The SNP’s Neil Gray was asked by Scotland and England had not taken more Ukrainian refugees fleeing Ukraine due to the invasion of Russian forces. The Scottish politician slammed the processing system for asylum calling the system a “disgrace” and an “embarrassment.” Mr Gray pushed for Boris Johnson to do more, as he claimed those fleeing were women and children as the fighting-age men have stayed behind in Ukraine to fight.
An audience member asked: “Why is Scotland not accepting more refugees then?”
Mr Gray said: “We absolutely want to accept refugees, that is the point that we are making very clearly, both publicly at official channels with the UK Government.
“The UK Government is holding this up and it is an absolute disgrace and an international embarrassment, quite frankly.
“We have refugees that have arrived in Calais that have been turned away at the border.
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Mr Gray continued: “And we have a situation where every other European nation, the Republic of Ireland included have accepted…
“Opened their doors not just their hearts but their doors to the people of Ukraine to be able to flee the horrors of war.
“Particularly as we know that it’s women and children that are looking to flee because fighting age men are having to stay.
“And we are being faced with a UK Government that has not responded appropriately.
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The SNP MSP added: “That has let the Ukrainian people down, its time they acted its time they made up and ensured that the people of Ukraine who want to flee to come to the UK.
“Certainly come to Scotland because we are determined to make sure that they can find a home here in Scotland.”
The current process in the UK allows Ukrainians to arrive if they have family already living in the UK.
Calls for the current system to be changed have been coming in from refugees turned away once they reached Calais as there have been claims that many cannot find places to fill out visa forms.
Reports state that almost 300 refugees from Ukraine had been turned back at Calais.
The latest announcement from the Government states that new plans for a sponsorship scheme are being prepared.
Ukrainians without family living in the UK can be matched with private sponsors, local authorities, and with communities.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has been coming under fire for only accepting a handful of refugees so far.
Ms Patel said: “We have created additional capacity in all locations at pace, in anticipation of the invasion of Ukraine. This includes a pop-up Visa Application Centre in Rzeszow in Poland, which has provided a total capacity currently of well over 3,000 appointments per week.
“Our contingency plans have been enacted now and they are expected further to increase total capacity to 6,000 appointments a week, starting this week.
“By contrast, demand across these locations is usually approximately 890 biometric appointments per week.
“There remains availability for appointments and walk-ins across every location.
“Should more capacity be required, we will of course deliver it.”