Scotland “is ready” to receive 3,000 Ukrainian refugees immediately, Nicola Sturgeon said as she promised the country could be a “super sponsor” for those fleeing war.
The Scottish first minister said that could help people seeking to escape Ukraine get there quickly amid concerns that the sponsorship scheme being put together by the UK government could be “slow and cumbersome”.
Leveling Up secretary Michael Gove insisted this is the “quickest way” to provide people with support, and people in the UK were urged to sign up if they are prepared to bring Ukrainians home. for up to six months.
While more than two million people now think they have left Ukraine following the Russian invasion, the UK government has so far issued more than 3,000 visas to those seeking to escape the conflict.
Ms Sturgeon said she had made it clear to Westminster that the Scottish government “is ready to welcome 3,000 Ukrainians as an immediate step” and would then take “at least a proportionate share” of people coming to the UK.
“The most important thing is to bring them here quickly, safely and with the minimum bureaucracy and the maximum support,” he insisted.
The Scottish first minister set out her position in a series of tweets at the same time the UK government laid out the details of its Homes for Ukraine scheme, which will accept an unlimited number of refugees.
A website will open on Monday where people can register their interest in participating in the scheme, on which people will either open their homes to refugees or alternatively offer them a separate property to stay.
All those offering accommodation will be vetted, while Ukrainians arriving in the UK under the scheme will be subject to security checks.
Sponsors will have to provide housing or a spare room rent-free for a minimum stay of six months, but will receive £350 per month in return.
Ms Sturgeon said it was “vital” that this community sponsorship was “easy to use, fast, humane and safe”.
Having the Scottish and Welsh governments act as super sponsors would allow large numbers of refugees to come to those countries quickly, Ms Sturgeon added.
In the first wave, Scotland would expect to receive 3,000 and Wales 1,000, with more welcome in later waves.
Mrs Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart, Mark Drakeford, have already set out their proposals in a letter to Mr Gove.
On Sunday, the Scottish First Minister tweeted: “If the UK Government is unwilling (wrongly in my opinion) to waive visa requirements for Ukrainians seeking refuge as other countries have, it is vital that their scheme community sponsorship easy to use, fast. , human and safe.”
While he said the devolved administration “doesn’t know all the details yet” of the UK’s proposed scheme, he added: “I am concerned it will be slow and cumbersome (people will need organized sponsors before entering the UK), support is lacking.” adequate and safeguard, and not be sustainable for as long as people may need to be here.
“That’s why @scotgov is offering to act as a ‘super sponsor’; this would allow significant numbers to arrive here quickly and stay temporarily while we work with local partners to organize long-term housing (including volunteers) and organize protection. & support.
“I have told the UK government that we are ready to welcome 3,000 Ukrainians as an immediate step, and then at least a proportionate share of the total to come to the UK as a whole. The most important thing is to get them here quickly, safely, and with minimal bureaucracy and maximum support.
“I hope the UK government will accept this proposal from @scotgov (which is also being done by the Welsh government) and allow us to continue to offer shelter to those fleeing war.”