Yvette Cooper attacks government record on visas for Ukrainians
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As an estimated two million people flee the war in Ukraine, the UK government has been heavily criticised for their handling of the growing refugee crisis.

The government has defended its schemes which differ from the EU's temporary open-door policy in requiring Ukrainians to have family in the UK, but has continued to face journalists' questions about why the UK system is proving difficult to navigate.

Today, a list of the steps that Ukrainians escaping war must go through in order to apply for a UK visa under the government’s Family Visa Scheme has only sparked further outrage.

Published in the Daily Mail and posted online by BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire, the list of requirements include providing documents such as marriage and birth certificates, providing biometrics and translating all documents into English.

The first step says: “Create an online account on the Home Office website and fill in a detailed application form.”

Under the step in which documents are required as evidence, applicants who are unable to provide them must “explain why you are unable to do so”.

The complex steps required of people fleeing war with just their lives and a few of their possessions has been hugely criticised and described as “appalling”.

One person wrote: “I would struggle to do this on a Tuesday let alone while being f**king shelled… and walking hundreds of miles across a war zone.

“@pritipatel you are a ghastly ghoul who we should evict from office as soon as possible.”

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Someone else commented: “I’m reading this and weeping… how have we sunk to this level? Where is the simplest and most basic humanity in our Government?”

Another person pointed out: “Wow even the daily Mail are p**sed off, telling.”

One person replied: “When the families being shelled in Ukraine war zones have no food, water, heat, electricity etc this from the UK Tory Government is nothing short of an obscenity. Not in my name 🇺🇦.”

Home secretary Priti Patel made an announcement today saying the visa process was going to be eased to enable more refugees to seek safety in the UK. The changes won't come into force until next week.

In the announcement made in the Commons, Patel told MPs: “In short, Ukrainians with passports will be able to get permission to come here fully online, from wherever they are, and will be able to give their biometrics once in Britain.

“This will mean that visa application centres across Europe can focus their efforts on helping Ukrainians without passports.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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