Lancaster to welcome scores more Ukrainian refugees as visas approved

More visas have been approved for Ukrainian refugees to stay with sponsors in Lancaster under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
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They come amid criticism the UK Government is not granting visas fast enough, leaving families and sponsors in limbo.

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

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Sponsors agree to offer accommodation for at least six months.

Lancaster residents are providing temporary homes to Ukrainian refugees.Lancaster residents are providing temporary homes to Ukrainian refugees.
Lancaster residents are providing temporary homes to Ukrainian refugees.

Home Office data shows as of Tuesday (April 26), the number of visas issued for sponsors based in Lancaster stood at 96 – up from 22 on April 6, when local figures on the scheme were first published.

Some warn that delays in processing are impacting the number of refugees able to arrive in the UK, with reports of families unable to travel due to individual members not having visas granted.

Stephen Kinnock, shadow minister for immigration, said it was “truly inspiring” to see so many British households open their doors to fleeing refugees.

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But he also criticised the UK Government’s handling of the scheme, saying issues with processing visas had created a “bureaucratic nightmare”.

Refugees have also been arriving through the Ukraine Family Scheme, which allows Ukrainian nationals to join family members in the UK.

Local data on this scheme has not yet been made available.

A spokesperson for the UK Government said: “The changes the Home Office has made to streamline the visa system, including simplifying the forms and boosting staff numbers, are working and we are now processing visas as quickly as they come in – enabling thousands more Ukrainians to come through our uncapped routes.”