The British government has confirmed that there will be no limit on the number of Ukrainian refugees who can live with host families under a new visa scheme.
The government, which had previously opened up a pathway for up to 200,000 Ukrainians to come to the UK under family sponsorship visa regulations, announced on Monday that there will be no cap on the number of refugees who can live with a sponsor in the country.
Confirming that there will be “no cap”, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC Breakfast programme: “I’m pleased that we’re doing this because as a country we have a very proud record of offering sanctuary to people from wars and from conflicts.”
The Health Secretary said that upon arrival refugees will be able to stay in the country for “at least three years” and will have access to government funding, such as the National Health Service and other public welfare programmes. Their children will also be eligible to attend publicly funded schools.
Under the new refugee scheme, British citizens and possibly charities will be to nominate individuals or families to stay in their homes or another property for at least six months rent-free. Those who opt to house refugees will be provided with a monthly “thank you” stipend of £350 from the government. The taxpayer will also be on the hook for spending out £10,500 in extra funding to local authorities per refugee.
Commenting to Breitbart London, the chairman of Migration Watch UK, Alp Mehmet said in response to the scheme: “What has been announced thus far does not inspire confidence. I would like to know more before I feel confident that it will work… It came over as half-baked and likely to create more problems than it solves.”
Britain is to revise its visa rules for Ukrainian citizens, allowing up to 200,000 to settle in the country so long as they already have family within the UK. https://t.co/JyWenpJqyh
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) March 2, 2022
The decision to allow limitless waves of refugees from Ukraine to Britain comes amid weeks of criticism and pressure from the mainstream media and politicians, including from the Conservative Party, on the government to take in more refugees.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey even called for Home Secretary Priti Patel to be fired from her government post for allegedly failing to help refugees, saying: “The incompetence, indifference and sheer inhumanity we have seen from the home secretary does not befit our United Kingdom, with its proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need.”
However, Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, who is the only serving member of the House of Commons to have been born in Eastern Europe, has said that the demands from “British left-wing parties demand Britain takes in more Ukrainian refugees,” is “illiterate and immoral”.
“When war is over Ukrainians will need to return home to rebuild their country,” the Polish-born MP wrote in a now-deleted post on social media.
“We should be supporting Ukrainian refugees in frontline states like Poland and Romania,” Kawczynski added.
Migration Watch UK has welcomed the government’s efforts to help those fleeing from the war in Ukraine but stressed that it is “right to be cautious”, given the enormous strain on the UK’s asylum system, which has been overwhelmed by record waves of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel from France.
Yet, the mass migration sceptical think tank said that the government should “institute a generous yet numerically and time-limited refugee resettlement scheme similar to those previously put in place for Afghanistan and Syria” for those “genuine refugees” fleeing from Ukraine.
Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet said: “It’s good that the government seems finally to be getting its act together with helping those fleeing Putin’s barbaric onslaught. If there was ever a time when our system of refugee protection needed to be working properly, this is it. The fact that asylum abuse is rife, taking up resources that could be used for those in genuine need, is utterly outrageous.”
Anti-Illegal Immigration Poland Takes In over 100,000 Ukrainians as Genuine Refugeeshttps://t.co/9g3nImZJot
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 26, 2022
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka