Priti Patel the UK Home Secretary is facing legal action over Ukraine visa delays

Priti Patel, the UK home minister, is facing a barrage of court action over delays that have put thousands of Ukrainians in danger of Russian bombing or in limbo in Eastern Europe. On behalf of hundreds of Ukrainian refugees who have waited weeks to enter the UK, would-be sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine visa scheme have threatened the government with legal action. Over “inordinate and unjustified delays” in processing hundreds of visa applications submitted in March, a class action lawsuit is being drafted.

According to figures provided to the PA News Agency last week by would-be hosts, at least 800 Ukrainian refugees are still waiting for visas after applying within the first two weeks of the scheme’s launch. The action’s organizers, Vigil 4 Visas and Taking Action Over the Homes for Ukraine Visa Delays, claim that the delays have put people in Ukraine.

Lawyers for the groups are planning to send a pre-action protocol letter to the Home Office this week. “Perhaps the most striking thing I’ve noticed is the absolute misery, guilt, and sense of duty so many hosts report,” Katherine Klinger, who has helped organize vigils outside the Home Office over the last week, told PA.

“When hosts tell us what has transpired in the last six weeks — dozens of emails, phone calls, letters, travels to the Home Office, MPs’ involvement, etc. – it’s quite humbling,” says one host.

On Tuesday morning, the groups plan to launch an online Crowdfunder to gather up to £15,000 to help pay for legal fees. The legal letter will highlight ten cases of Ukrainians who have yet to receive their visas after applying in the days following the launch of the Homes for Ukraine program.