MP urges Government to waive visa rules for Ukrainian refugees
On the floor of the House of Commons this week South Lakes MP Tim Farron pressed ministers to remove requirements for Ukrainians fleeing war to have to apply for a visa in order to seek refuge in the UK.
Speaking during an Urgent Question in Parliament on Ukraine, Tim said: "This may be down to Home Office incompetence, or this may be being done for political reasons, and, if it is, may I tell the Minister that he has misread the country.
"Like other people in this place, I have been overwhelmed by constituents offering their homes and the spaces that they have to refugees from Ukraine.
"The local charity, New Beginnings, which has been operating in Ukraine for many years, is desperate to sponsor people with no family links coming to the UK from Ukraine. When will that New Beginnings charity be able to sponsor Ukrainians to come here? It needs to know that this week."
In response, the Minister for Immigration Kevin Foster said: "I do not want to get into political point-scoring on this particular issue. It is neither seemly nor appropriate to do so. In terms of the routes, as we say, we place our first priority on families and relatives, because we appreciate that the vast majority of relatives will be able to stay with family.
"We are working at pace to set up the humanitarian sponsorship visa, but, obviously, our colleagues in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be leading on operationalising the actual sponsorship element of that to ensure that we can give the warm-hearted welcome that many want to see."