UK Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has been branded ‘shameful’ after falsely claiming that Ukrainian NHS staff on a UK work visa are eligible for the Home Office’s Ukraine refugee scheme. Javid claimed that Ukrainians with a UK skilled worker visa and employed by the NHS could bring family to Britain.
However, the Ukrainian refugee scheme is not open to those in Britain on a UK skilled worker visa, with the Labour Party, in particular, highlighting how the government has ‘repeatedly refused’ to help the families in question, according to a report published by The Independent.
Javid was challenged over the gap in provision for those fleeing Ukraine amid a Russian invasion, but appeared to flounder.
Extended family scheme
When asked about Ukrainians in Britain on UK work visas, Javid told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In the situation that you just gave, a Ukrainian living and working here, will be able to bring their family here into the UK under the extended family scheme.”
“That scheme is already up and running. It will be made a lot easier and a lot simpler when it becomes an online only process,” Mr Javid added.
However, according to the conditions of the Ukrainian refugee scheme as outlined on the UK government’s official website, only British nationals, EU nationals, people with UK settled status or permanent residence, and those with refugee status themselves are eligible.
When asked if he was sure about his comments, because the government website contradicted what he was saying, Javid said ‘another unlaunched scheme could be of assistance’.
The government is set to announce a ‘hosting scheme’, which will allow UK nationals to sponsor Ukrainians arriving in Britain. However, this scheme still won’t give automatic rights to family members to join Ukrainian nationals living in Britain on work visas – including those working for the NHS.
Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, what I can say for sure is that under the hosting scheme for anyone that is living in Britain they can host a Ukrainian family.”
“There’s two separate schemes and I think taken together these schemes will mean that anyone, whether they have a relative in the UK or not, will be able to get safe passage and sanctuary in the UK. These are two very broad schemes,” Mr Javid added.
However, Labour’s UK Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper described Javid’s comments as ‘truly shameful’. She said: “Sajid Javid said on the Today programme that Ukrainian NHS staff on work visas can bring family to UK under the Family Scheme. But the government’s website says no. Their families are still being turned away.”
“The government has repeatedly refused to include those families. Truly shameful,” Ms Cooper added.
Britain’s response to helping Ukrainian refugees has been shamed by several world leaders, including the President of France, Emmanuel Macron. The French leader lashed out at the UK government for making ‘grand statements’ about helping refugees, taking aim at the UK visa system in particular.
Macron said: “Despite all the grand statements… the British government continues to apply current rules that mean they don’t welcome Ukrainian refugees who want to reach British soil. They have to travel hundreds of kilometres in order to apply for a visa.”
“I hoped that Ukrainian men and women, who have lived through horror and crossed Europe to reach their families on UK territory, would be better treated,” Macron added.
In response to Macron’s comments, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We are now making the process quicker and simpler by removing the need to physically visit visa application centres for many of those who are making the perilous journey across Europe.”
Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, recently wrote a strongly worded letter to Patel, accusing Britain of ‘lacking humanity’ by refusing to open the UK’s borders.
Patel recently announced that UK immigration biometric checks would be relaxed for Ukrainian refugees, but the Labour Party said that this would ‘still result in delays’. Labour MPs are now urging the government to introduce ‘emergency protection visas’, but did stop short of calling for the UK to have an ‘open door policy’ and waive visas entirely.
Workpermit.com can help with Sponsor Licences
For more information and advice on Sponsor licences, please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)