Thousands of refugees from Ukraine have come to the UK since Russia invaded the country in February.
The UK Government and Scottish Government launched slightly different schemes to assist refugees from the conflict, and Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer promoted the work of the Scottish Government’s scheme in a post on social media.
Ferret Fact Service looked into this claim and found it False.
The UK Government announced two new ways in which Ukrainians could enter the UK in March 2022.
The first was the Ukraine Family Scheme, which allowed Ukrainian nationals to join family members who are British citizens or are settled in the UK. The second was the Homes for Ukraine scheme, in which British citizens can sponsor Ukrainians to get visas by signing up to provide space in their homes for those fleeing the country. Displaced Ukrainians could match with hosts, and if a successful match was found they were issued visas to live in the UK in their sponsor’s home.
The Scottish Government decided to add to the Homes for Ukraine scheme with its own ‘super sponsor’ plan. This was intended to allow Ukrainians to get a visa without the need to find a private sponsor beforehand. This scheme was launched on 18 March 2022, but was paused on 13 July due to a lack of available temporary accommodation.
Ross Greer’s tweet was posted after the announcement of the super sponsor scheme being paused, and claimed Scotland had taken in 20 per cent of all the Ukrainian refugees that had arrived in the UK, despite making up only eight per cent of the population.
However, according to the latest UK Government statistics, 95,400 visa-granted people have arrived in the UK as of 11 July. Of these 29,700 arrived via the Ukraine Family Scheme, and 65,600 via the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme. Using closely comparable figures from the UK Government, 8,234 had arrived in Scotland by 12 July.
Figures for those who have arrived in Scotland via the Ukraine Family Scheme are not available, but it is likely that a proportion of those who arrived have reunited with family in Scotland.
This equates to just over 12 per cent of the total who have arrived in the UK under the various sponsorship schemes. Sixty-six per cent (about two-thirds) are sponsored by the Scottish Government under the super sponsor scheme.
We cannot say for sure how many Ukrainians have come to Scotland via the family scheme as this is dependent on where Ukrainian nationals were living in the UK prior to the conflict. Estimates suggests there may have been approximately 1,000 Ukrainians living in Scotland in 2021.
It’s possible Greer intended to compare the number of visas which had been issued. These are Ukrainians who are not yet in the country but may be incoming in the coming weeks and months.
The UK has issued 155,600 visas under the various schemes, with 24,564 issued in Scotland. Just under 16 per cent of the visas issued are for Ukrainians coming to Scotland under the home sponsorship or super sponsor scheme. When compared to the UK’s total visas issued under the sponsorship and super sponsorship programmes, Scotland accounts for around 22 per cent.
The Scottish visa super sponsor scheme accounts for 20,605 of those visas, which is nearly 84 per cent.
Ferret Fact Service verdict: False
Ross Greer’s claim that Scotland has taken in 20 per cent of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived here is not accurate. According to the latest figures, Scotland has taken in around 12 per cent of those who have arrived so far under sponsorship schemes. Of the visas issued, Scotland accounts for about 22 per cent, so the percentage of Ukrainians accepted by Scotland relative to the UK may increase in coming weeks and months.
Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, and a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. Want to suggest a fact check? Go to community.theferret.scot, email us at email@example.com or join our Facebook group.
Correction: This fact check was updated to account for the unknown proportion of visas issued under the family scheme for Ukrainians reuniting with family in Scotland.