Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have said both Scotland and Wales were willing to become “super sponsors” for Ukrainian refugees.
The UK government is ready to launch a scheme where individuals and organizations can sponsor refugees to enter the countrybut the Scottish and Welsh prime ministers told Michael GoveLeveling Up Secretary, they wanted to “maximize” their contributions and act as “super sponsors”.
In a letter to Mr Gove, they also renewed their calls for Westminster to renounce all visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals trying to enter Britain.
Mrs. Sturgeon said she wanted Scotland to play its “full role in welcoming Ukrainians seeking refuge from war”, and criticized Britain’s response as a “bureaucracy and bureaucracy”.
The governments of Holyrood and Cardiff said the super-sponsorship would allow Ukrainians to be allowed to enter each country quickly and be accommodated temporarily while working with local partners to provide long-term accommodation, security and access to services.
The Scottish Prime Minister said: “We are still awaiting all the details of the proposed Community sponsorship scheme.
“If the UK Government is still unwilling to waive visa requirements, it is important that this scheme works effectively and allows people to come to the UK as soon as possible.
“But I’m very worried that if people are to be matched with an individual sponsor before they’re even allowed to enter the UK, it’s going to turn out to be slow and cumbersome.”
“That’s why Wales’ Prime Minister and I have put forward the ‘supersponsor’ proposal. We propose that our governments act as first ‘supersponsors’ to allow a large number to come to our respective nations quickly.”
In the first wave, the first ministers said Scotland would expect to receive 3,000 and Wales 1,000. Under the plans, more would be welcomed in later waves.
In the letter to the Leveling Up Secretary, both prime ministers said it was “neither reasonable nor morally acceptable to expect people fleeing war to go through complex bureaucratic processes to achieve security in Britain ‘.
They added: “The UK Government should follow the example of European countries, including the Republic of Ireland, by waiving all visa requirements for all Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge in the UK, as well as implementing the temporary protection rules.”
Both Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford also called for clarity on funding schemes in support of local governments, saying there was a need for a funding scheme per capita.
“We are absolutely committed to playing our full role in responding to this crisis and seek the maximum flexibility to develop clear plans, based on developing 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 ensure that the arrangements in place are secure, sustainable and offer a true refuge for those fleeing war. . “
Gove said that “the crisis in Ukraine has sent shock waves around the world as hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been forced to flee their homes and leave behind everything they know and love”.
Next week, the UK government will roll out the unlimited Home to the Ukraine schemewith a website that collects expressions of interest from sponsors to open on Monday.
Gove said Britain “stands behind Ukraine in its darkest time and the British public understands the need to bring as many people to safety as quickly as we can”.
“I urge people across the country to join the national effort and offer support to our Ukrainian friends. Together, we can provide a safe home for those who so desperately need it.”
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 homes, or will allow them to offer a separate property.
The Department of Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said it would also work on enabling communities, the voluntary sector and organizations such as charities and religious groups to sponsor groups of Ukrainians.
Ukrainians who have sponsorships will be given three years’ leave to stay in the UK, with the right to work and access to public services.
Those offering accommodation will be examined and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks.
Sponsors who make houses or a vacant room available without rent for a minimum stay of six months will receive £ 350 per month.
Additional reporting from the Press Association