Tag Archives: ukrainian refugees

Cole-Hamilton: SNP must do more to help Ukraine refugees

Writing in the Edinburgh Evening News, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Alex Cole-Hamilton condemned the SNP government for its slow progress in accepting and settling Ukrainian refugees:

Scottish ministers wanted the kudos of being seen to help but did little of the preparation to make it happen. As such, we have homes across Scotland still waiting either to be processed or matched to a Ukrainian guest. We also have Ukrainians placed in remote areas without access to transport.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

The Homes for Ukrainians Scheme does not meet the needs of refugees

Scenes of chaos, disinformation, unhelpfulness, layers of bureaucracy; these are some of my comments after seeing what some of the Ukrainian refuges had to go through while trying to make an appointment with the British Consulate in Warsaw. Some people, who fled the war, travelled in freezing conditions for days, had to make a 12 hour round trip to meet a Home Office official. Unacceptable? Most definitely.

I agree that Britain has a long standing tradition of welcoming refugees. However before we start congratulating the Home Office on their efforts to welcome our Ukrainian friends, it is worth remembering that Poland has already provided home and shelter for 1,916,000 refugees from Ukraine (figures from 17th March) whilst other neighbouring countries have taken 283,000 (Hungary), 229,000 (Slovakia), 491,000. Interestingly, Ireland has taken 6,600 whereas UK so far only 3,000, as of 14th March.

So what awaits Ukrainian refugees, who might want to move to a safe country or, to be more precise, are desperate to settle secure? On Monday, 14th March, the government launched the Home for Ukrainians Scheme. The scheme itself went live on Friday, 18th March.

The setup is quite “interesting”. Although around 44,000 have already signed up to the scheme, the government, in my view, made a wrong decision in terms of how the process works. Essentially, Ukrainian applicants must have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them. Only in the last few days, I had a number of phone calls from residents of Welwyn Garden City, who are really keen to support our Ukrainian friends, however without having any information about the country, culture or any connections with Ukraine, each individual will have to heavily rely on some of the Ukrainians already living in the UK. We are quite lucky in Welwyn Hatfield as we have worked a lot in recent weeks with members of the Ukrainian community, who might be able to “match” individuals in Ukraine, with people in the UK, who are happy to move to Britain.

I might be cynical, however the British government is urging the public to come forward to help as we are in the middle of a global humanitarian crisis. In my view, this clearly demonstrates that the government doesn’t want to provide the adequate infrastructure to support the scheme and it relies on the good will of British people. I wonder whether this is also because of Home Office recent stance and reputation on immigration. I’ve seen first-hand, in my day job, how hard it was for Afghan families to navigate the complexity of the Home Offices internal procedures. An inhumane and impossible task, to say the least.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 6 Comments
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