Minister for Refugees from Ukraine Neil Gray today met with the UK Minister of State for Refugees Lord Harrington and the UK Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster.
The Minister again urged the UK Government to waive the need for visas for those displaced by the war in Ukraine, and said there was an urgent need for an agreement to be reached on a coordinated approach on issues of child welfare and unaccompanied children.
Mr Gray said:
“Whilst welcoming the opportunity to discuss these matters, we continue to urge the UK Government to reconsider its position on the current complex visa system.
“The UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine and Family Scheme are characterised by significant administrative issues, complicated application processes, and unacceptable delays.
“In particular, today I proposed that the UK Government follow Scotland’s lead and establish itself as a ‘super sponsor’ with a government-led matching service to help provide a safe and secure service for those seeking sanctuary, and reduce concerns surrounding safeguarding.
“We are increasingly concerned about the potential safeguarding problems that informal matching creates, and much of that risk can be removed by a super sponsor scheme.
“This is particularly important, because, to its shame, the UK is now the only major European country that does not have a safe and legal route for unaccompanied Ukrainian children without a familial connection.
“This is an untenable position and one which exposes highly vulnerable children to preventable harm.
“We urgently need a coordinated approach across the UK on issues of child welfare and unaccompanied children and I have called for an urgent four nations meeting to discuss an agreed position so we can fully support unaccompanied displaced children.
“The Scottish Government is itself in discussion with the Ukrainian authorities about what additional help can be offered to support vulnerable children fleeing the conflict.”