Tag Archives: ukrainian refugees

Christine Jardine: We should treat Ukrainian refugees with respect, not leave them in limbo

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine takes both UK and Scottish Governments to task for their failures to support Ukrainian refugees and  asylum seekers from other parts of the world.

She highlights that the Home Office is taking way too long to deal with asylum applications:

In a recent Freedom of Information request, the Home Office confirmed to me that, as of July, fewer than 2,500 of 48,540 asylum applications submitted in the previous year had received a decision. Indeed, 14,000 applications submitted in 2020 were still outstanding six months into 2022.

Every week my office, and that of every other MP I know, spends hours chasing up long-standing, legal applications which simply are not being dealt with.

Each one represents someone who has fled persecution in their own country and has come here, not for some mythical easy life, but simply to survive, and is waiting. In limbo.

Often, they bring the vital skills and qualifications that are in short supply in our employment market and not only can they make a real contribution, they want to. But they cannot because they must wait.

And she highlights the failure of the Scottish Government to find permanent accommodation and support for Ukrainian refugees, many of whom are staying on a boat on the Water of Leith.

At the moment more than 1,000 Ukrainian refugees – twice as many as originally envisaged – are living on board a ship off the Edinburgh coast, unwittingly caught up in the log-jam caused by suspension of the Scottish Government’s super-sponsor scheme. They and thousands of others are waiting, unsure of their future.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

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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