UK trade minister Penny Mordaunt admits Britain must 'do better' to speed up refugee visas for Ukrainians

BRITAIN will do more to fix its ‘clunky’ system for Ukrainian fleeing war, a government minster tonight insisted as it was revealed only 50 refugee visa applications had been approved.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 7th March 2022, 6:40 pm

The handful of applications – about one per cent of the 5,535 received by the government – is for a scheme designed to help refugees with family links to the UK.

But the Home Office has come under fire for its sluggish response to the crisis, which has already seen 1.7m Ukrainians flee their country since Russia invaded last month.

Now trade minister Penny Mordaunt has said Whitehall will do more to improve the system as she admitted there had been logistical ‘difficulties’ in approving visas so far.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Penny Mordaunt MP: Statement

Speaking to The News today, the Portsmouth North MP said: ‘Even in the best of times, trying to get people a visa is clunky. We’ve got to do better with making sure that that is speeded up.’

Read More

Read More
Royal Navy's biggest warship HMS Prince of Wales leads a major Nato task force t...

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko said the UK was at the ‘forefront of the effort’ to support his country but urged for the ‘maximum’ number of people to be admitted into Britain

The diplomat, who last week praised Portsmouth for its role in supporting his under-siege nation, said the visa process could be simplified and that any ‘bureaucratic nonsense’ should be cleared away, although he said it was necessary to continue security checks.

It came as a Fareham woman prepares to travel out to Poland in a bid to rescue her Ukrainian mother, who had been stranded in the eastern city of Kharkiv, which has been under intense Russian attack since the war began.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was ‘doing everything possible’ to speed up efforts to issue the travel permits.

As previously reported, the UK has steadily increased its visa offer to refugees from the Ukraine war, extending it to parents, grandparents and siblings as well as ‘immediate family’ and extending the visas to three years.

But it has faced criticism from other nations for being less generous than those in the European Union.

While France accused the UK of a ‘lack of humanity’ last week, saying that 150 refugees were turned back at Calais for lacking a visa.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, with 70 per cent fewer adverts for less than 20p a day.