In response to news that the UK has now UK welcomed over 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing conflict, Tamsin Baxter, Executive Director of External Affairs at the Refugee Council, said:
“We are proud that this country has welcomed over 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing conflict. It is clear the British public really want to help, and the warmth and generosity so many have shown in opening up their homes is truly inspiring. Through its creation of the Ukraine Family Scheme, which brings Ukrainian families together, the Government has rightly recognised the need for refugee families to be reunited and it has been incredibly positive so many have been supported in this way.
“That said, this process has by no means been straight forward. We have seen delays, excessive bureaucracy, and some aspects of the visa schemes have not been well thought-out, leaving refugees vulnerable to homelessness or exploitation. The public mood has often been ahead of Government policy, and we remain concerned that proper support needs to be in place to make the schemes as successful as possible.
“Thousands of British people have come forward to open their homes, but these hosting relationships come with risks and responsibilities. That is why it is vital the Government ensures that hosts and refugees are provided with the right training and specialist support, including help to find alternative accommodation when necessary, to avoid the risk of homelessness. Both schemes need sufficient attention and support to ensure they protect refugees in desperate need of a safe roof over their heads, and for the hosts who have opened their doors to support them.”
“It is a matter of deep regret that there is a sharp contrast between the care and compassion rightly shown for Ukrainian refugees and other elements of the refugee and asylum system.
“As the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul approaches, thousands of Afghans remain trapped, split from their families either in hotels in the UK or in Afghanistan itself. The government’s Rwanda scheme is cruel and inhumane. We should meet our commitments to all refugees and people seeking asylum.”