In response to the UK Government’s announcement regarding support for Ukrainian refugees, Enver Solomon, CEO of The Refugee Council, said:
‘Whilst we welcome the Government’s decision to relax visa requirements for Ukrainian people seeking to unite with their family members in the UK, it falls well short of what is needed and does very little to reassure Ukrainians fleeing war and bloodshed that that they will be able to seek sanctuary in our country.
“Compared to the EU’s decision to take in refugees for up to 3 years without having to apply for asylum, it looks mean spirited and sends a message to desperate Ukrainians in search of safety that unless they have a family member in the UK, they are not welcome.
“The Government must show it cares and immediately establish a safe route, so all Ukrainian families, who through no fault of their own have been forced from their homes, can easily apply for a humanitarian visa to travel to the UK. In addition, working closely with the UN in the coming months, it should put in place a robust resettlement scheme.
“Whilst the horrors of Ukraine unfold before our eyes, it’s important not to divert our attention from the Government’s Borders Bill currently going through parliament which will flagrantly undermine our obligation to give all those who seek asylum a fair hearing on our soil.
“The Bill would treat men, women, and children, like those from Ukraine, embarking on terrifying journeys over land to flee war and persecution, as criminals on reaching our shores. We urge the Government to immediately rethink this cruel and harmful legislation.”