Nottingham charity still trying to help refugees from Russia’s war in Syria as it criticises Ukraine scheme

A Nottingham refugee charity has criticised the UK government’s handling of asylum seekers as a two-tier system.

Host Nottingham, on Hungerhill Road, is helping refugees from the Middle East and North Africa by providing them with temporary accommodation.

A spokesperson for the charity revealed it will not take part in the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, as their hands are full helping non-Ukrainian refugees.

Rebecca Kogan, project coordinator of Host Nottingham, said: “I think they only launched the scheme to avoid backlash from the public.

“The government is more willing to help Ukrainian refugees than Syrian ones, for example, because of racism.

“Ukrainians are nearby, they’re white.”

The Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched on March 14 by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

See our live article telling the story of one Nottingham family’s efforts to sponsor Ukrainian refugees

Project Sanctuary

The scheme allows individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to support Ukrainians, including those with no family ties to the UK.

Ms Kogan added: “The UK can provide people with the resources and the support they need to settle here and become part of the community, which was demonstrated through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme for Syrian families.

“As far as Ukrainians go, we don’t know what support is going to be available and we don’t know what safeguarding and what checks will be carried out to make sure that the people arriving are not exploited when they get here.

“We also don’t know what support, if any, is going to be available to them other than the small amount of financial support.

“It’s the systems and the services surrounding the programme that are important, not the financial resources.”

More than 150,000 British people across the country have registered their interest in the scheme since its launch.

A government spokesperson told The Independent: “We are moving as quickly as possible to ensure that those fleeing horrific persecution in Ukraine can find safety in the UK, and our Homes for Ukraine scheme now allows those without family connections to come here.

“The Home Office has acted to streamline the visa application process so valid passport holders no longer have to attend in-person appointments before arriving, allowing us to welcome people faster.”

Capacity at Visa Application Centre has also been increased to 13,000 appointments per week across Europe to help people without documentation.

The sudden surge in support available to Ukrainian refugees proved frustrating for organisations helping asylum seekers from other parts of the world.

This is because non-Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK cannot claim benefits, are not allowed to work, and have no other accommodation options available to them.

Ms Kogan added: “The UK can provide people with the resources and the support they need to settle here and become part of the community, which was demonstrated through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme for Syrian families.

“As far as Ukrainians go, we don’t know what support is going to be available and we don’t know what safeguarding and what checks will be carried out to make sure that the people arriving are not exploited when they get here.

“We also don’t know what support, if any, is going to be available to them other than the small amount of financial support.

“It’s the systems and the services surrounding the programme that are important, not the financial resources.”

To support Host Nottingham, check out their website here.

Lead image: Rucsandra Moldoveanu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.