Drop family visa requirement for Ukrainians, Amnesty Intl's Europe Director warns UK

6 March 2022, 19:07

By Tim Dodd

The UK should "drop" its requirement for Ukrainians who are seeking a visa to have family in the country, argues Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muiznieks tells LBC.

It comes as more than 1.5 million people have been forced to flee Ukraine since Russia's invasion began, making it the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, according to the United Nations (UN)

Under the UK's recently-extended visa scheme, Ukrainians with parents, grandparents, children and siblings already in the UK are allowed to stay for up to three years.

The offer does not match that of EU countries, which have waived visa rules for Ukrainian refugees, letting them in for up to three years without first having to seek asylum.

Mr Muiznieks told LBC: "This will be the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Yugoslav wars and perhaps even World War Two.

"The figures now are climbing very rapidly and are likely to reach significantly larger figures than we see today.

"The burden and responsibility will be huge and the UK is a wealthy enough country to do its part."

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Asked if the UK should drop its requirement for Ukrainians applying for visas to "join or accompany [their] UK-based family member", Mr Muiznieks said: "I think it should be dropped, because many people do not have relatives, they do not have family members.

"We should provide generous protection to all fleeing this conflict.

"Moldova, one of the frontline countries, which is one of the poorest countries in Europe, has already seen the arrival of around 200,000.

"Now if Moldova can receive 200,000 people, how many can the UK receive?".

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