Welsh Lib Dems call for UK Government to scrap visa requirements for all Ukrainians
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the UK Government to follow the lead of Ireland and waive visa requirements for all Ukrainians and open a resettlement scheme for refugees.
They have also urged the government to immediately axe the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill amid the ongoing Russian Invasion of Ukraine.
In a letter to Home Secretary Minister Priti Patel, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has urged her to drop the “cruel” bill stating that events over the last few days demonstrates its “cruel consequences”.
According to the UN Refugee Agency 368,000 people are reported to have fled the fighting and it is warning the number could rise to four million.
The majority of those who have sought sanctuary so far have escaped to to Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania.
Priti Patel has been responding to attacks from across the political spectrum, claiming that her critics are ‘spreading misinformation during a time of international crisis’.
The current guidance only allows for families of British nationals in Ukraine and Ukrainians already in the UK, offering them temporary visas or temporary extensions to existing visas if they meet the skilled work or study criteria.
Regarding Ukrainian nationals, the UK Government guidance clearly states: “Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine (who aren’t immediate family members of British nationals normally living in Ukraine, or where the British national is living in the UK), are currently unable to make visa applications to visit, work, study or join family in the UK through a VAC in Ukraine.”
Jane Dodds MS said: “The UK Government must immediately axe the cruel Nationality and Borders Bill. These last few days have shown us the dangerous consequences this Bill will have.
“It is horrifying that the UK Home Office has stopped issuing visas to Ukrainian nationals in the midst of Russia’s invasion. Without the correct documentation, Ukrainians fleeing the conflict and looking to reach the United Kingdom will be refused entry to flights, trains or ferries that will take them there.
“The UK Government must immediately follow the lead of Ireland and other nations and remove ALL initial visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals.
“The Nationality and Borders bill would criminalise Ukrainian nationals for attempting to reach the UK without gaining a visa beforehand. This is inhumane and morally unjustifiable.
“British and Welsh people are welcoming; they want to do their bit to help Ukrainian’s fleeing the conflict. Polling this week shows us almost two thirds of British people want the Government to resettle Ukrainian refugees, despite the UK Conservative Government’s initial refusal to do so.
“Priti Patel urgently needs to pull the Nationality and Borders Bill from the legislative process. Recent days have highlighted its cruel nature and utterly inhuman and impractical consequences.”
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