Homes for Ukraine: the number of visas issued for spare rooms scheme in Birmingham
Birmingham is set to welcome the 15th highest number of refugees from Ukraine in England out of 309 town and city councils
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New figures show how many Ukrainian refugees are heading to spare rooms in each UK town and city.
The UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme has come under fire as latest figures show just 3% of applications made under the scheme have resulted in a refugee arriving in the UK.
As of April 5, 1,200 Ukrainians had arrived in the UK under the sponsorship scheme which allows members of the public to offer up their spare bedrooms or homes to refugees fleeing the war.
The scheme attracted huge interest when it launched almost a month ago but analysis found an average of 67 people have arrived in the country each day from its launch on March 18 to April 5.
New local-level figures published by the Home Office and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities also show wide geographical disparities are beginning to appear in the number of visas being granted.
While some local authorities have had well over one hundred visas granted, some have had just a handful.
Birmingham has 80 visas approved, as of April 8 - the 15th highest number for the 309 town and city councils in the country.
Sandwell has 6 and is ranked 274th highest and Solihull has 26 and is ranked 124th.
At a regional level, the South East has had the greatest number of visas approved, at almost 2,300, while just 190 have been issued in the North East.
How many visas in total have been granted to Ukrainian refugees?
The Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme has received 43,600 applications, of which 29% have been granted a visa.
About 1,200 Ukrainians have so far arrived in the UK, representing 3% of applicants and 10% of those granted a visa.
Refugees can also apply for a UK visa under the Ukraine Family Scheme which aims to reunite families. The scheme has received 36,300 applications, of which almost 80% have received a visa with 10,800 (38%) having so far arrived in the UK.
A total of 12,000 refugees had arrived in the UK under both schemes, as of April 5.
Which areas in the UK have had the greatest number of visas issued?
Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme some local authorities have had more than 100 visas approved while some have had less than five.
How does the UK compare to other countries?
The Ukraine refugee crisis continues to worsen every day.
Figures released daily from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows 4,356,569 people fled the country between 24 February and 7 April.
Poland has accepted more refugees than any other country with over 2.5 million, followed by Romania with over 670,000 and Hungary with over 400,000.
The UK is not included in the United Nations breakdown.
You can find out more about which countries have accepted the most refugees here.
‘Introduce a simplified emergency humanitarian visa process’
Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said the visa scheme is unfit for purpose and urged the Government to urgently review the use of visas.
"It’s clear that the visa schemes which were supposedly designed to ensure the safety of Ukrainians fleeing war and bloodshed are unfit for purpose.
“Asking Ukrainian families, who are scared, exhausted, and traumatised to fill out a long, and complex visa application is unacceptable and totally out of touch with the terrifying situation they find themselves in.
"The British public stepped forward in their tens of thousands to welcome Ukrainians into their homes, yet we are hearing they have been left feeling angry and frustrated that their gesture of support has been lost into a web of bureaucracy and chaos.”
Unlike in other European countries, the UK still requires a visa from Ukrainian refugees to enter the country.
Mr Solomon added: "The Government must urgently review the use of visas and waive them as an immediate short-term measure, as has been done by the EU, and then look to introduce a simplified emergency humanitarian visa process to ensure that we can welcome those families who desperately seek safety in the UK.”
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