Johnson announced the news today
After widespread criticism surrounding the UK’s slow response to the Ukraine refugee crisis unfolding in the wake of the Russian invasion, the Prime Minister announced plans for Britons to be able to offer their homes as accommodation.
Speaking to Sky News today, Johnson outlined the new “generous” visa scheme for those escaping the war-torn country. Under this new scheme members of the public, businesses and community centres will be able to offer rooms and housing for those fleeing the conflict and seeking refuge in the UK.
He went on to say:
“On Monday, you’ll get from the levelling up secretary, you’ll get the programme that will allow people to come in, so (if) people want to welcome (refugees) into their own homes, they can do so.”
The Prime Minister addressed accusations that the UK’s response to the refugee crisis has been substandard in comparison to it’s European counterparts. Defending the UK’s current convoluted visa stance that has seen the Home Office taking in only about 1000 refugees so far, he said: “People want us to be generous but also careful.”
This is in stark contrast with the European Union, which waived visa restrictions for all refugees fleeing Ukraine for up to three years. Johnson’s calls for caution echo Home Secretary Priti Patel’s words yesterday, when speaking to the House of Commons to announce a new digital visa application function, she stated that there were a “small number of people with evil intentions (who) can wreak havoc on our streets”. Citing the 2018 Salisbury poisonings as evidence for a need for caution.
As Russian troops advanced on the capital city Kyiv today, the United Nations announced more than 1.5 million refugees had already sought shelter in neighbouring Poland.
Johnson doubled down on the need for rigorous checks, including collecting biometric data and checking fingerprints, saying that these measures were a “light touch” and “sensible given the attitudes of the Putin regime toward the UK.”
After being challenged about the small number of refugees, who have so far been granted refuge in the UK he said this number (1000) is set to “rise very sharply”.
Despite the Prime Minister’s continuing protestations, the British Red Cross have continued to urge the government that we should drop visa requirements altogether, particularly for children.