Priti Patel apologises for UK visa delays for Ukrainian refugees
Home Secretary Priti Patel has apologised for visa delays that have prevented thousands of Ukrainian refugees from entering the UK.
So far only a quarter of the Ukrainians granted visas have reached the UK.
Home Office figures published on Friday show the government has granted 40,900 visas to Ukrainians fleeing the war.
Of the visas granted 28,500 were issued under the Ukraine Family Scheme and 12,500 under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme which allow people to sponsor Ukrainian refugees
Of those who have arrived in the UK, 10,800 have arrived under the family scheme and 1,200 under the sponsorship scheme
Ms Patel told BBC News: “Completely, it’s been frustrating. I apologise with frustration myself.
“I’ll be very candid, it has taken time. Any new scheme takes time, any new visa system takes time.”
Refugee minister Lord Harrington also issued an apology earlier this week over lack of government action, telling parliament that “not enough” visas had been issued.
Britain’s numbers are lower than those accepted in comparable European countries as the German government said earlier this week it had accepted 300,000 Ukrainians.
“Germany is an EU country,” said Ms Patel. “They don’t have visa checks, their borders are open.
“It’s not like for like. We are an independent third country, and we want to give people the status and security of coming to our country, along with the warm welcome.”
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