Michael Gove met members of a Ukrainian group group in Edinburgh to debate his Homes for Ukraine scheme.
The scheme, designed to permit Ukrainians with no household hyperlinks to come back to Britain and be hosted by members of the general public, who will probably be paid £350 per thirty days for doing so, has come underneath fireplace because it launched greater than two weeks in the past for not issuing sufficient visas.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has additionally warned of the hazard of scheme turning into “Tinder for sex traffickers”.
But the Secretary of State for Housing and Communities stated he mentioned with members of the Edinburgh Ukrainian Club the best way to make the scheme “even better”.
Speaking exterior the membership on Wednesday, Mr Gove stated: “I have just been talking to some wonderful representatives of the Ukrainian community here in Scotland and we have been discussing how we can make sure the Homes for Ukraine scheme works even better.
“There’s been an amazing outpouring of generosity on behalf of people in Scotland and across the UK, and this UK-wide scheme is designed to ensure that the generosity and the good-heartedness of the British people is matched with the need of so many in Ukraine and so many in the countries adjacent to Ukraine, to provide people with a safe secure home.”
Earlier, the Home Office stated simply 2,700 visas have been granted to individuals wanting to come back to the UK underneath the Homes for Ukraine scheme, regardless of functions reaching 28,300.
SNP MP Stuart McDonald stated the visa figures are “desperately poor” and “highlight the UK Government’s disappointing response to the refugee crisis unfolding in Ukraine”.
He added: “These figures must be a wake-up call for the UK Government, and they must now heed the calls and waive requirements for Ukrainians to apply for visas in advance of their arrival in the UK, so as to facilitate speedy access to international protection and ensure people can find safety and be able to rebuild their lives.”
Many Ukrainians have been “advertising” themselves on social media in a bid to seek out hosts underneath the Homes for Ukraine scheme, prompting issues that the programme might expose susceptible individuals to abuse.
Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, a refugee homelessness charity, stated the credibility of the Homes for Ukraine scheme is “steadily crumbling” and warned of Ukrainian ladies, youngsters and younger individuals changing into prime targets on social media for legal individuals traffickers.
“The scheme must be stopped in its tracks and sponsorship requirements lifted to avoid endangering the lives of Ukrainian women and children,” she stated.
“Twelve miles across the water, Ireland is working with NGOs, bringing in up to 200,000 people.
“Yet here we have a humanitarian tragedy unfolding and this government has granted visas to only 2,700 people. Women are hiding in basements with children and asking us if the UK will take them in.”
She added: “This government has made a complete mockery of the refugee convention. The sincere and genuine goodwill of British people is being poured down the drain.
“It was a deliberate ploy to divert goodwill down a dead end, a ruse to make people think they are helping. We are disgusted and ashamed.”
There are two UK schemes for Ukrainian refugees: the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, for which anyone with house to accommodate a refugee can apply; and the Ukraine household scheme, for many who have already got relations within the UK.
Some 21,000 visas had been issued underneath the Ukraine household scheme as of Friday, and a complete of 36,300 functions had been submitted, in response to provisional information printed on the Home Office’s web site.
The UN refugee company stated 4 million individuals have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its warfare on February 24.