Tory Minister Priti Patel said she apologises “with frustration” over the time it is taking for Ukrainian refugees to arrive in the UK under visa schemes.
Home Office figures revealed around 12,000 people had arrived in the UK under Ukraine visa schemes as of Tuesday although nearly 80,000 had applied under the various schemes on offer.
Labour said the figures were “shameful” and called for Patel to unblock the delays that are leaving 30,000 Ukrainians who have UK sponsors “in limbo”.
However, the Home Secretary denied that visa requirements and checks are slowing the process and causing delays.
In a pre-recorded interview with the BBC she said: “We are an independent third country and we want to give people the status and security of coming to our country along with the warm welcome.
“Yes, we want to welcome people, we are welcoming people – over 40,000 visas being granted, over 10,000 people over a space of five weeks coming to the United Kingdom.”
She added: “We have to ensure that they are protected and safeguarded in the United Kingdom as well.”
The figures show that some 10,800 people had arrived under the Ukraine family scheme and 1,200 under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, provisional data published on the department’s website shows.
About 79,800 applications have been received for both schemes and 40,900 visas had been granted, as of Thursday.
There were 43,600 applications for the sponsorship scheme and 12,500 visas have been issued.
Out of 36,300 applications for family visas, 28,500 have been granted.
Labour Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the figures were ” a total disgrace”.
She tweeted: “Over 30,000 Ukrainians with British sponsors still stuck in visa limbo, around half of them waiting more than ten days.”
“This is a total disgrace. Where is the Home Secretary? She needs to account for these scandalous and shameful delays that are letting everyone down.”
But in her interview Patel insisted that there were no delays, only processing.
Patel said: “They’re not seeing delays, we are processing, and as I’ve said as well I’m streamlining processes, I streamlined the family scheme in less than a week, and we simplified that and we changed the way certain checks are done.”
Asked why Britain is playing “catch-up” with other countries, she said comparisons with EU members are not “like for like”.
She added that the UK will “absolutely see changes in numbers” going forward.
To sign up to the Daily Record Politics newsletter, click here.
Follow News Everything for News Today, Breaking News, Latest News, World News, Breaking News Headlines, National News, Today's News
#Ukraine #Priti #Patel #figures #show #refugees #arrived