More visas approved for Ukrainian refugees in Mansfield – amid government processing delay criticism

More visas have been approved for Ukrainian refugees to stay with sponsors in Mansfield under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, according to new figures.

By Will Grimond
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 10:06 am
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2022, 10:22 am

They come amid criticism the UK Government is not granting visas fast enough, leaving families and sponsors in limbo.

The Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, also known as Homes for Ukraine, allows citizens to volunteer to house refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Sponsors agree to offer accommodation for at least six months, with those receiving sponsorship allowed to live, work and study in the UK for up to three years.

Mansfield's Old Town Hall was lit up blue and yellow in a mark of 'support and solidarity' to the people of Ukraine.

Home Office data shows as of Tuesday, April 26, the number of visas issued for sponsors based in Mansfield stood at 35 – up from 20 as of April 6. In Ashfield, it has risen from less than five, to 30.

Across the UK as a whole, 51,300 visas had been issued by April 27, equating to about 69 per cent of the 74,700 applications made to that date.

The proportion of people waiting has dropped since April 7, when just 12,500 applications had been issued from 43,600 applications.

However, the number of Ukrainians who have come to the UK through the scheme remains low, with the latest national figures showing just 11,100 had arrived by April 25.

The Government cautioned the data is likely to contain some duplicate records.

Some warn delays in processing are impacting the number of refugees able to arrive in the UK, with reports of families unable to travel due to individual members not having visas granted.

Stephen Kinnock, shadow immigration minister, said it was ‘inspiring’ to see so many British households open their doors to refugees, but criticised the UK Government’s handling of the scheme, saying issues with processing visas had created a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’.

Refugees have also been arriving through the Ukraine Family Scheme, which allows Ukrainians to join family members in the UK.

As of April 27, 34,900 visas have been provided under the scheme, of which 16,000 people had arrived by April 25.

A Government spokesman said: “The changes the Home Office has made to streamline the visa system, including simplifying forms and boosting staff numbers, are working.

“We are now processing visas as quickly as they come in, enabling thousands more Ukrainians to come.”

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