What has been the UK government’s approach to Ukrainian asylum seekers?
What is the reason for the lack of coordination between the EU countries in the accommodation of Ukrainian asylum seekers?
Do reports show how many Ukrainian asylum seekers have been accepted and resettled by the UK so far?
Why are civil society and immigrant rights activists criticizing the UK government’s approach to Ukrainian asylum seekers?
Following the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, there has been a wave of emigration, which experts consider to be the largest influx of asylum seekers in Europe since World War II. Despite widespread sympathy and solidarity with Ukrainian asylum seekers, setting quotas for their admission has challenged the EU.
The wave of immigration to EU countries
In 2015, Europe faced a flood of migrants, mostly from Syria and other crisis-hit countries in the region, and their division among European countries led to a deep challenge and crisis. Observers believe that due to the sharp increase in immigration from Ukraine, EU member states that were not prepared to accept them will face a much more serious challenge than in 2015.
Refusal of EU countries to accept asylum seekers
The EU must coordinate as soon as possible to ensure the humane accommodation of asylum seekers. Many European diplomats in Brussels believe that this coordination is still in its infancy. An important issue in this regard is the quota for the reception of asylum seekers, which many EU member states refuse to accept for various reasons and excuses. Italy is also concerned that due to the war in Ukraine and its impact on food shortages, a large wave of migrants and asylum seekers from African countries will head to Europe.
Lack of EU coordination for the accommodation of asylum seekers
Meanwhile, while Germany and France complain about the lack of coordination in most EU member states, countries close to Ukraine such as Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Finland say they don’t need EU assistance and coordination at the moment. Poland is also said to be trying to cope with the problem of Ukrainian asylum seekers without the help of the EU; apparently, the reason for this policy is that Poland, Hungary and several other Eastern European countries have already opposed any attempt by the EU to set a quota for the reception of asylum seekers.
Reception of 12,000 Ukrainian asylum seekers by the UK
Reports in the UK show that the government has so far issued visas to 12,000 of the 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers. After the UK government announced that it was a leader in supporting the Ukrainian people, several thousand war refugees, most of whom have close relatives in the UK, applied for visas to enter the country and join their relatives, but so far only 12,000 applications. Agreed. Poland has so far hosted more than 2.2 million Ukrainian asylum seekers, while the US has said it will accept 100,000 Ukrainian asylum seekers, and most European countries have said they have lifted visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees.
Criticism of civil society and immigrant rights by the UK government
The UK government’s treatment of Ukrainian asylum seekers has been widely criticized by civil society and immigrants activists. Meanwhile, the UK PM has repeatedly stated that his country is at the forefront of supporting the Ukrainian people against Russia. Hundreds of Ukrainians who had previously tried to join their relatives in Britain from France and the English Channel were stopped by British border guards and returned to France, which has drawn strong criticism from the French government.
Accommodation of Ukrainian immigrants
The UK is seeking the resettlement of Ukrainian immigrants on the property of Russian oligarchs who have been sanctioned by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Asked if it was possible to use houses belonging to the Russian-sanctioned oligarchy to house Ukrainian asylum seekers, British Housing Minister Michael Gove said he wants to look into the possibility. “I want to explore an option which would allow us to use the homes and properties of sanctioned individuals for as long as they are sanctioned for humanitarian and other purposes,” Gove said. He noted that the implementation of such a plan should be the law of decision-making, if possible, the UK agrees to this action.
Freezing of assets of Russian oligarchs in the UK
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UK has imposed sanctions on several Russian oligarchs, and as a result of the sanctions, their assets have been frozen in the UK and they have been banned from travelling to the country. Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, prominent Russian artisan Oleg Deripaska, and Russian Energy CEO Igor Sechin are among those close to Russian President Vladimir Putin who has been subject to sanctions.
The mayor of London criticizes the government of Boris Johnson
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose country is facing a wave of protests over the government’s response to the refugee crisis; said the reaction of the UK government and other European governments to the crisis of Ukrainian asylum seekers was shameful. Demonstrations in support of Ukraine in the UK criticized the government’s response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Sadiq Khan said at a protest rally in support of Ukrainians held near Hyde Park in London that the UK should do more to support Ukrainian asylum seekers. He had previously announced that £1.1m had been allocated to support all immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees in London.
British protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Sadiq Khan also called the actions of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland shameful and said that we should take more action in the face of the crisis of Ukrainian asylum seekers. Thousands of Londoners rallied in Trafalgar Square London, wearing blue and yellow Ukrainian flag colours, and holding banners criticizing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. UK’s response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis has been widely criticized since Russia invaded Ukraine, and it was recently revealed that visa applications were delayed because British Home Office staff were teleworkers.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a “special military operation” against Ukraine and strained Moscow-Kyiv relations turned into a military confrontation. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday (February 24th) released the latest figures on the number of asylum seekers in Ukraine as the war enters its second month. According to the report, a total of 10 million Ukrainians, who make up a quarter of Ukraine’s total population, have been forced to flee their homes. The UN has estimated the number of internally displaced people in Ukraine at 6.5 million. Conflicts in Ukraine continue. Most Ukrainian asylum seekers are women and children who have arrived in Poland and other European countries.