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Peer accuses government of abandoning Ukrainian refugees

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff hits out at Homes for Ukraine scheme after it took six weeks for a family to arrive at her home in Cardiff

A CROSS-PARTY peer has accused the government of abandoning Ukrainian refugees after it took six weeks for a family she is sponsoring to arrive in Britain. 

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff applied to host the family at her home in Cardiff under the Homes for Ukraine scheme as soon as it launched on March 18. 

But the Ukrainian mother and daughter only arrived last Friday. The peer today urged the government to start to question: “What is happening to those who we are abandoning?

“What is happening to those that we are leaving, just dangling in uncertainty?” she asked. 

“It’s not like booking to go on a holiday where you can wait another week or another two weeks. If you wait a day, you may be in the places hit by a bomb. Every day, every minute, your life is at risk.

“Contrast that with our slow bureaucratic processes — it is six weeks since the scheme opened.

“Six weeks can feel like an eternity when you don’t know what’s happening.”

The cross-party peer said that bureaucracy in the Ukraine visa schemes was becoming an unacceptable excuse.

“I have heard of people who gave up waiting for a visa and permission to travel,” she said.

About 37,400 people had arrived in Britain under visa schemes as of Tuesday, according to government figures published on Friday: about a third of the people who have applied for visas. 

A government spokesperson said: “We are processing thousands of visas a day — this shows the changes we made to streamline the service are working, and we’ll continue to build on this success so we can speed up the process even further.”

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