The Government’s decision to support the communities in the UK to help refugees from Ukraine is a welcome step. However, according to the Government announcement today, refugees from Ukraine without a link to the UK will not be supported in the scheme's initial phase. Therefore, the scheme will struggle to meet the scale and urgency of needs arising from the conflict - more needs to be done to protect people fleeing.

For this reason, the IRC is calling for the UK Government to act on four priorities, to ensure comprehensive protection for refugees fleeing Ukraine. 

First, it is crucial to ensure safe passage to the UK for all asylum seekers. We are also calling for the UK to share responsibility for protecting refugees with countries neighbouring Ukraine and evacuate people from pressurised border zones, relocate those seeking protection and offer sanctuary in the UK. The UK Government needs to address bureaucratic obstacles, introducing visa waivers and streamlining application processes. We are also calling for the Government to invest in medical and psychological support for all new arrivals, including tailored support for women and girls. 

Finally, for this scheme to be effective, it needs to include measures to ensure sponsors have received the vetting, resourcing and training they need in order to be able to support people who have endured the trauma of fleeing conflict, as well as a detailed timeframe for implementation.