According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain is a kind country but needs to keep an eye on who arrives.
The UN believes that over 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia began bombing its neighbor, with many going to Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and other countries.
Responding to charges that Britain was failing to help handle the continent’s worst humanitarian catastrophe since WWII, Johnson said:
“We are a generous nation. We want control and to be able to check “he told media. “Given what’s going on in Ukraine, I think we should have some basic ability to screen who’s coming in.”
Charities, opposition legislators, and France have slammed the British government for requiring refugees to obtain visas first, stranding some Ukrainians in Calais, France.
The EU has agreed to provide Ukrainians fleeing the invasion temporary residency for up to three years.
Britain has announced visa routes for anyone with family or sponsors in the country. Johnson denied media allegations that Britain has only awarded 50 Ukrainian visas so far.
The interior ministry later stated 300 visas had been issued and it was expanding staff to satisfy demand.
“Those fleeing for their life should have a straightforward access to shelter,” said Labour leader Keir Starmer.
According to him, the Home Office is “in a mess” and “changing the regulations”.
Premier Nicola Sturgeon claimed Britain was doing too little. Allow refugees in and deal with paperwork later.
“Fleeing the terror in Ukraine and having to go through bureaucratic hoops is inhumane,” she told LBC radio.
Minister Priti Patel told the Sun she intended to create a humanitarian channel for Ukrainians to enter Britain. But Europe Minister James Cleverly said he didn’t expect changes.