One million people are said to have fled Ukraine since Vladimir Putin’s regime launched an invasion last Thursday. The UN refugee agency expects around five million people to be displaced in the crisis
Image: Alamy Live News.)
Desperate Ukrainian refugees have had to wait three extra days before being eligible to seek safety in the UK – despite the Government’s “very generous” promises.
As it stands, Brits who have elderly relatives and siblings caught up in the Ukraine crisis still cannot bring them to safety here in the UK.
On Tuesday the Home Secretary bowed to pressure and agreed to create “temporary visa concessions” for Ukrainians after initially only permitting immediate family members in the UK
Downing Street confirmed people living in the UK can bring “adult parents, grandparents, children over 18 and siblings” in addition to those who had previously been allowed.
But those measures will not come into effect until Friday March 4.
In just seven days since Vladimir Putin’s regime invaded Ukraine, one million people have fled to other countries seeking safety, the UN refugee agency claims.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has said: “The Home Secretary announced on Tuesday that elderly relatives and siblings from Ukraine are welcome here.
“But guidance now shows it doesn’t start ’til Friday. People are fleeing war in Europe. Why does Home Office still not understand the urgency of [this] crisis?”
It comes despite a Tory minister’s claims of there being no delay in helping Ukrainian refugees.
Security minister Damian Hinds told Sky News this morning: “There is absolutely no suggestion of any kind of delay here – people need help now.”
Asked how many visa applications had been submitted since last Wednesday, Mr Hinds said: “So far a relatively small number – I can’t give you an exact number – but we expect that to grow rapidly.
“So we are stepping up the capacity. We are very soon up to capacity for 6,000, and we will keep that under review and if it needs to increase, it will increase – and that’s just in the immediate region. There is also of course application centers across Europe.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that it would widen eligibility to around 200,000 people, twice the number previously estimate
The changes came less than 24 hours after she refused to waive visa rules for refugees insisting it would undermine the “strongest security advice”.
Earlier today, Security minister Damian Hinds said there is no suggestion of delay in helping Ukrainian refugees.
It comes as the Government suffered a humiliating defeat in the Lords last night.
Peers voted for a clause which will help unaccompanied child refugees reunite with their family members in the UK.
The Lord Dubs amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill will give safe passage to all unaccompanied minors from European countries.
Peers voted 178-130 for the cross party amendment in the Lords chamber on Wednesday evening.