COSLA Response to the Situation in Ukraine
Following a meeting of COSLA’s full Convention on Friday 25th February, the COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison has written to His Excellency Andrei Kelin, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom to express Scottish Local Government’s horror at the events unfolding in Ukraine
The COSLA President said: “The COSLA Convention - the largest political gathering of local leaders in Scotland - unanimously agreed I put on record that Scottish Local Government expresses our full support to and solidarity with the Ukrainian people and our peers in local and regional government.
“The inevitable suffering being, and yet to be, caused to local communities across Ukraine by the Russian military invasion cannot be ignored. What is happening now in Kyiv, twinned with Edinburgh from where I chaired today’s meeting, is both frightening and heart-breaking.
“We in Scottish Local Government stand ready to open our arms to those in Ukraine and help them in whatever way we can.”
The letter concluded by calling on the Federation of Russia to cease its attack.
On 1st March, the Home Secretary made a statement in Parliament confirming there will be an expansion to provisions for people fleeing Ukraine. This has two strands:
1) Under the Ukrainian Family Scheme, as well as immediate family members, British nationals and people of any nationality settled in the UK will now be supported to bring parents, grandparents, adult children, siblings, and their immediate family members, to the UK. There will be no requirements for salary or language tests, but security checks will be maintained at current levels.
2) A new humanitarian sponsorship visa route will be established to allow communities and employers to bring people to the UK from Ukraine.
People in the region who are eligible under this family reunion route are encouraged to call the helpline on 0300 3032785 and to go to a Visa Application Centre in a neighbouring country to enrol biometrics once they have submitted an application.
Further information on the UK Government's response to the war in Ukraine can be found here.
You can find further information on the UK and Scottish Governments response in this briefing.
The Home Office have published guidance on the Ukraine Scheme, which allow Ukrainians (and non-Ukrainian nationals who form part of a family group which includes an immediate family member who is Ukrainian) who were resident in Ukraine before 1 January 2022 and who have family members in the UK, to apply under the scheme to come to the UK. You can access the full guidance here - Ukraine Scheme Guidance (publishing.service.gov.uk)