Revealed: The areas of the UK welcoming the most Ukrainian refugees

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: A sign welcoming Ukrainian refugees at St Pancras station on April 04, 2022 in London, England. The UK's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said that nearly £2 million will be spent on creating 31
A sign welcoming Ukrainian refugees at St Pancras station in London. (Getty)

A total of 71,800 visas have been issued to Ukrainian refugees under the family scheme and the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, the government has said.

Some 32,500 visas have been granted under the family scheme, and 39,300 visas have been issued under the sponsorship scheme, according to figures from the Home Office.

Overall, around 107,200 visa applications had been received as of Wednesday.

The data shows that just a third of refugees who have been issued with visas have arrived in the UK.

The Home Office data also revealed the local areas which have issued the most visas through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Home Office data shows where the most visas have been issued under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. (Yahoo News)
Home Office data shows where the most visas have been issued under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. (Yahoo News)

Watch: Homes for Ukraine scheme could lead to 'homelessness crisis', warns Labour

The scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor under Homes for Ukraine.

Buckinghamshire is the most generous area in the UK so far, with 502 visas issued sponsored by people who live in the area.

The 10 areas which have issued the highest number of visas are:

  • Buckinghamshire - 507

  • Wiltshire - 402

  • Cornwall - 337

  • Wandsworth - 311

  • Barnet - 307

  • Edinburgh - 287

  • Camden - 282

  • Richmond-upon-Thames - 282

  • Bromley - 272

  • Wealden - 262

  • South Cambridgeshire - 251

There has been widespread concern about the length of time it has taken for UK visas to be issued to refugees.

In an email sent to those registered for the Homes for Ukraine scheme last Thursday, the government acknowledged that some Ukrainian refugees have been waiting almost three weeks for their visa applications to be progressed or for a decision, calling this “unacceptable”.

It said: “We are speeding up the processing of visas and, having prioritised family visas in the first instance, we are now working to accelerate the award of visas under Homes for Ukraine.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2022/04/02: A protester holds a 'Waive UK Visas' placard in support of refugees during the pro-Ukraine rally in Trafalgar Square. Protesters continue to gather in central London in solidarity with Ukraine, as Russia intensifies its attack. (Photo by Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A protester holds a 'Waive UK Visas' placard in support of refugees during the pro-Ukraine rally in Trafalgar Square earlier this month. (SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty)

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described the delays as “shocking”, adding: This is a total disgrace. Where is the home secretary? She needs to account for these scandalous and shameful delays that are letting everyone down.”

Government officials believe some people applied for visas so they have the option of coming to the UK but are staying in countries bordering Ukraine so they can return home sooner.

Others may have applied but then changed their minds, deciding to stay where they are or travel elsewhere.

Ukrainian refugees walk towards the border crossing from Poland to Ukraine, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Medyka, Poland, April 7, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Ukrainian refugees walk towards the border crossing from Poland to Ukraine, in Medyka, Poland. (Reuters)

And some will be waiting for everyone in their family to receive permission to travel letters or visas before they depart for the UK.

Last week, fewer than than half (45%) of the applications had led to visas issued.

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