UK ready to help fleeing krainians

Now Reading:

UK ready to help fleeing krainians


Johnson says mobilising visa officers in France after criticism


LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the UK’s policy on accepting refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after criticism that the government had so far only granted about 50 visas under its scheme and said it was sending visa officers to the French port of Calais to help expedite the processing of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion, after its response was slammed as a “disgrace” by one lawmaker.

Johnson, who met his Canadian and Dutch counterparts Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte on Monday, said “the UK will be as generous as we can possibly be”. But he added that it would not “simply abandon (security) controls altogether”.

“We’re processing thousands as I speak to you and clearly this crisis is evolving the whole time,” he told UK media.

“We have two very, very generous routes already — the family reunion route, which is uncapped, which could potentially see hundreds of thousands of people come to this country, plus the humanitarian route.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced £175 million ($230 million, 210 million euros) in new funding for Ukraine’s government, taking its total aid to nearly £400 million.


“We are absolutely determined to be as generous as we possibly can and as I speak to you all we are processing thousands of applications,” he told reporters after talks with the Dutch and Canadian prime ministers.

“We are putting people out in all the surrounding countries — into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, as well as into Calais, France — to make sure we receive people and help people to come.”

London has gradually extended the family scheme to now cover parents, grandparents, siblings and “immediate family” of those already in the UK.

The government said that, as of Sunday, around 50 Ukrainians had been granted visas under the scheme for those with family links to Britain, out of the 5,535 people who applied within 48 hours of the scheme’s launch.

More than 10,000 have now applied in total under the scheme, the government said.

Under the humanitarian route, refugees can be sponsored by individuals, communities or organisations. But France has accused Britain of a “lack of humanity” after saying that 150 refugees were turned back at the Channel port of Calais.


Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government was creating a bespoke “visa application centre” (VAC) in Calais, but away from its main port to avoid a “choke point” after years of cross-Channel migrant passages.

France’s Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin on Saturday accused Britain of a “lack of humanity” after saying that 150 Ukrainian refugees were turned back at the Channel port, and told to file applications at UK embassies in Paris or Brussels.

Britain’s opposition Labour party said there was still no sign of the promised VAC in Calais, and noted that Home Office figures showed only 50 Ukrainian refugees had been allowed in to Britain so far.

“Just 50 visas granted to date and families turned back at Calais,” Roger Gale, an MP with Johnson’s Conservative party, told parliament. “A disgrace.”


Bureaucratic hoops


Gale referenced Patel’s own family background by noting that in 1972, Britain had taken in thousands of ethnic-Indians, after they were expelled by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, “without any difficulty at all”.

The home secretary’s parents emigrated to Britain from Uganda in the years before the mass expulsion.

But both Patel and Johnson said Britain could not stop all security vetting of incoming Ukrainians, after expressing concern that undercover Russian agents could try to infiltrate their numbers.

The government has created two pathways for Ukrainians — family reunions with relatives already in Britain, and a new “sponsorship” scheme for organisations and individuals to bring in others.

A total of 17,700 applications have been submitted under the family scheme, Patel’s department said on Monday evening.

Some 8,900 applications had been submitted since Friday, nearly half of them at VACs in Poland and across eastern Europe, which have seen a “surge” in staff to help the process, it added. But Labour lamented that only 300 visas had been issued.


“That’s shockingly low & painfully slow,” Labour’s home affairs spokeswoman Yvette Cooper tweeted.

“Just 250 since yesterday. At this rate it would be weeks before many families reunite. Urgent action needed.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier said it was “unconscionable” for people who had fled fighting to have to “jump through bureaucratic hoops” to apply for a visa.

More than 1.7 million people are estimated by the UN to have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, with over one million arriving in Poland alone.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “unconscionable” for people who had fled fighting to have to “jump through bureaucratic hoops” to apply for a visa.

Johnson claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin had been surprised by “the levels of Western unity” in opposition to the invasion, particularly over economic sanctions. “We certainly want to go as fast as possible. That’s why I’ve got Marc Rutte and Justin Trudeau with me today,” said Johnson, adding that “nothing was off the table” in terms of economic action.


“We’ve got to recognise that we’ve got to do more on sanctions. There’s more that the world can do on banking,” he said.


Catch all the Breaking News Event and Latest News Updates on The BOL News

Download The BOL News App to get the Daily News Update & Live News.

End of Article
More Newspaper Articles
No time for error
Major demographic challenge
Sino-Russia ties resilient
Deadly floods, landslides hit Brazil
Nepal welcomes Chinese funds
Pacific Rim nations in deep trouble

Next Story

How Would You Like to Open this News?

How Would You Like to Open this News?

Would you like me to read the next story for you. Master?