THE Scottish Government says it is “meeting daily” with the UK Government to urge it to "move faster" on granting visas to refugees fleeing the horror of war in Ukraine. 

Charities have also criticised the Tory government’s response to the crisis as “meagre and sluggish”, particularly compared to the help being given to those fleeing the war by other countries such as Ireland.

Fewer than one in ten applications to accommodate Ukrainian refugees in homes across the UK have been approved so far, it has been reported.

While more than 20,000 visa applications have been submitted under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Home Office sources told The Times below 2,000 have been accepted.

Around 13,500 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland so far, which has dropped any requirements for checks or visas and pledged not to cap numbers.

READ MORE: Glasgow based charity says none of the refugees it is helping have received visas

Gary Christie, head of policy, communities and communications at the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “Since the war in Ukraine began, the UK Government’s response has been meagre and sluggish. 

“Compared to Ireland which adopted a swift visa waiver programme to allow thousands of people to reach safety, the UK’s bureaucratic response is an international outlier. 

“These latest findings about the efficacy of the UK Government's response are appalling but sadly, not surprising.”

Christie said the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine programme managed to be “both a mix of a visa bureaucracy and a lack of appropriate safeguards”. 

He added: ”Its slow response to this crisis demands immediate action.

“We are continuing to work with colleagues in the Scottish Government to make sure that as many people are able to rebuild their lives in Scotland, and that all those feeling the conflict whether through its super sponsor route, family route or private sponsorship receive the same welcome and offer of support.”

The Home Office has defended its response and the numbers of visas issued so far, saying that process for checks had been set up within days, officials were working through the night to process visas.  More than 150,000 members of the public across the UK have offered to accommodate a refugee.

READ MORE: Scottish Super Sponsor scheme has more than 1000 refugee applications

A Scottish Government spokesperson said people from Ukraine can apply to stay in the UK through two sponsorship routes - the Homes for Ukraine scheme or the Family Scheme.

“It is heart-warming so many people in Scotland and the UK have offered to open their homes as part of this,” the spokesperson said.

“However, from the start we voiced concerns that this process may be too slow, due to the need to find a specific sponsor through Homes for Ukraine before being able to apply for a visa.

“That is why we established our super sponsor scheme which means people can choose Scottish Government as their sponsor, and we can welcome people here immediately.

 “We now need to see significant acceleration in applications becoming granted visas, so we can welcome people to Scotland and give them the support they need. 

“The Scottish Government is meeting daily with the UK Government to emphasise the need to move faster given the horrific situation for people fleeing Ukraine.”