UK guarded on refugee inflow from Ukraine

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He said Britain wanted to go further on sanctions both at home and also by encouraging international allies to do more…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected calls on Monday for Britain to ease visa-demands on Ukrainian refugees fleeing conflict, saying Britain was a generous country but it needed to maintain checks on who was arriving.

“We are a very, very generous country. What we want though is control and we want to be able to check,” he told reporters.

“I think it’s sensible given what’s going on in Ukraine to make sure that we have some basic ability to check who is coming in. What we won’t do is have a system where people can come into the UK without any checks or any controls at all – I don’t think that is the right approach – but what we will do is have a system that is very, very generous. As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates people are going to want to see this country open our arms to people fleeing persecution, fleeing a war zone.”

Johnson also said he would be speaking with U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders later on Monday. He was speaking during a visit to a British military base with Canadian leader Justin Trudeau and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

He said Britain wanted to go further on sanctions both at home and also by encouraging international allies to do more.

“I think we’ve got to recognize that we’ve got to do more on sanctions and there is more we can do, and more that I think we should do. So, on SWIFT, there’s more that the world can do, on banking, there’s more than the world can do.”

Meanwhile, the European Union has agreed to grant temporary residency to Ukrainians fleeing the invasion and give them access to employment, social welfare and housing for up to three years.

Britain has announced visa schemes for those who have family in the country or a willing sponsor. Media reports at the weekend said Britain had only issued about 50 visas for Ukrainians so far, although Johnson disputed that figure.

The interior ministry later said that 300 visas had been issued under the scheme, and it was increasing staff to meet demand for appointments.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said: “There should be a simple route to sanctuary for those that are fleeing for their lives.”

“The Home office is in a complete mess about this, they keep changing the rules,” he told the BBC.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Britain was not doing nearly enough. It should let refugees in and deal with the paperwork later, she said.

“Having fleeing the terror in Ukraine, spending hours and hours and hours on arduous journeys, then having to jump through bureaucratic hoops is unconscionable,” she told LBC radio.

Interior minister Priti Patel told the Sun newspaper she wanted to create a humanitarian route that would allow anyone from Ukraine to come to Britain. But Europe minister James Cleverly said he did not expect the existing requirements to change.

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