UK-raine ; we open our borders and our homes

This is good news and proof that we can do peacefully , what we cannot do with violence, bring help to the people of Ukraine. Within weeks,  Britain will know Ukrainians much better, let’s think of ourselves for the next few years as UK-raine.

The Government has done the right thing and fulfilled on the first point of its 6 point plan, providing the humanitarian aid it can. It got off to a slow start and initially misjudged the mood of the nation and the dire situation in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, but it now looks as if we will be able to ease the strain not just on the refugees but on neighbour nations such as Moldova and Poland.

Until Monday, only Ukrainians with family links to the UK could apply for visas that would give them access to work and benefits.

But on Monday, the levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, announced that sponsors could bring any Ukrainian to the UK to live in their home for a minimum of six months, for which they would receive a £350 monthly payment.

Under the scheme, refugees would be allowed to live and work in the UK for up to three years and receive full and unrestricted access to benefits, healthcare, employment and other support.

This is the “Great” in “Great Britain” and shows that despite all that has been said about protecting our borders, we have still the generosity to help where we feel the need is critical. Sadly that feeling is selective, there remain many economic and political refugees from countries , less European than Ukraine, who await entry, enduring harsh conditions and too little of our sympathy. I hope that we will extend our compassion to all who wait.

My worry is that the current wave of sympathy breaks and disperses with too little force to fulfill on the initial promise. It is important that there are not bureaucratic restrictions in place to protect Britain from the odd false face. We must operate an open-border policy so that people are housed as quickly as possible and not after weeks of vetting. We are, at least in this, part of a war effort.

So I hope that planes , trains and boats will be arriving here with visa-less Ukrainians , clutching what little they can carry and minimal means of personal identification.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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