The Ukraine crisis has created millions of refugees. Britain is stepping up: British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to follow through on plans to offer residency to Ukrainian refugees after critics pressured him to step up and do more.
The United Kingdom, which is no longer a member of the European Union, has reportedly taken roughly 1,000 Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion of the country began, which is substantially lower than European Union countries. Refugees entering the European Union have been offered a three-year residency in EU countries without a visa, while the United Kingdom has maintained strict controls over those entering the country, arguing that those controls are necessary for national security purposes.
Speaking to Sky News this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to be “generous” to those fleeing Ukraine but added that he will also be “careful.”
New Humanitarian Visa Coming Next Week
In the same interview, the British Prime Minister promised that Michael Gove, the secretary of the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities – a British government department focused on regeneration and improving living conditions for the British people – would announce a new humanitarian visa on Monday.
The details of the visa are not fully known, but Johnson said that it would allow Ukrainians who do not already have family in the United Kingdom will be able to apply for asylum in the country. Currently, only Ukrainians with family links in the UK are able to enter the country.
The Guardian reports that the new visa will allow individuals, businesses, or organizations to sponsor Ukrainian refugees who do not have family ties in the UK. Those who sponsor the refugees will provide accommodation and financial support to the refugees for a period of 12 months. It would be a similar system used for Syrian refugees and asylum seekers coming from other parts of the world.
While the exact details of the new visa won’t be announced for days, substantial delays are still expected for Ukrainian refugees leaving European Union countries for the United Kingdom given the delays experienced by those using the existing family links refugee scheme in the UK.
Ministers previously indicated that as many as 200,000 Ukrainian refugees would be welcomed into the UK, but according to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, there will be “no limit on this scheme” and that as many Ukrainians who can find sponsors in the UK will be welcomed into the country.
Businesses Already Stepping Up
One millionaire businessman from Liverpool, England, has already stepped up and offered to sponsor 1,000 Ukrainian refugees and called on the British government to “stop delaying.”
Steve Morgan, the founder of housebuilding company Redrow, said that he had been “moved to tears” by the sight of millions of Ukrainians fleeing their country.
“Watching the humanitarian crisis unfold in front of our eyes is absolutely devastating. We have to stop the suffering and Boris Johnson and [Home Secretary] Priti Patel have to stop the delays,” he told the press. “Offering to sponsor 1,000 Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK through the Steve Morgan Foundation is one way we can help but we need to do more.”
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