The government came under fire after Tory MP Tracy Crouch announced there are no available appointments at UK’s refugee application centre in Rzeszow, Poland until the end of April.
The Independent’s political editor Rob Merrick shared Crouch’s warning amid an already huge public backlash over the UK Home Office’s response to Ukraine’s refugee crisis – sparking even more reactions.
International Security fellow Benjamin Tallis said: “Almost like it would be worth overriding the usual arrangements to deal with this exceptional situation.
“UK also needs to remember that capacity constraints are not a legit reason for defaulting on humanitarian obligations.”
“The bureaucracy this wretched government is forcing on people who are literally running for their lives is sickening and despicable,” journalist Georgia Lewis said.
International refugee law specialist Daniel Sohege added: “Once more for those at the back: WAIVE THE DAMN VISAS!”
One Twitter user suggested the lack of appointments is “completely by design”, labelling it “utterly disgraceful” and “shameful”. “Deliberate obstacles at every turn, to try to frustrate the process and hope people go elsewhere.”
Another user said: “A family reunion visa is not a refugee policy. This approach is not fit for purpose.”
A third added: “Phew! Imagine when the next appointment would have been if we’d still been in the EU and hamstrung by their terrible bureaucracy…”
Meanwhile, in Eastern and Central Europe…
Priti Patel told MPs that more than 14,000 people have applied to come to the UK via the Ukraine family scheme visa.
So far only 300 have been approved, with nearly 600 refugees stuck in Calais after being turned away for lack of paperwork.
Meanwhile, Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest states, has taken in over 100,000 refugees since the war in Ukraine started, according to media reports.
The country’s prime minister says every eigth child in the country is now a refugee as it battles to house people fleeing the war waged by Russia.
Elsewhere, Romania, which neighbours both Moldova and Ukraine, said that as of Sunday, 227,000 Ukrainians had entered the country.
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said “no Ukrainian will be denied entry into Romania”, whilst warning that Bucharest believes the situation “will continue for a long time and the complications will worsen”.
“We believe that this humanitarian catastrophe will spread, that a lot of help will be needed here, but also in Ukraine,” Iohannis added.
Meanwhile, Poland has received an extraordinary number of Ukrainian refugees: over one million, prompting The Spectator to call it a “humanitarian superpower”.
Despite the figures, prime minister Boris Johnson claimed “no country in Europe has done more to settle vulnerable people, since 2015, than the UK” whilst saying the UK is “surging officials into the border countries to help people to come”.