Over 20 visas approved for Ukraine refugees

Ukrainian refugee figures.Ukrainian refugee figures.
Ukrainian refugee figures.
More than 20 visas have been approved for Ukrainian refugees to stay with sponsors in Hartlepool, according to new figures.

They come amid criticism that the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme is not granting visas fast enough, leaving families and sponsors in limbo.

The scheme allows people to volunteer to house refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine for at least six months, with those receiving sponsorship allowed to live, work and study in the UK for up to three years.

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Home Office data shows, as of April 26, the number of visas issued for sponsors based in Hartlepool stood at 25.

This was an increase from April 6, when figures were first published, with the area having fewer than five visa applications approved at that point.

Nationally, 51,300 visas had been issued by April 27 - around 69% of the 74,700 applications.

But the number of Ukrainians that have come to the UK through the scheme remains low, with the latest national figures showing just 11,100 had arrived by April 25.

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

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

A spokesperson for the 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.”