The UK Government has given its support “in principle” to the Scottish Government’s proposal to become a super sponsor for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the invasion of their country by Russia.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday told MSPs the UK Government had committed to helping work towards the scheme’s immediate launch.
And she indicated that if the details can be agreed, Scotland will be able to welcome 3000 Ukrainians “very soon”.
The SNP leader had previously expressed her frustration over the lack of a formal agreement between the two governments over the proposal.
On Monday, UK Cabinet minister Michael Gove set out a new “bespoke” scheme for Ukrainians to come to the UK.
The Home Office said that as of 4pm on Monday, a total of 4600 Ukraine Family Scheme visas have so far been issued.
As of Tuesday morning, almost 90,000 people had signed up to host a refugee in their home under the UK scheme.
Providing an update on Scotland’s efforts to support Ukrainian refugees ahead of a Covid update at Holyrood, the First Minister described the backing of the UK Government for her government’s proposals as a “positive development”.
“The response of the public across the UK in offering support has been truly outstanding and I want to thank everyone who has volunteered,” she said.
“Under the UK scheme though, with the exception of people who already know someone seeking refuge, it may be some time before most of those offering help will be able to actually welcome someone from Ukraine.
“The Scottish Government’s super-sponsor proposal is intended to short-circuit this and allow Ukrainians to get here and be safeguarded and supported more quickly.
“I’m therefore pleased to advise that the UK Government has now indicated support for this proposal in principle and has committed to working with us towards its immediate launch alongside the wider UK scheme.
“This is a positive development and I hope, assuming we can agree the details, that as a start, it will allow Scotland to welcome 3000 Ukrainians to Scotland very soon.
“I will update Parliament more fully on these matters tomorrow (Wednesday).”