More than 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing war have arrived in UK

By Emaan Warraich
BBC News

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Ukrainians in Zaporizhzhia fleeing the warImage source, Reuters

Some 104,000 people fleeing the war in Ukraine have arrived in the UK through visa schemes, the government has said.

The total, as of Monday, included 31,300 under the family scheme and 72,700 under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, both of which were launched in March.

Overall there have been almost 200,000 visa applications.

Refugees who secure visas are allowed to stay in the UK for up to three years.

So far 62.6% of those granted visas have reached the UK.

The family scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their relatives to join other family already living in the UK, while the sponsorship scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their relatives to come to the UK if they have a sponsor who can provide accommodation.

Once in the UK, Ukrainians have the right to work, and to access benefits, education and healthcare.

The government is providing £10,500 per person involved in the sponsorship scheme to councils to help them provide support.

From now on, applications from children not travelling with a parent or guardian will also be considered for visas, provided they have parental consent.

'Peace and security'

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Greg Clark thanked everyone who has welcomed Ukrainians into their homes.

"Behind this milestone, however, are 100,000 stories of pain - families split apart and forced to leave their fathers, sons and brothers.

"That is why we want peace and security in Ukraine so that its brave people can be safe at home again."

Maria Kartashova, who lives with her host in Surrey, said the UK public was giving Ukrainians "more than help".

"You support us at every stage, spend your time and energy, pay attention and give care. I cannot put into words how grateful I am."

But there has also been criticism of the government's handling of the issue.

Tamsin Baxter, executive director of external affairs at the Refugee Council, praised the public's "truly inspiring" generosity, but said the schemes had been beset by delays and bureaucracy.

"The public mood has often been ahead of government policy, and we remain concerned that proper support needs to be in place to make the schemes as successful as possible.

"It is a matter of deep regret that there is a sharp contrast between the care and compassion rightly shown for Ukrainian refugees and other elements of the refugee and asylum system."