Greens: UK Lacking in its Commitments to Ukrainian Asylum-Seekers

The Green Party UK demands more be done for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

More than 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion.

Most Ukrainian refugees have moved to neighbouring countries, with Poland being the top destination. Hungary, Moldova, and Slovakia are also among the countries accepting the greatest number of Ukrainians.

The European Union (EU) is also doing a great deal to support Ukraine during this crisis. However, this support runs in stark contrast to what the United Kingdom has offered so far to Ukrainian refugees. As of February 28th, the Ukrainian refugee capacity was still capped at 200,000 in the UK, and the rules regarding border control and asylum were changing almost daily. This makes the whole experience increasingly difficult for asylum-seekers.

In response to these relatively unambitious policies, the Green Party UK’s spokesperson on Migration and Refugee Support, Benali Hamdache, released the following statement on February 28th: “The government response to those fleeing war in Ukraine and seeking sanctuary is not the compassionate response the crisis requires. [Home Secretary of the UK] Priti Patel’s announcement that ‘immediate family members’ will be allowed to come to the UK will still close the door to many Ukrainians in need of sanctuary.”

The following day on March 1st, Patel announced the government would be further softening the conditions for acquiring a sponsor or visa which would potentially allow 100,000 additional Ukrainians to settle for 12 months in the UK. Patel referred to the policy changes as “very generous, and it is an expansive and unprecedented package.”

While the policies are objectively expansive and unprecedented in the UK, their generosity is harder to prove. The EU is comparatively doing much more, such as accepting a greater number of refugees, as well as allowing people to settle for, in some cases, up to 3 years. The UK is also processing and accepting asylum-seekers at a slower rate than most EU countries.

The Green Party UK is calling for a more unified response and wishes for the UK to follow the EU’s example: “Greens are the party of compassion – refugees are welcome here. We demand the UK follow the EU’s lead and grant asylum to all Ukrainians, open safe routes for people to come to the UK, and join the EU wide plan for resettling refugees” Hamdache said.

As of March 3rd, there are well over 1 million Ukrainian asylum-seekers. That number is climbing rapidly.

Ryan Dumont

Ryan (Tiohtià:ke/Montréal) is a political science student at Concordia University. His interests in green politics include healthcare reform, feminism, Indigenous affairs, homelessness, education, immigration, asylum-seekers and refugees, drug reform, workers' rights, and more.

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