Guardian UK: Priti Patel faces legal action from Ukrainians stuck in visa backlog

The Guardian reports

The UK home secretary, Priti Patel, is facing mass legal action over delays that have left thousands of Ukrainians at risk of trauma and Russian bombs, or in limbo in eastern Europe.

A class action lawsuit is being prepared on behalf of hundreds of Ukrainians who applied to travel to the UK weeks ago but whose cases have been stuck in a “chaotic” visa backlog, the Guardian has learned.

Charities including Save the Children and the Refugee Council said the Homes for Ukraine programme must be overhauled urgently as it was endangering vulnerable children and adding “trauma on top of existing trauma” since Russia’s invasion.

The chronic delays have been compounded by the Home Office approving many visas but failing to notify the successful applicants. The government admitted on Thursday it was aware of the problem after MPs from the across the Commons raised concerns about families waiting up to five weeks for news of their application.

According to the latest government figures, 59,000 people have had visas approved but have not yet arrived in the UK. Only 15% of the 74,700 Ukrainians who applied under the sponsorship route have made it to Britain.

A large number of those who have not yet arrived will be people waiting for other family members to receive their visas before travelling; children’s applications usually take longer because the UK requires them to undergo security scans if they do not have their own international passport.

However, a significant proportion of the 59,000 Ukrainians will be people who have had visas approved but have not been informed of the approval