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A government minister has admitted that the Homes for Ukraine scheme has had “a bumpy start”.
Robert Jenrick spoke about The Telegraph’s podcast Choppers Politics about his own family’s experience with taking in refugees from Ukraine, and the issues facing the scheme over recent times.
He was speaking after new figures showed earlier this week that less than 3 per cent of Ukrainians who have applied to come to Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme have arrived in the UK since the route opened four weeks ago.
“Truth be told, it has been a bumpy start to the scheme. It has taken too long to get visas,” Jenrick said.
“For us, it took about three weeks to get all three visas approved. There are people who are frustrated. It has tested the patience of sponsors and more importantly the families and individuals themselves.”
Robert Jenrick spoke about the schemeParliament TV
He went on to say: “But having been involved in some schemes that are not too dissimilar to this in the past, like the Hong Kong scheme, the Syrian scheme and the Afghan scheme… I know that. But I do think we will get over those bumps. We are getting over them now. The Home Office do seem to be processing applications much faster.”
Jenrick did, however, say that the scheme will be remembered for its positive impact.
“We will look back on this with pride as a country, because this is a wonderful thing to think that in each one of these cases we’re bringing a family very similar to those of our own out of a very dangerous and distressing situation into our own country.
“From our family’s perspective… it is quite a humbling experience because it’s a constant reminder of how fortunate we are to live in this country and to have the privileges that we do.”
Thousands of Ukrainians have been displaced by the conflictDaniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty
Around 200,000 people in the UK have registered to host Ukrainian refugees under the route. However, complex application forms, difficulty finding matches and lengthy delays are slowing down the process.
The new figures show that 43,600 applications have been made to the Ukraine sponsorship scheme, of which 12,500 have led to visas being issued, while just 1,200 people have arrived in the UK.
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