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Which European Countries Are Taking The Most Ukrainian Refugees?

Which European Countries Are Taking The Most Ukrainian Refugees?


2 min read

The UK has been heavily criticised for taking a much lower proportion of refugees from Ukraine than its European counterparts — here is how many refugees are being offered a home in countries across Europe.

Latest UN estimates suggest as many as 2.3 million people had fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on 24 February. 

Most of those leaving have headed to countries neighbouring Ukraine, but some have begun to make their way to other nations in Europe.

Poland has taken the most refugees so far with 1.4 million in the country, equivalent to 3.7% of the country’s population.

Other countries taking a high proportion of refugees in relation to their population include Slovakia, Moldova and the Czech Republic.

Hungary has taken in over 214,000 Ukrainians fleeing the conflict — equal to around 2.2% of its popoulation — despite the country's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's previously hardline stance on immigration. 

Ireland, Greece, Croatia and Luxembourg are among countries that have taken significant numbers, despite being thousands of miles from Ukraine.

The Irish government announced on 8 March that 2,200 Ukrainians had arrived in Ireland to date, around 0.046% of the country’s population.

Luxembourg, meanwhile, has taken 250 refugees despite having a population of only 604,000.

By comparison, the UK has issued visas to 957 Ukrainians so far, equal to around 0.001% of the population.

Priti Patel pledged earlier this week to publish the numbers of refugees coming to the UK following claims that only a small number had been approved.

It was reported on Sunday that only 50 visas had been issued under the Ukraine family scheme, but this figure has since risen to almost 1,000. Around 22,000 Ukrainians are thought to have applied to the British scheme so far.

The government has faced heavy criticism for its slow reaction to the Ukrainian refugee crisis. 

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier this week that Boris Johnson’s government is 
“not doing anywhere near enough” to help those fleeing “horror” of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

She claimed it was “unconscionable” that those who have made difficult journeys to escape the fighting and shelling had to “jump through bureaucratic hoops” before they can enter the UK.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK criticised the bureaucracy of the British visa process, saying it had been a problem long before the current conflict. 

He told MPs that the UK had previously “stuck out of the crowd” by having much stricter visa policies for Ukrainian citizens than the EU and US.

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