Less than one tenth of visa applications have been approved through the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, it has been revealed.
The Home Office said it is “moving as quickly as possible” to make the process more efficient, as the UK handed out just 2,700 passes through its initiative, according to The Times.
The programme pairs Ukrainian refugees fleeing the invasion by Russia, to Brits who are able to host them, and has so far received 28,000 applications.
It has been much less successful than the UK Family Scheme, which has included almost 23,000 visas being given out, with 8,400 in the process of being looked at. That links refugees to family members already in the UK.
This comes after prime minister Boris Johnson said that the tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees set to come to the UK will help ease the country’s labour shortages.
With a target of processing 15,000 visas a week, Refugees Minister Lord Harrington praised the UK public’s response as “incredible, opening their hearts and homes.”
He told City A.M: “We are starting to see progress because of changes the Home Office made to streamline the visa process and put additional resources into the system. However, we need to do more and will be making further improvements to bring people to the UK as quickly as possible.”
A spokesperson for the Home Office, which says the two initiatives are some the fastest and biggest visa programmes in UK history, and that it was “moving as quickly as possible” to ensure both work better.
It added the process had been straightened out “so valid passport holders do not have to attend in-person appointments before arriving in the UK, simplified our forms and boosted caseworker numbers, while ensuring vital security checks are carried out.
“We continue to speed up visa processing across both schemes, with 25,500 visa issued in the last three weeks alone and thousands more expected to come through these uncapped routes.”
The slow-going in the Homes for Ukraine’ scheme has led to 144 Ukrainian households reporting themselves as homeless, including 36 as a result of the scheme.