IPPR think tank refugee expert reacts to announcement that Ukrainian refugees will be able to apply online for UK visas
Marley Morris, IPPR associate director for migration, trade and communities, said:
War and conflict do not typically create the conditions for submitting fingerprints and photographs, so we welcome the Home Office's announcement simplifying the visa process for Ukrainians by allowing completely online applications.
"However, there are still major gaps in the UK's support for Ukrainian refugees. Currently, there are no available humanitarian routes for Ukrainians without family members in the UK. The humanitarian sponsorship scheme has not yet been set up and, based on the current scale and resourcing of community sponsorship in the UK, it will be wholly inadequate for meeting the needs of Ukrainians.
The government should follow the lead of Canada and the EU by offering temporary protection to all Ukrainians who want to apply. At the same time, it should urgently investigate how to further streamline the visa process, or simply lift visa requirements altogether.
This crisis has exposed the broader weaknesses in the UK's asylum and refugee system. Our response has been sluggish and bureaucratic compared to our European neighbours. Asylum wait times have risen considerably in recent years, while resettlement efforts have stalled since the onset of Covid-19.
And the government's proposed Nationality and Borders Bill will penalise asylum seekers who enter the UK via unauthorised means, just at the same time as this crisis highlights the lack of safe and legal routes available to people fleeing conflict and persecution.
Marley Morris, IPPR associate director, and Amreen Qureshi, IPPR researcher, are available for interview
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NOTES TO EDITORS
- IPPR research published earlier this year highlighted that the government's proposals on asylum in the Nationality and Borders Bill will potentially bar refugees from accessing benefits, adding further to the 1.3 million people living in the UK with no access to social security, and so at risk of falling into destitution.
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