Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell has contacted the Home Secretary Priti Patel calling for greater urgency in processing visas for those fleeing Ukraine, following the Russian invasion.

Catherine has written to the Home Secretary following serious delays for cases where places have been secured in Newcastle North through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, however bureaucratic delays have left desperate families waiting weeks for decisions from the Home Office.

In her letter the MP states that ‘there are significant delays in speaking with officials, and this is leading to further anxiety and frustration for constituents wanting to support applicants.

 ‘Whilst I absolutely recognise the pressures Home Office staff must be facing, I am very concerned with the delays in obtaining updates. When we have been able to speak with officials and have been assured by Home Office staff that individual cases would be escalated, this has repeatedly not been actioned and no progress has been made.

 ‘This situation clearly demands greater urgency. The devastating crisis in Ukraine has led millions to flee their home, with many seeking sanctuary in the UK. Constituents across Newcastle North have stepped up to support and offered help through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme but feel that they are being let down as a result of Home Office delays.

 ‘We desperately need to see these delays addressed and action taken to ensure a swift and fair process is in place. Promises made to the Ukrainian people, other seeking sanctuary, and the British public, must be honoured.’

Commenting on her letter, Catherine added “I led a debate in Parliament about ensuring that the UK steps up to support the Ukrainian people. Whilst schemes like the Homes for Ukraine are obviously welcome, continued Home Office delays are causing anxiety and frustration.

“My constituents have shown how compassionate our country is, but these delays are leaving people in desperate situations when there are homes ready for them here in the UK. The Home Secretary needs to step up and get a grip of these delays to match the spirit that has been shown by my constituents and people across Britain”.