Constituents continue to raise cases with me of Ukrainians who they are sponsoring under the Homes for Ukraine scheme facing long delays to their visas, keeping them in limbo and from refuge in our city.
I challenged the Government on this in the House of Commons, explaining that despite the generosity across Sheffield, people are facing enormous frustration at the inability of the Home Office to deliver visas within the timeframe that we would expect.
I explained that “At the beginning of April, when Lord Harrington took responsibility for the scheme, he set a public target of 48 hours from when people “download the application form” to when they are given permission to travel. I have constituency cases in which families who applied on 26 March still do not have permission to travel two months later.”
People have told me that they are now applying a second time, particularly when children are involved, because they face such long delays and they have no faith that their original application is still being worked on.
I asked for reassurances from the Minister that Government will act to meet the obligations we took on, and the ambition that we set, when we launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme. In response, he agreed that “there are issues, relating to children in particular” and that the Home Office will address them.
I will continue to hold the Government to account over their handling of the scheme and ensure that Ukrainian refugees can be welcomed to Sheffield as quickly as possible – not held back by Home Office incompetence and bureaucracy.
You can read the exchange here.