Scotland has a “super sponsorship” program: you don’t need to look for a host family – just name the Scottish government as a sponsor and get a visa right away. But a surprisingly large number of applications came from Ukrainian citizens.
A new British Red Cross report says thousands of Ukrainians have spent seven months in windowless cabins on cruise ships used as refugee centres. This was reported by The Daily Record on March 14.
Representatives of humanitarian organizations say it is unacceptable to use cruise ships and hotels as places of residence for those who have fled the war.
The “super-sponsorship” program in Scotland makes it easy for Ukrainian citizens to relocate to the country: no need to look for a host family – simply indicate the Scottish government as a sponsor to get a visa right away for a trip to Scotland. But there were surprisingly many applications.
As of 7 February 2023, more than 23,000 people had moved to Scotland and a total of 37,964 visas had been issued. About 6,800 Ukrainians still live in temporary housing, more than 4,400 in hotel rooms, and 2,400 Ukrainians on charter cruise ships in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Most cabins have no windows, according to the Red Cross, but many Ukrainians are forced to congregate in cabins without being told when to move to more suitable permanent housing.
There are plans to disembark people from one of the ships by the end of this March, but the contract to use the ship in Edinburgh has been extended until the end of June.
According to Rob Murray, director of the British Red Cross, many Ukrainians are still “in limbo” and unable to settle in Scotland properly.
“We are concerned about the real risk of families becoming homeless or having to live in unsuitable conditions for extended periods of time.”
Representatives of the Red Cross, one of the UK’s largest organizations dealing with refugee issues, are urging the Scottish government to find more affordable housing for Ukrainians in local communities with affordable schools, medical facilities and job opportunities.
Organization representatives also recommend that the government work with local authorities to implement a program that will cover the cost of living in private households.
In essence, the government is being asked to prepay refugees’ homes and act as a guarantor if Ukrainians are unable to pay rent on their own.
The Scottish government says they are actively working on it.
Recall that Poland reduced payments to some Ukrainian immigrants by 50%. Human rights activists called this approach “inhuman and absurd”.
Previously Focus In Spain, an organized crime group consisting of Ukrainians and Russians reported that they stole 1.25 million euros from Ukrainian refugees.
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