Bishop of Chelmsford asks about Ukrainian refugees

The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question in a debate about refugee displacement on 28th April 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: As we heard the Minister say, the UN estimates that more than 11 million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes since 24 February, more than 5 million have fled the country and approximately two-thirds of the country’s children are now displaced. We would do well to remember that these are not just numbers; each of them represents a human life. The outpouring of concern from the British public and willingness to host refugees in their homes has been a powerful statement of love amid this extraordinary tragedy. Indeed, many across the diocese of Chelmsford, which I serve, and across the country, have gone to great lengths to welcome refugees with open arms. Can the Minister expand on what is being done to address concerns raised about delays and complications in processing asylum applications through the Homes for Ukraine scheme?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con): I start by echoing very strongly the comments of the right reverend Prelate on the generosity of the British public. We are forging ahead as a Government, doing everything we can to ensure that our doors are open and the country is welcoming to those people fleeing violence in Ukraine as a consequence of the Russian invasion. We have two bespoke humanitarian routes for people in Ukraine. They have been announced and they respond directly to the needs and requests of the Ukrainian Government. There is no limit on the number of people who can come here as of 21 April, and more than 71,000 visas have been issued under both those schemes. The family route has been extended. It is difficult to know the numbers—no one knows them—but an estimated 100,000 Ukrainians may join their family members in the UK. Although there have been delays—there is no point pretending that there have not—it is very much the view of the Home Office and the Foreign Office that the systems are now in place to ensure the smooth functioning of the approach we set out.


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