Pressure on government to ease process for Ukrainian refugees fleeing war

Refugee that fled the war in Ukraine rest at the Przemysl train station, southeastern Poland
Refugees that fled the war in Ukraine rest at the Przemysl train station, southeastern Poland. Credit: AP

Pressure on the government to step up efforts to help Ukrainian refugees continues to mount, as thousands flee the country from Russian invasion each day.

Constituents have been flooding their MPs with offers to help Ukrainians looking for safety in the UK, reports ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt.

But many feel that desire has not been matched by the government with a scheme or process that allows them to help.

Details of a new sponsorship scheme will be revealed on Monday, but it is not likely this will be a simple, quick process as families will need to be vetted.

Criticism has bene coming from both sides of the political divide, as Political Correspondent Dan Hewitt reports

This stands in contrast with the European Union’s approach, which has launched an emergency protection system offering shelter, access to jobs, medical treatment and education.

It has led to French president Emmanuel Macron to criticise Downing Street for failing to live up to its “grand statements” on helping Ukrainian refugees.

Speaking at the end of an EU summit in Versailles on Friday, Mr Macron reportedly criticised Britain’s visa policy which required applicants to make them in person in Brussels or Paris.

According to The Guardian, the French president said this further exacerbated circumstances for those fleeing the war.

Listen to the latest analysis on the Ukraine crisis in ITV News' podcast:

He added: “Despite all the grand statements… the British government continued to apply current rules that meant they did not welcome Ukrainian refugees who wanted to reach British soil saying they have to travel hundreds of kilometres in order to apply for a visa.

“I would hope that the Ukrainian men and women who have lived through horror and crossed Europe to reach their families on UK territory will be better treated.”

In response to Mr Macron’s reported remarks, the Home Office pointed to previous comments from Home Secretary Priti Patel, which stated: “We are now making the process quicker and simpler by removing the need to physically visit visa application centres for many of those who are making the perilous journey across Europe.”

On Thursday, Ms Patel announced that from Tuesday people will be able to apply online for a visa and will no longer have to go to a processing centre to give their biometrics.