Welsh Government extends suspension of super-sponsor scheme for people fleeing conflict in Ukraine
Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt has confirmed the Welsh Government is extending the pause of its super-sponsor scheme for people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
The government initially paused the programme on 10 June and said it would review it at the end of the month.
The super-sponsor route was launched in March as part of the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme and so far has resulted in more than 4,000 visas being issued to Ukrainian refugees – four times initial estimates.
Last week First Minister Mark Drakeford told the Senedd the scheme will not resume until people can leave welcome centres for homes.
His comments came after Jane Hutt revealed that Wales’ five welcome centres were all full.
In a written statement explaining the decision to continue to pause the programme, she said that the government has a duty to “ensure each person receives good quality accommodation and support as they arrive in Wales so they can integrate with local communities during their time here.”
“Applications already made continue to be processed and, once visas are confirmed, anyone who has received one is able to come to Wales, “she added.
“We are working very hard with local government colleagues to accommodate and support people from Ukraine as they arrive in Wales.
“Together we are setting up and opening new welcome centres and providing support at other accommodation being used to accommodate the many people arriving from Ukraine every week.
“We have now opened a sixth welcome centre and we are accommodating people in hotels and other types of accommodation across Wales; additional welcome centres will be opening during July.”
Ms Hutt says the pause of new super-sponsor applications will remain in place while the government continues to work with partners to help people from Ukraine transition into longer-term accommodation in communities across Wales.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies described the suspension of the programme as the government “backtracking” on its promise to provide shelter to Ukrainians and urged them to continue the scheme last week.
Mr Davies said: “With the situation in parts of Ukraine continuing to deteriorate, it is of the utmost importance that this scheme continues.
“No matter how they spin it, this is a failure.
“The scheme was introduced with much fanfare in April, and it’s only taken eight weeks for Labour ministers to backtrack.
“Ukrainian refugees need support, and Welsh Conservatives want to see the scheme back up and running.”
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