More than 10 days after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Home Office reports show that only around 300 Ukrainian refugees have been granted visas to come to the UK. (as of March 8) — despite more than 13,500 applications for the program.
As Ukrainians flee for safety from Putin’s war crimes and brutal invasion, the British government’s response is simply not enough. He has to put people first and take care of the paperwork later.
UK government must waive visas for Ukrainian refugees
Scotland is ready to welcome refugees and the Scottish Government is committed to working alongside local authorities to help Ukrainian refugees settle in Scotland.
But the UK government’s insufficient response makes this difficult and creates inhumane and unnecessary obstacles for those seeking refuge. Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “inhumane” and “indefensible”.
The UK government must urgently waive visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge in the UK.
🇺🇦 The @ukhomeoffice must immediately lift visa requirements for any Ukrainians seeking refuge here. Give entry now for humanitarian reasons and sort the documents later. Ireland has already adopted such an approach. The continued enforcement of an inhumane immigration system in the UK is indefensible https://t.co/qrJtGHrTnz
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) February 27, 2022
There have also been reports of Ukrainian refugees turned back in Calaisand a complete lack of official British help on the ground for Ukrainians wishing to enter the UK.
Instead, they are told that they must go to Brussels or Paris just to submit an application and reports say it is difficult to book appointments online as none are available. France’s interior minister called it “inhumane” and urged the UK government to “put its rhetoric into action”.
We condemn the refoulement of Ukrainian refugees to Calais by the British Home Office. The UK Government is not doing enough and must act now!
— The SNP (@theSNP) March 7, 2022
Unlike the UK, European countries are rising to the challenge
EU countries closer to Ukraine, particularly Poland, have taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees and removed all visa requirements for Ukrainians – combining their words of solidarity with concrete actions.
Ireland, for example, has already taken in more than 1,300 Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war – a country with a population 14 times smaller than the UK, hosting at least 4 times as many refugees.
🚨 While the Russian oligarchs have time to sell themselves, this British government is closing the door on refugees. We must do better.
📢 The UK government must step in and remove visas for Ukrainians fleeing war and terror. pic.twitter.com/hjdZOuLczI
— The SNP (@theSNP) March 4, 2022
It’s time to scrap the Tories’ Nationality and Borders Bill
The Tories’ cruel and anti-refugee Nationality and Borders Bill criminalizes those who seek refugee protection in the UK outside the regular channels.
An overwhelming majority of MSPs from all parties – except the Scottish Conservatives – voted in the Scottish Parliament to reject the UK Nationality and Borders Bill, which was also strongly opposed decried by several charities.
The Scottish Refugee Council. among other organizations, said the Conservatives’ bill violates international law and basic human decency. It must be abandoned urgently and the British government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy must end once and for all.
The Conservatives’ odious anti-refugee bill will be debated today and tomorrow. Thanks to @scotrefcouncil and many more for exposing all the ways it violates both international law and basic decency.
— MP Stuart McDonald (@Stuart_McDonald) July 19, 2021