North East home to only 2% of Ukrainian Refugees in UK

Written by on 18th May 2022

Just 2% of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the UK are calling the North East their home.

The North East and Wales have the joint fewest Ukrainian refugees of any region of the UK, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Almost half have settled in London (31%) and the South East (18%) compared to only 2% in the North East.

However, 8% of those refugees who responded to an ONS survey said they would most like to live in the North of England.

The data relates to refugees coming to the UK through the Ukraine Family Visa and Homes for Ukraine schemes.

Fran Wood, Chair of the Darlington Assistance for Refugees group (DAR) told Spark that she was surprised by the figures: “Everyone has been very moved by the whole crisis in Ukraine and lots of families here have offered their homes and are waiting to be matched.

“I wouldn’t say that people in the North East are any less welcoming, in fact they are probably more welcoming.

“It might just be that Ukrainians aren’t as familiar with the North East as London.”

33% said they intend to stay in the UK for three years or more, 30% said they intend to stay for up to three years and another 31% did not know.

The Homes for Ukraine Scheme launched to huge demand back in March when 150,000 people pre-registered interest in housing a family.

Alex Fraser, Director of Refugee Support and Restoring Family Links for the British Red Cross, told Spark: “The whole process is taking far too long. Complicated visa schemes have delayed or deterred many people from seeking safety in the UK. That’s why we continue to urge the UK Government to temporarily lift visa requirements so more people can reach the UK quickly and safely.

“We’re also increasingly concerned about the access to information about support people are receiving, when they arrive. We’re seeing an increasing number of calls to our support line from Ukrainians struggling to get cash and housing and British families desperate to help but being prevented by the system.

“In our view, the quickest way to help people right now is for the UK Government to stop the need for visas for those fleeing Ukraine. This would also bring the UK in line with a great many other countries who have been doing this since the start of the crisis. Security checks would still happen on arrival, but this would free up the capacity of the authorities to help people as they arrive, instead of wading through visa applications.”

According to the United Nations over 6 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the crisis, with more than half seeking refuge in Poland.

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