Open letter to Newcastle MP’s on arrangements for Ukraine refugees

We have recently written to Newcastle MP’s expressing our concern about the visa and other arrangements which have been made by the UK government for Ukrainian refugees, the text of our letter is below:

As Christian communities in Newcastle we are extremely concerned about the current delays being experienced by Ukrainian refugees seeking safe refuge in UK. This is despite a huge response by UK public to sponsor individuals and families to enter UK as part of the Government’s ‘Home for Ukraine’ scheme announced in Parliament on 14 March 2022. 

The announcement coincided with the debate on the public petition to waive visa requirement for Ukrainian refugees, for which a formal government response is still awaited.  This petition was signed by over 187,000 UK citizens, yet the process of linking sponsors with potential refugees is still cumbersome and subject to lengthy delays.  In the period between 18 and 31 March it is reported that only 2,700 application have been approved out of over 28,000 applications and a list of over 150,000 potential sponsors.

For women and children who have been forced to leave their husbands, seen their homes destroyed and travelled many thousands of miles with little except the clothes on their backs, this delay in totally unacceptable.  Many have already been travelling for several days before reaching any temporary refuge.  The uncertainty of where they can find a safe and secure sanctuary adds an unnecessary torment to what is an already unbearable situation.

People in Newcastle, the North East and the whole of the UK are willing and eager to provide genuine help and support to those in need.  Please can you press this government to allow this to happen as quickly as possible.  Surely Visa formalities can be competed once these refugees are in UK under the care of their sponsor.

The British people are prepared to show Christian compassion, why cannot the government?