Rishi Sunak says he won’t be taking part in Homes for Ukraine scheme ‘and will help in other ways’

He said 25,000 Ukrainians have applied for visas but only 10,000 have been approved.

<p>Rishi Sunak admitted he didn’t know the whereabouts of those who has been approved for the scheme </p>

Rishi Sunak admitted he didn’t know the whereabouts of those who has been approved for the scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he would not be welcoming a Ukrainian refugee into his home as part of the government’s sponsorship scheme.

Thousands of Ukrainians have registered their interest in ‘Homes For Ukraine’ which sees people in the UK with a room to spare becoming a sponsor.

Asked whether his family would be taking part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Mr Sunak told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "No, I think everyone will be helping in the best way that they can.

"As I say, I’m full of admiration for those who can do that. My wife and I will be helping in other ways."

Homes For Ukraine opened for visa applications on March 18, and within two days some 100,000 people expressed interest in signing up.

“Those checks are going through now,” Mr Sunak said. “In terms of visas that have been approved, my understanding is that about 25,000 have completed their applications. I think almost 10,000 have been granted already.”

The chancellor admitted he didn’t know the “exact movements” of those who had been accepted, and “if anyone has started to come.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK thanks the British public for their response to the scheme

The UK has faced criticism over it handling of refugees after it was the only European country to refuse visa-free entry to those fleeing the war.

Instead it introduced a family scheme allowing only Ukrainians with relatives settled in the country to enter.

The shambolic process saw refugees struggling to navigate the application progress, and forced to travel to visa centres often miles away.

New figures have shown there are more than 20,000 people waiting on decisions from the Home Office to join their family in the UK.

Millions of refugees have fled Putin’s deadly war in Ukraine

Since the Homes for Ukraine Scheme launched, 150,000 Britons have expressed an interest in opening their homes to Ukrainian refugees.

The country’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, said he was “humbled” by the public’s response to the programme, admitting he did not expect as many people to step forward.

"We’re in an initial stage of this work but I’m very grateful that the UK Government and citizens are opening up their hearts, and sometimes homes, offering Ukrainians to stay here.

"I’m humbled by the sheer number of people who are opening up, sometimes just saying, ‘I have a spare room, it’s not even a spare house, or flat, it’s just a spare room.’ This is something that’s very unusual."

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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