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Former cabinet minister Robert Jenrick welcomes Ukraine refugee family – but criticises red tape

Former cabinet minister Robert Jenrick has develop into the primary MP to absorb a Ukrainian refugee family beneath a brand new authorities scheme — but criticised the “bureaucracy” concerned.

The former housing secretary and Conservative MP, who lost his authorities position finally year’s autumn reshuffle, welcomed Maria, 40, and her two youngsters, at Stansted airport earlier this week.

The setting minister, Victoria Prentis, took in a 25-year-old Ukrainian refugee two weeks in the past, but beneath an present visa scheme — quite than the newly established Homes for Ukraine.

The sponsorship programme was established final month amid controversy over the federal government’s preliminary coverage in direction of Ukrainian’s fleeing the Russian invasion, which is now in its seventh week.

The scheme permits people within the UK to sponsor Ukrainian households, together with these with no family hyperlinks to Britain, to reside of their properties for a interval of no less than six months.

But it has confronted intense criticism, and earlier this month the refugee minister Richard Harrington admitted throughout a reside radio intervew it was “embarrassing”, with the scheme “taking so long”.

According to the newest figures 16,400 folks have arrived within the UK beneath all visa schemes, but simply 3,200 beneath the Home for Ukraine programme, with lower than half (45.1 per cent) of visa functions made beneath this programme granted.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph’s Chopper’s political podcast, Mr Jenrick mentioned: “I do think the process has been overly bureaucratic and I think the Home Office often falls into this trap.

“There were simple things that we could and should have done from the outset, like having the form in Ukrainian, for example.

“And I’m not sure whether you need to be doing checks on minors who who are extremely unlikely to be a threat to this country”.

This map reveals the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

(Press Association Images)

Mr Jenrick, who lives along with his spouse and three daughters, additionally described the expertise as “quite emotional”, as Maria arrived within the UK together with her two youngsters, Christina, 11, and Boden, 15.

He added: “It has been a very difficult experience for them. Even the experience of coming here was traumatic.

“They spent seven hours queuing at the Polish border before they were able to finally leave Ukraine, catch the flight to the UK, and the experiences which they’ve had and their relatives have had in different parts of the country over the last two or three months are really harrowing.”

On the process, he said: “Truth be told it has been a bumpy start to the scheme. It’s taken too long to get visas, for us it took about three weeks to get all three visas approved.

“And so there are people who are frustrated, it has tested the patience of sponsors and, more importantly, of the families and individuals themselves.

“But having been involved in some schemes that are not dissimilar to this in the past, like the Hong Kong scheme, Syrian scheme, Afghan scheme as a minister, as communities secretary, I know that. But I do think that we will get over those bumps, we are getting over them now.”

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has previously revealed he was in discussions to take in a family-of-three fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine under the same scheme.

But just two weeks he said he was still struggling to get the three-generation from Kyiv to the UK, saying: “I just want to get the family over here, you know, and feel that they’re safe and living with us”.

The Independent has a proud historical past of campaigning for the rights of probably the most weak, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome marketing campaign throughout the warfare in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our marketing campaign and launch this petition within the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian disaster, we’re calling on the federal government to go additional and sooner to make sure assistance is delivered. To discover out extra about our Refugees Welcome marketing campaign, click on right here. To signal the petition click here. If you wish to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe web page.

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