UK approves less than 10% of Homes for Ukraine applications as 2,700 visas granted

30 March 2022, 11:08 | Updated: 30 March 2022, 11:14

UK grants 2,700 refugees visas under Homes for Ukraine scheme
UK grants 2,700 refugees visas under Homes for Ukraine scheme. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The UK Government has approved less than 10 per cent of visa applications made under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme so far.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The latest figures released by the Home Office today show there have been 28,300 visa applications received under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and a further 31,200 under the Ukraine Family Scheme as of March 29.

According to official figures, the total number of visas issued is at 25,500 - including 2,700 under the sponsorship scheme and 22,800 under the family scheme.

Families minister Will Quince admitted the number was "relatively low" but said the Government is working to process further applications.

More than 150,000 British families are believed to have registered their interest in housing desperate Ukrainians but less than 10 per cent of applications have been approved.

Read more: Concert for Ukraine: Ed Sheeran and Camila Cabello help raise £12m

Read more: Mystery Russian's £38m superyacht with 'infinite wine cellar' seized in Canary Wharf

Refugees waiting in queue for UK visa centre surprised at number of visas given

The latest figures come after the UN refugee agency said more than four million people have now fled Ukraine following Russia's invasion, a new milestone in the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

The UN High Commissioner posted on a website that tracks refugee flows around the world to say 4.01 million have now left Ukraine.

Of those, 2.3 million have entered Poland.

Aid workers say the flow has eased in recent days as many people await developments in the war, which started when Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24.

A further estimated 6.5 million people have been displaced from their homes within the country.

Read more: Western sanctions have left no food on Russia's shelves, anti-Putin dissident reveals

Read more: Captured Ukraine 'hero' who said 'Russian warship go f*** yourself' is freed

Home Secretary's new online visa application system for Ukrainian refugees.

Independent crossbencher Baroness Finlay of LLandaff, hit out at the Government's "lack of information" around the scheme.

Adding: "We have an ethical obligation of non-abandonment having given a commitment to stand with Ukraine and to offer sanctuary.

"Does the Government recognise that the visa process is causing great distress to already traumatised Ukrainians who have experienced cumulative losses, pervasive existential terror and mass bereavements, and are now increasingly at risk?"

One refugee and British volunteer told LBC that UK's Homes for Ukraine scheme was an "embarrassing publicity stunt" after they were forced to spend hours filling in forms with information they "just don't have" after fleeing a war torn country.

Volunteer Brit Flo, from Gloucester, who has been helping refugee Sergei to fill in forms, described the new scheme as "bureaucratic, laborious and finickity" after slamming the UK for their lack of presence at the border.

Flo's parents are hoping to sponsor Ukrainian refugee Sergei but despite being in close contact with the UK sponsor, they spent over five hours filling in forms and had to pay to get documents translated into English.

Speaking to LBC Flo said: "So we’ve been here for five hours. These people are traumatised, Segei comes from Kyiv, which is being heavily bombed.

"And the last thing they need right now is like a heavily bureaucratic, laborious, finickity process like the one that we're having to go through right now.

Explaining the process Flo said the UK government wanted documents scanned and sent over including passports, bank statements and even mortgage statements, something which refugee's may not have thought to bring when fleeing Russian bombardment.

The process includes having to pay to get the important Ukrainian documents translated into English after spending time scanning them into a specialised website.

Read more: Russia's promise to wind down assaults on Kyiv could be 'deception', US warns

Read more: Russia says it will cut back operations near Ukrainian capital

Refugee Action: System for Ukrainian refugees 'really disappointing'

Flo continued: "It's too big a stretch really to ask someone who's had to flee their town, 'oh actually, we want all of your mortgage documents and all of your paperwork and we actually now want it in English rather than Ukrainian'.

"All the other countries here are just sending hundreds of people off every few hours on the buses. And we're just literally sat here and it's taking one day to even go halfway through with Sergei."

Speaking about his frustration with the scheme Sergei told LBC he worries about families filling in the form when the refugee centre has a turn around of just 15 hours.

"If you have let’s say a wife, husband, two kids, you [would] have to spend a couple days I think to fill all these forms, one by one," he said.

Expressing her frustration at the Government scheme, Flo continued: "It almost just feels like some sort of publicity stunt that they've said this.

"It even says on the website, the UK is known as the most one of the most open, welcoming countries.

"And there’s literally no one here, like unless they’re hiding in an office and they haven't come out for a week, we've been walking up and down these corridors all week and there's no UK presence here at all.

"And it feels embarrassing right now because people are queuing up over there and going to all the different countries and the UK one is just sat there just kind of just looking around like how are we supposed to how is this pulled this off?"

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Iranian women attend a mourning ceremony for President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran

Mourners begin days of funerals for Iran’s president killed in helicopter crash

The new product launches on 23rd May

Greggs to launch fish finger sandwich in latest addition to menu - see if your local store has them in stock

Anne Robinson has revealed she has 'given away' her £50million fortune to her family to save it from the taxman after she dies

Anne Robinson has 'given away' her £50million fortune to her family to save it from the taxman after she dies

People attend a ceremony to pay tribute to Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi

What next for Iran’s government after death of president in helicopter crash?

Thousands of mourners packed the streets of Tabriz this morning as they mourn President Ebrahim Raisi

Thousands of mourners pack the streets as funeral procession begins for Iran’s President Raisi

Thunderstorms are returning to parts of the UK

Goodbye sunshine as parts of UK set to be battered by thunderstorms as Met Office issues weather warnings

Palestinian gunmen at a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin

Israeli forces kill at least seven Palestinians in West Bank raid

Lord Ken Clarke has 'questions to answer' over Infected Blood Scandal minister tells LBC amid calls to revoke peerage

Lord Ken Clarke has 'questions to answer' over Infected Blood Scandal minister tells LBC amid calls to revoke peerage

Giovanni Pernice has faced further claims of workplace misconduct

Ex-Strictly star Giovanni Pernice faces new allegations as dancer accuses him of ‘doing horrendous things’ to her

Your morning news briefing, Tuesday May 21: Infected Blood, Rwanda, Assange, Weather and more

Your morning news briefing, Tuesday May 21 2024: Infected Blood, Rwanda, Assange, Weather and more

Kate is said to be 'excited' by the development

Princess of Wales ‘excited’ by progress on early years project as Palace issues update on her cancer treatment

A woman in her 50s was pronounced dead at the scene, police confirmed

Woman in her 50s mauled to death by XL Bully dogs as police with riot shields storm London house

Bronx, USA. 05th Oct, 2019. Scarlett Johansson arrives on the red carpet at the 'Marriage Story' premiere at the 57th New York Film Festival on Friday, October 04, 2019 in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

Scarlett Johansson 'shocked' and 'angered' over 'eerily' similar voice used by AI bot

Kaitlin Palmieri lost her husband-to-be the day of their wedding

Woman, 35, whose fiancé died on their wedding day, opens up about discovering he cheated on her


Biden rejects International Criminal Court warrant request for Israeli leaders

More than half of all investigations with a child victim are now being committed by other children.

Concerning rise in children committing serious sexual abuse as ‘normalised’ online behaviour escalates