*UPDATE 12 April 2022* Homes for Ukraine Scheme
I am aware of a number of Ukrainian citizens who are now based in Horsham and receiving tremendous support from our local communities.
I know from my contact with the Ukrainian Government how appreciative they are for the support we are providing. I hosted my Ukrainian Ministerial opposite number in the U.K. recently and saw how moved he was by the display of support on so many shops and houses for the Ukrainian people. They are very grateful for all the support the U.K. is providing - including to their fellow citizens currently seeking refuge in the U.K.
I am aware of over two dozen ongoing visa applications from constituents. My team and I have been in daily contact with the Home Office. The vast majority, but not all, of applicants are no longer in Ukraine and are now seeking their next move to the UK. My office has been assured that application processing Is happening and I have seen visas being granted. The aspiration is to ensure that visa applications are processed over 48 hours, we are still a long way from meeting that ambition but I sincerely hope the surge in resources will reduce processing times even though there is an on-going increase in applications.
I will continue to make representations on behalf of constituents who are taking part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme. However for understandable reasons the Home Office have asked MPs to be cognisant of the fact they are triaging applications to prioritise the most vulnerable.
How Constituents Can Support the People of Ukraine
We all feel the plight of the people of Ukraine desperately. The idea that a "war of choice", the unprovoked invasion of one country by another could happen in Europe in the 21st century with all the carnage and suffering that unleashes seems unimaginable.
I have twice visited Ukraine on behalf of the Government including attending their National 30th Anniversary celebrations last summer. I was deeply impressed by President Zelensky but also by many of the Ukrainians I met who were so proud of their long history and their independent future. The defiance, courage and patriotism of President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine in the face of the barbarity being thrown against them is inspiring.
The U.K. has done much to support Ukraine - a fact that is deeply recognised in Ukraine itself. We were the first in Europe to warn of an imminent invasion, the first to provide defensive weapons, the first to convene donor conferences to encourage defensive weaponry and humanitarian shipments to Ukraine.
We advocated the central bank and SWIFT sanctions which, operating in lockstep with so many other countries around the world, are having a deep and devastating impact on the Russian economy with analysts predicting a double digit percentage economic contraction as the rouble collapses, the stock market remains suspended and interest rates hit 20 per cent. This and other sanctions will overtime have a significant impact on the Russian war machine which is causing such horror. We have to date sanctioned over 800 individuals and entities including freezing over £250bn of bank assets.
We are the largest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and its neighbours and have at readiness 1,000 troops to support the countries bordering Ukraine in providing humanitarian support as required.
To Make a Financial Donation:
The following charities are organising financial collections for the people of Ukraine:
Ukraine: Emergency Appeal - Donate - Action Against Hunger
DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal | British Red Cross
Support our Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal (careinternational.org.uk)
DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal | International Rescue Committee (rescue-uk.org)
Donate to help children in Ukraine | World Vision UK
Horsham Rotary - https://www.gofundme.com/f/horsham-rotary-raising-funds-for-ukraine-ref…
The Ukrainian Family Scheme allows family members of British nationals, UK settled persons and certain others to come or stay in the UK. Those joining the Scheme will be granted leave for three years and will be able to work and access public funds. The Scheme is also free and does not include any salary or language requirements.
Ukrainians already in the UK can either extend their visa or switch to another immigration route, where eligible, even if their visa does not normally allow them to do so. Guidance on the support available to Ukrainian nationals and their family members can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-family-members-of-british-natio…
The Government has also announced the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. More information about the scheme can be found here: https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/