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12 April 2022

How the UK is trailing Europe on Ukrainian refugees

Britain has admitted just 12,000 refugees – a fraction of the number taken by other countries.

By Katharine Swindells

The number of refugees admitted to the UK from Ukraine is just a fraction of those admitted to other European countries.

Figures released on 8 April showed that just 12,000 Ukrainian refugees have reached Britain since the start of the Russian invasion, the majority through family connections. By comparison, Ireland, which has less than a tenth of the UK’s overall population, has taken in 21,000 Ukrainians.


According to data from the UN refugee agency, 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since 24 February 2022. The vast majority have gone to neighbouring countries, primarily Poland, which has received 2.6 million Ukrainians since the start of the conflict.

Of European countries that don't border Ukraine, Germany and Czech Republic have taken in the most refugees. These numbers are estimates, as people can move freely within the Schengen Area without a visa, so may not have been counted officially.

Humanitarian organisations have called for the UK to follow many other European countries and waive visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees to speed up admission. To gain refugee status in the UK, Ukrainians need to apply for a visa and have it granted before they enter the country, which has led to many delays in the process.

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