Ukraine: Almost two dozen refugees expected in Falkirk yet to arrive, figures reveal

Almost two dozen Ukrainian refugees accepted to stay with hosts in Falkirk have not yet reached the UK, new figures show.

By Will Grimmond
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 6:00 am

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

Sponsors 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.

Home Office data from last Tuesday (May 17) shows 52 visas have been granted to stay with hosts in Falkirk, from 54 applications – but as of Monday, May 16, just 29 of these refugees had arrived in the UK.

A Polish soldier carries a child and helps a refugee family after they crossed the border into Poland from Ukraine (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Local authority figures cover refugees who have already been linked with a named sponsor prior to their arrival.

But around 5,600 of the 8,500 visas issued in Scotland fall under the Scottish Government’s “super sponsorship” scheme, where applicants do not have to be matched with a named sponsor at the point of application.

As of May 16, only 1,100 of those receiving "super sponsorship" had arrived in the UK.

The Refugee Council said it had received reports of delays at every stage of the application process, and of necessary documents not reaching refugees quick enough for them to travel.

Head of advocacy at the charity, Andy Hewett, called the scheme "unfit for purpose".

A Home Office spokesperson called it "one of the fastest and biggest visa schemes in UK history" adding they are now “processing visas as fast as quickly as they come in” as a result of changes to the application system.