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UK Visa system unforgiving for Ukrainians

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

The #UK government has announced that #Ukrainian#refugees will be able to apply for digital visas, with effect from Tuesday. "Ukrainians with passports will no longer need to go to a #visa application centre" home secretary Priti Patel told the Commons.

Additionally, the #Ukraine Family Scheme permits family members of people settled in the UK to join their relatives. Another promised route - allowing individuals and companies to sponsor Ukrainians to come to the UK - has not yet been established.

Whilst the #EU waives visas for Ukrainians fleeing the #war, the UK has insisted visas are necessary to guarantee security.

The ponderous nature of the UK's response has been widely criticised, with Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper calling it a "total disgrace". Ms Cooper stood firm in her belief that refugees must not face bureaucratic hurdles, asking why it had taken "being hauled into the House of Commons to make basic changes to help vulnerable people?" She also questioned why there had been a delay when Ms Patel had "had intelligence for weeks, if not months, that she needed to prepare for a #Russian#invasion of Ukraine".

Ms Patel claimed the home office is working hard to ensure Ukrainian refugees are able to come to the UK and that this remains her "priority".

Despite more than 2.1 million people having fled Ukraine according to #UN estimates, the UK has so far granted just over a paltry 1,000 visas.

Meanwhile, in spite of a dire lack of humanity within the conservative government, a UK charity appeal for Ukraine has raised £120m of public donations in less than a week - the equivalent of more than £1m an hour since the appeal launched. The Disasters Emergency Committee said the funds were already being utilised by charities inside the invaded nation and at its borders to provide people fleeing the war with food, water, medical assistance, protection and trauma care.

The UN estimates up to 4 million people may be forced to leave Ukraine and 7 million may lose their homes.

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