Over 150 visas approved for Ukrainian refugees in Glasgow – with thousands more sponsored by Scottish Government

Over 150 visas have been approved for Ukrainian refugees to stay with nominated households in Glasgow, according to new figures.

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But this may not reflect the true number of Ukrainians heading to the area, with thousands of the visas granted across the country sponsored by the Scottish Government, in a pledge to support refugees more quickly.

The Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, also known as Homes for Ukraine, allows citizens to volunteer to house refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

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The UK government has come under fire for not granting visas fast enough, leaving Ukrainian families and sponsors in limbo.

Sponsors agree to offer accommodation for at least six months, with those receiving sponsorship allowed to live, work and study in the UK for up to three years.

Home Office data shows as of Tuesday (April 26), the number of visas issued for sponsors based in Glasgow stood at 152 – up from 32 as of April 6, when local figures on the scheme were first published.

Local authority figures cover refugees who have already been linked with a named sponsor prior to their arrival.

But around 3,000 of the 5,200 visas issued in Scotland fall under the Scottish Government’s “super sponsorship” scheme, where applicants do not have to be matched with a named sponsor at the point of application.

It means local figures are likely to be an underestimate, as refugees arriving in the country under this scheme will be linked with sponsors over time.

Across the UK as a whole, 51,300 visas had been issued by April 27, equating to around 69% of the 74,700 applications made to that date.

The proportion of people waiting has dropped since April 7, when just 12,500 applications had been issued from 43,600 applications.

But the number of Ukrainians that have come to the UK through the scheme remains low, with the latest national figures showing just 11,100 had arrived by April 25.

Some warn that delays in processing are impacting the number of refugees able to arrive in the UK, with reports of families unable to travel due to individual members not having visas granted.

Stephen Kinnock, shadow minister for immigration, said it was “truly inspiring” to see so many British households open their doors to fleeing refugees.

But he also criticised the UK Government’s handling of the scheme, saying issues with processing visas had created a “bureaucratic nightmare.”

Refugees have also been arriving through the Ukraine Family Scheme, which allows Ukrainian nationals to join family members in the UK.

As of April 27, 34,900 visas have been provided under the scheme nationally, of which 16,000 people had arrived by April 25.

Local data on this scheme has not yet been made available.

A spokesperson for the UK Government said: “The changes the Home Office has made to streamline the visa system, including simplifying the forms and boosting staff numbers, are working and we are now processing visas as quickly as they come in – enabling thousands more Ukrainians to come through our uncapped routes.”