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More than 50,000 refugees arrive in UK after fleeing war in Ukraine

A number of Ukrainian families stand on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after they met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson after arriving to the UK through the UK visa scheme (Victoria Jones/PA)
A number of Ukrainian families stand on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after they met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson after arriving to the UK through the UK visa scheme (Victoria Jones/PA)

More than 50,000 refugees have arrived in the UK under the Ukraine visa schemes, Government figures show.

Some 53,800 Ukrainian refugees had arrived under the family scheme and Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme as of Monday, the data shows.

Some 107,400 visas have been granted under both schemes, meaning just over half of those with visas granted have arrived.

It is the first time the number of arrivals has been greater than the number who have been granted visas but who have not travelled to the UK.

Of those who have arrived, 20,800 have come to the UK under the family scheme, and 33,000 people under the sponsorship scheme.

Overall, there have been around 128,100 applications for visas.

These include 43,700 applications under the family scheme, of which 38,700 visas have been granted, and 84,400 applications under the sponsorship scheme, of which 68,700 visas have been granted.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme in particular has faced widespread criticism over the length of time it has taken for refugees to receive visas and come to the UK.

The latest figures show that the number of people who have received visas under the scheme and are reaching the UK is growing, but more than half have still not reached the UK.

Charities have continued to call for visa rights to be waived for those fleeing Ukraine, with some criticising the schemes as “not fit for purpose”.

Government officials believe some people applied for visas so they have the option of coming to the UK but are staying near Ukraine so they can return home sooner, or have since changed their minds.

Minister for refugees Lord Harrington said: “Almost 54,000 Ukrainians have now arrived safely in the UK through our Ukraine schemes; we are doing all we can to support new arrivals into work and education so they can create a life here and I look forward to welcoming more families to the UK.

“Together, our uncapped Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine routes are amongst the fastest and biggest visa schemes in UK history, with over 107,000 visas issued in just over two months, showing the work we’ve done to speed up the process is working and improving daily.”