Home England government British government criticized for its response to Ukrainian refugees

British government criticized for its response to Ukrainian refugees

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Home Secretary Priti Patel speaking to the media outside the Ukrainian Embassy in London, England on March 6. (Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty Images)

The UK government has been criticized for its response to Ukrainian refugees, with its new Ukraine Family Scheme visa being described as complex and time-consuming by people navigating the system.

Under this scheme, individuals can apply to join or accompany a UK-based family member and, if granted a visa, they can live, work and study in the UK and access public funds. .

Some refugees who traveled to the French port city of Calais in the hope of getting to the UK are now being asked to go to meetings in Paris or Brussels – both more than 100 miles away – within the framework of the administrative procedure.

When asked why there was no treatment center in Calais, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government was setting up a center away from the port to avoid creating “points strangulation”.

the The UK Home Office said on Monday it issued 300 visas under its Ukraine Family Scheme, out of 8,900 applications submitted and 17,700 applications initiated.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote to his British counterpart Patel last Saturday in a letter obtained by CNN: “[Taking] given the distress suffered by these people, this response appears totally inappropriate and inhumane. »

By comparison, the European Union’s “Temporary Protection Directive”, announced on March 2, allows Ukrainians to enter the bloc without a visa and individually choose which country to travel to. Eligible persons will receive a protective status similar to that of a refugee, in any EU country for a period of one year which can be revised.

Germany, for example, said on Tuesday that more than 64,000 Ukrainian refugees had arrived since the Russian invasion began on February 24. A Home Office spokesman said the number could be much higher as there are no border controls. Meanwhile, around 5,000 Ukrainians have so far arrived in France, and more are arriving every day, Citizenship Minister Marlene Schiappa said.

Additional reporting by CNN’s Benjamin Brown and Niamh Kennedy in London, Nadine Schmidt in Berlin, Joseph Ataman and Xiaofei Xu and Anaëlle Jonah in Paris.