Warwick and Leamington MP wants process for families to take in Ukrainian refugees to improve locally and nationally
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Mr Western has described the low percentage of tens of thousands of refugees having been matched with families in his constituency and further afield under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme as “damning”.
Mr Western has raised concerns that, nationally, little more than 6,600 of the refugees who have applied to the scheme have been successfully resettled in the UK with their sponsors.
But more than of 40,000 have been issued visas.
Mr Western said: “The nation, people in our county and my constituents have shown incredible generosity in volunteering to provide a home for increasingly desperate Ukrainian refugees.
“Unfortunately, the Home Office has failed them but - most importantly - it has failed refugees, again.
“Thousands more refugees are waiting, sometimes longer than three weeks, for their applications to be processed.
“Ireland – with a population roughly 13 times smaller than ours – has already resettled 25,000 refugees.
“In Warwickshire, only about 12 per cent of refugees who have been matched with sponsors have been successfully resettled.
“And only 26 refugees of around 150 who have been matched with homes in Warwick and Leamington have made it to the constituency.
“These are damning statistics – the process must improve.”
Leamington resident Kate Williams recently wrote to The Courier and Warwickshire World to voice her frustrations about the scheme.
She said: “Another day has passed, and still no news on our visa application for a family in desperate need. We are ready to give them safety and peace for as long as they need it. We have been ready since the day that we applied through the Homes For Ukraine scheme.
“While the press and public remain stunned into paralysis by the shocking reports from Bucha, we must surely also continue to draw attention to the need for active, immediate help for current survivors.
"We must recognize that even those who have crossed the Ukraianian border have access to these press images – this is ongoing, real time, cumulative trauma that begs real time intervention.
“Our own sponsees pack themselves and their children onto overcrowded trains across Europe, and head through the night as I type to destinations unknown. I have friends with sponsees currently in Ukraine. They are being bombed now. Today. All sponsors like us are receiving frightened messages several times daily from our potential wards, creating stress and trauma in our own community, too.
“This hollow ‘process’ has set British families up to take responsibility for an extraordinary amount of negotiation, paperwork and counsel, for which in the most part, our only qualification is being compassionate human beings.
“Ours is the only European government to have a series of hurdles in place for refugees fleeing the outrageous assault on Ukraine.
"For their sake, and ours, we must resolve this bizarre insistence on paper-shuffling, and act."