Ukraine war: ‘shambolic’ red tape prevents refugees from being housed in UK, says woman expecting family | UK News
More than a month after the launch of the UK’s Ukrainian sponsorship scheme, thousands of sponsors are still waiting to host Ukrainian nationals, amid reports of red tape and bureaucracy in the process.
Lynette Protheroe, from Derbyshire, was matched with sisters Yana and Inna and their three children on March 20, but weeks after submitting an application she says she still has no way of tracking her progress.
“The system is chaotic and it’s letting these people down,” Ms Protheroe told Sky News.
“You can order balloons from China and you can track them and you know where they come from, you know where they are.
“You can usually tell when it will be delivered. You can’t track those visa applications. There’s no way for the family to track them. You just have to wait.”
Only 12.7% of visa holders arrived in the UK
The Ukrainian Sponsorship Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a sponsor named under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Since its launch on March 14, 55,600 visa applications have been received, of which 25,100 have been issued.
Some 3,200 visa holders have arrived in the UK.
Yaya and Inna are currently at home on the Dnipro River where the fighting has intensified. Ms Protheroe said the wait to get them to safety left her beside herself with worry.
“You oscillate between being totally angry and wanting to yell at someone…and being on the verge of tears,” she said.
“All five have current international biometric passports so they don’t need a visa. They just need a letter of authorization to travel. We were told it would take between three and five days. Well , we are now at day 23 .
“We go from pillar to post, we send each other emails, we don’t receive answers, we receive information from deputies that is different from what we receive from other channels, and all we want is is the truth. All we want is to want is the truth about that first week where the system was overloaded and couldn’t cope, and our documents were lost.”
Security checks are paramount
Getting Lynette’s house up to council safety standards was also a grueling task. She had to fill her garden pond and was asked to put up glass doors and add window restrictors.
Ministers faced questions last summer after five-year-old Afghan refugee Mohammed Munib Majeedi died from a ninth-floor window of the hotel where his family was temporarily staying.
Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said safety is paramount.
“Children and women who are going to be vulnerable need to be in a home where there are proper security checks. If something went terribly wrong because there hadn’t been any checks, we’d all be asking a lot of questions. questions about it and would raise real concerns,” he told Sky News.
Follow the Daily podcast on apple podcast, google podcast, Spotify, Loud speaker
“But they have to be proportionate, and they have to make sure people don’t delay getting into people’s homes.”
Refugees Minister Lord Harrington said the UK was on track to achieve its ambition of processing cases within 48 hours.
“However, we are not complacent, we have already made a series of changes and will do more to make the visa process even easier, helping thousands more Ukrainians to come to the UK through these safe and secure channels. legal and far from the atrocities committed in their homeland,” he said.