UK Visa Centre For Ukrainians In Calais - Will Be 70 Miles Away In Lille

Downing Street says the new site will be set up in the "coming days".
Yui Mok - PA Images via Getty Images

The new “pop-up” visa application site for Ukrainian refugees in Calais seeking refuge in the UK will be set up 70 miles away in Lille, No.10 has confirmed.

Hundreds of Ukrainians who have reached Calais, having fled Russian’s invasion of their home country, have been told they need to travel back to Paris to apply for a visa where they face a lengthy wait.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, told MPs on Monday the Home Office was setting up a new visa centre “en route” to Calais.

Lille, near the French border with Belgium, is around an hour and a half’s drive from Calais.

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said it would be up and running “in the coming days”.

Asked what Ukrainians already in Calais should do, the spokesperson said “there is a helpline in place” and “facilities and staff in neighbouring countries to Ukraine”.

Earlier, the prime minister told a meeting of his cabinet that the government would be “as generous as we could” to Ukrainian refugees.

The Home Office disclosed on Monday night that just 300 visas have been issued out of a total of 17,700 family scheme applications that have been started, 8,900 of which have been submitted.

Over two million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, according to the United Nations.

Labour shadow Foreign Office minister Catherine West criticised the government’s efforts to offer refuge to Ukrainians, calling it a “shameful lack of humanity” and a “stain” on otherwise commendable efforts to address the crisis.


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