Ukraine: Several hundred refugees could come to Fife as council offers safe haven

Early estimates suggest “several hundred” Ukrainian refugees could head to Fife over the coming months as they flee the horrors of the Russian invasion.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 3:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 3:09 pm

Councillors have been given an update on Fife Council’s plans to welcome those who have been displaced by the conflict in eastern Europe, with modelling currently being based on the number of family members who may seek to join the estimated 124 Ukrainians who are already resident in the region.

At Thursday’s full council meeting, Fife formally agreed its stance on welcoming Ukrainian refugees through any available visa scheme, and confirmed plans to make a specific commitment to COSLA in relation to the number of Ukrainian refugees that Fife Council can support.

And a multi-agency group of officers known as the Resettlement Core Group has once again been brought together to co-ordinate Fife’s response, having already successfully collaborated to bring Afghan families, Syrian refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to the Kingdom.

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A protester with a Ukranian flag demonstrates outside the United Nations headquarters in New York (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

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Councillors also heard that a number of Fifers have made offers of support to host Ukrainian families in their homes once they arrive in Scotland, and that list will be maintained and used “as and when necessary” as the numbers coming to the region rise.

Head of housing John Mills acknowledged that Fife’s own housing pressures are “not insignificant”, and there therefore needed to be a balance between meeting statutory duties and responding to a range of other priorities and pressures.

But he added: “It is currently not possible to provide a specific number of Ukrainian refugees who could potentially come to Fife, but it could be several hundred depending on the rate of evacuation over the coming weeks and months.

Mr Mills also made clear that there would be no expectation that Fife residents would be asked to accommodate any refugee within their home - although there have been early offers to do so.

Fife is also awaiting more information on the UK government’s commitment to establishing a humanitarian sponsorship pathway, where people from Ukraine who do not have family ties here or do not meet the UK government’s family visa scheme criteria can be sponsored to come by willing and able individuals, businesses, or community organisations.

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