Minister Urges Speed & Solutions from Home Office
New Ukraine Sponsor scheme data shows that 2,126 Ukrainian refugees with a sponsor in Scotland have thus far arrived in the UK.
855 of those have come through the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor scheme – the Warm Scots Welcome – which removed the need for applicants to be matched to a named individual before being cleared to travel.
The Scottish programme is available as an option to Ukrainians when applying for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.
However, in a statement following the publication of the new data, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Refugees from Ukraine, Neil Gray MSP, called on the UK Home Office to speed up its processing of applications and act to resolve serious issues with the scheme.
While 2,126 people have arrived thus far, 7,700 visas related to Scottish sponsors have been issued in total. The Minister has raised concerns about delays preventing these thousands more displaced people from getting to Scotland, and about the nature of the private scheme leaving it potentially open to abuse by a small minority of hosts.
I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all who have arrived in Scotland from Ukraine.
While we have seen the devastation on the news, the reality of what you have been through is hard to imagine for most of us – and I sincerely hope that you can find peace and security here in our communities.
However, Neil Gray is right to press for more urgency from the Home Office – both to get the thousands more people who have been issued visas actually over here, and to ensure the UK-wide scheme is not putting anyone at risk of exploitation.
We're deeply grateful to the tens of thousands of people who've offered to open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the illegal war.
We've published new guidance, explaining:
🔵 What's required of hosts
🔵 What will happen next
Read more at https://t.co/YXVTuJsIQF pic.twitter.com/f7wQv09gLm
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) May 10, 2022
– Scottish Government Minister for Refugees from Ukraine, Neil Gray MSP
The data shows for the first time that the number of displaced people from Ukraine who have arrived in the UK, and whose sponsor is in Scotland, is 2,126, with 855 through the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor scheme. We offer all a warm Scottish welcome.
The data also shows 87,200 applications have been made by Ukrainians to the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, with 7,700 visas relating to Scottish sponsors having been issued by the Home Office – of which 5,000 were under Scotland’s super sponsor arrangements.
The Scottish Government will continue to press the Home Office to process visa applications speedily and address the serious issues around the permission to travel issuing to applicants – there must be no further delays in displaced people from Ukraine coming to the UK.
I am deeply concerned at reports that people could be using the Homes for Ukraine scheme to prey on vulnerable people. While the vast majority of people offering to host displaced people from Ukraine are generous and well-meaning, the reality is that the UK Government’s private sponsor scheme leaves people at risk of arriving in the UK and being placed with hosts before suitable checks have been carried out.
This is why we are calling on the UK Government to replicate our super sponsor scheme, where refugees are matched with hosts who have passed enhanced disclosure checks, to help prevent vulnerable people being placed with unsuitable hosts.
Published statistics on arrivals can be found here: Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme – numbers of visas issued – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)