UN warns that over half a million people have fled Ukraine since The Russian Invasion.
The SNP has demanded that the UK government follows the lead of the EU by waiving visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.
It comes as the EU confirmed that it would take in Ukrainian refugees for up to three years without asking them to go through the paperwork of applying for asylum first – and regardless of whether or not they have a family connection in any EU member state.
The UK government has so far refused to match those efforts, simply restating that any Ukrainian settled in the UK will be allowed to welcome immediate family members only to join them under existing restrictive family migration rules.
The ramp up in pressure on the UK government comes after the UN confirmed today that more than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country last week.
Recent YouGov polling also revealed that 63% of people in the UK support the UK government introducing a scheme to resettle some Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion – with the figure rising to 76% in support in Scotland.
Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow Home Secretary Stuart McDonald MP (pictured) said:
“With the UN today warning that more than half a million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded last week, it is absolutely vital that the UK government steps up its efforts to support those fleeing the war and seeking safety.
“Our EU partners have already taken the welcome step in lifting visa restrictions, removing the barrier of paperwork, and welcoming them regardless of whether or not they have a family connection in any EU member state.
“In contrast, the UK government’s visa announcement wasn’t anything new at all – it was just a description of the very restrictive family visas that are already in place which falls well short of what is needed now.
“The UK government must immediately follow the lead of the EU and lift its restrictive visa requirements for all Ukrainians seeking entry to the UK, anything less than that would be unacceptable.”