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Wales and Scotland want to be ‘super sponsors’ for Ukrainian refugees

13 Mar 2022 4 minute read
Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon. Pictures by Senedd TV / Scottish Parliament TV.

First ministers Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon have said that Wales and Scotland were willing to become “super sponsors” for Ukrainian refugees.

The UK Government is set to launch a scheme where individuals and organisations can sponsor refugees to come into the country, but Welsh and Scottish first ministers have written to the Levelling Up Secretary  Michael Gove saying they wanted to “maximise” their contribution and act as “super sponsors”.

In a letter to Gove, they have also repeated their calls on Westminster to waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals trying to get into the UK.

The governments in Holyrood and Cardiff said super sponsorship would enable Ukrainians to get clearance to enter each country quickly and be housed temporarily while they work with local partners to provide longer term accommodation, safeguarding and access to services.

The Scottish First Minister said: “We are still awaiting full details of the proposed community sponsorship scheme.

“If the UK Government is still unwilling to waive visa requirements, it is essential that this scheme works efficiently and effectively and allows people to come to the UK as quickly as possible.

“However, I am very worried that if people have to be matched with an individual sponsor before even being allowed entry to the UK, it will prove slow and cumbersome.

“That is why the First Minister of Wales and I have made the ‘super sponsor’ proposal. We are proposing that our governments act as initial ‘super sponsors’ to allow large numbers to come to our respective nations quickly.”

Calls for clarity

In the first wave, the first ministers said Scotland would expect to take in 3000 and Wales 1000. Under the plans more would be welcomed in later waves.

In the letter to the Levelling Up Secretary, both first ministers said it was “neither reasonable nor morally acceptable to expect people fleeing war to go through complex bureaucratic processes in order to reach safety within the UK”.

They added: “The UK Government should be following the example of European countries including the Republic of Ireland by waiving all visa requirements for any Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge in the UK, as well as implementing the temporary protection regulations.”

Both Sturgeon and Drakeford also called for clarity on funding arrangements to support local governments and said a per head funding arrangement similar to the Syrian and Afghanistan schemes to support resettlement and integration costs was needed.

“We are absolutely committed to playing our full part in responding to this crisis and are seeking the maximum flexibility to develop clear plans, based on evolving what has worked in the past,” the letter said.

“The Scottish and Welsh Governments, working with local authorities and other partners, are best placed to deliver and to ensure the arrangements put in place are safe, sustainable and offer true sanctuary to those fleeing war.”

Leave to remain

There is no need for the refugees to have family ties to the UK, and the scheme will allow people in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or will allow them to offer a separate property.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said it would also be working to enable communities, the voluntary sector and organisations such as charities and religious groups to sponsor groups of Ukrainians.

Ukrainians who have sponsorship will be granted three years leave to remain in the UK, with entitlement to work and access public services.

Those offering accommodation will be vetted and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks.

Sponsors who provide homes or a spare room rent-free for a minimum stay of six months will receive £350 per month.


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Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
6 months ago

They have to write to Gove to ask permission……….. it says it all

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
6 months ago

They have to write to Gove to ask permission……….. 

______

… which no doubt will be refused.

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
6 months ago

Wales should offer its own programme for refugees and asylum seekers:-).
England like Russia has doctored history to justify its current position
Both Wales and Ukraine share a common bond in contempt for their neighbour

Mark drakeford
Mark drakeford
6 months ago

Do we get 350 per month from welsh govt to house a refugee?

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark drakeford

Are you a Russian troll?

Mark drakeford
Mark drakeford
6 months ago

Are you?

Cynan
Cynan
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark drakeford

Pack it in Paul. Your “spoof” account has no humour in it

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark drakeford

Why is this site allowing a fake internet troll to repeatedly post comments under the name of Wales’ first minister? Youll be aware of a legal responsibility to remove such comments. Why are comments no longer being moderated on this site?

Leigh Richardss
Leigh Richardss
6 months ago

Once again Wales and Scotland are showing Westminster the way forward 😉

Lionel Schwarz
Lionel Schwarz
6 months ago

They aren’t showing the way forward as neither government has any powers, knowledge and experience on this issue. What they are doing in cynically exploiting other peoples’ suffering to paint a false picture of competence. See COVID where now the long term figures are coming in at, all their demonisation of England did nothing to create better death figures. Only two days ago, Nicola Sturgeon was advocating a no fly zone over Ukraine against anything she knows or has competency to deal with. If you look at how refugees were hounded by locals in Penally and how the Poles were… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
6 months ago
Reply to  Lionel Schwarz

If only you were an actual living person – and not a fake internet troll – then i could have the considerable pleasure of dismantling your repeated lies and crude smears against the govt’s of scotland and wales face to face 😉

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
6 months ago

What about being ‘super sponsors’ for refugees from Yemen, who are being bombed by British bombs, dropped from British planes, by British-trained pilots?

Last edited 6 months ago by Glyn Jones
Cynan
Cynan
6 months ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

Your house getting a bit full of Yemenis is it?
Generally I don’t disagree that ALL nations should take in refugees and that the hypocrisy that entry might be governed by where your skin shade sits on the pantone colour card. But unless you are yourself taking in refugees, you might want to dial back on the holier than thou

Cynan
Cynan
6 months ago

TBH even on non-devolved matters, when Westminster fails, Cymru should do what it wants anyway.
Just ignore Westminster. Yes they’ll bluster and threaten and kick up a fuss, but any punitive measures will not be taken laying down by the people of Cymru and will make Westminster look weak.
What they going to do? Invade?

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