UK News

Robert Jenrick among the first MPs to host a Ukrainian refugee family under a government program UK News

A former cabinet minister who became one of the first MPs to welcome a Ukrainian family into his home under a new government program has denounced the bureaucracy involved.

Newark MP and former housing minister Robert Jenrick welcomed Maria, 40, and her two children, Christina, 11, and Boden, 15, to his family home in Nottinghamshire after picking them up from the airport from Stansted this week.

But he said the red tape associated with the government’s Homes for Ukraine program had “tested the patience” of sponsors and families fleeing the war, reports the Mirror. Speaking on Chopper’s Politics podcast, he called on the Home Office to allow paperwork to be completed in Ukrainian and to stop forcing children to complete separate forms to come to the UK.

Read more: Ukrainian teenagers move into new temporary home in Rowlands Gill

Mr Jenrick reportedly told the podcast: ‘I think the process has been too bureaucratic and I think the Home Office often falls into this trap. There were simple things that we could and should have done from the start, like having the form in Ukrainian, for example. And I don’t know if you have to do checks on minors who are extremely unlikely to pose a threat to this country.

The Homes for Ukraine program has now issued more than 25,000 visas allowing UK families to sponsor refugees from 55,600 applications. But critics have criticized the program for being slow while other countries around the world have not insisted on visas and so much bureaucracy.

Mr Jenrick would be the first MP to host a refugee family under the new scheme

Mr Jenrick said he wanted to do something to help after seeing the horrors that have unfolded in Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24. He said his family and the Ukrainian mother and children found the whole experience “very moving”.

“I think the family we are sponsoring was happy to be in a safe place,” he told the BBC. “Like most Ukrainians who come under the program, they leave behind husbands, fathers, relatives and friends, so there are mixed emotions. The process was relatively slow at first, but it was well worth the expectation from our point of view.”

Mr Jenrick added that Maria and her family had been ‘absolutely lovely’ and the plan was now to find a school for the two children. He recommended those in a position to offer housing to Ukrainians to accept this option, but they should take it “seriously”.

Victoria Prentis, the Environment Minister, is known to have also taken in a 25-year-old Ukrainian refugee, but on an existing visa for visitors to the UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *