We have given written evidence to the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the crisis in Ukraine on 13 June 2022.
From the data our legal working team has gathered through the delivery of our Ukraine Advice Scotland advice line, it’s evident that we continue to receive a steady flow of enquiries.
We do not anticipate this trend to significantly decrease during this summer due to the existing delays and caseworking errors from the Home Office, and the existing gaps in the overall coordination of Ukrainians arriving in Scotland and in the rest of UK.
Since the end of May, there has been a growing number of individuals enquiring about delays in their application process and enquiries about switching between sponsors. We anticipate we will see increasing requests to switch sponsorship within the UK and we believe that this is an issue that can be looked into and coordinated between sponsors, local authorities and national government across UK.
Many individuals have also asked about the possibility of university education when they arrive in Scotland – often regarding picking up their studies from where they had left of due to the war.
In the past couple of weeks, we have also noticed a growth in enquiries about minors (17 and below) looking to apply for a visa and travel to the UK either alone or with another guardian (e.g., their grandmother/aunt).
People have also asked whether they can arrive and leave with ease, about valid documents for a Homes for Ukraine visa, and for help with their move-on plans. Lastly, we are receiving a growing number of enquiries from people concerned about the three-year limit on the visa.
We welcome the fact that the Scottish Government has established itself as a “super sponsor” for Ukrainian nationals and their family members, but we continue to have concerns about what is effectively the outsourcing of responsibility by the UK Government to the British general public under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
We will keep raising concerns about the significant challenges and risks around safeguarding, including child and vulnerable adult protection inherent in the operation of the Ukrainian schemes. We need to take an approach in Scotland that takes a gendered analysis of the risks posed by the scheme – and that considers the risk of both domestic abuse and of human trafficking and exploitation.
Read our full submission here.