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Only 270 visas granted to Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Scotland despite thousands offering to house them

ONLY 270 visas have so far been granted to refugees fleeing to Scotland from Ukraine, it has been revealed, despite thousands of Scots offering to open their homes to those fleeing the Russian invasion.

Gary Gray, who runs the volunteer organisation scotshosts.org, which is working with 800 families across Scotland who have registered to host refugees, said today that so far only a “paltry 270 visas have been granted.”

Those who have volunteered to take in refugees are being left to deal with the “heartbreaking task” of telling them they cannot travel to Scotland, he added.

Mr Gray said there was frustration at the length of time it was taking for the paperwork to be carried out, telling BBC Radio Scotland that his organisation was “calling on the UK government to remove the requirement for visas from families who are fleeing a war zone.

“The hardest part of this is telling the families in Ukraine ‘I’m sorry, the visa still hasn’t been approved because of bureaucracy’,” Mr Gray added.

His comments come after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon rebuked the Westminster government, saying: “It is essential that the UK government addresses these lengthy delays to provide rapid support to those in need.”

The Scottish government has applied to be a so-called super sponsor of Ukrainian refugees, and has vowed to provide people fleeing the war with temporary accommodation until a longer-term place can be found.

A spokesman for the British government said: “We are moving as quickly as possible to ensure that those fleeing Ukraine can find safety in the UK through the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine.”

Since the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme launched on March 14, a total of 4,700 visas — less than 15 per cent of applications — have been issued.

The UN refugee agency said more than four million refugees have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion.

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