Priti Patel ‘clashes with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’ in a Ukraine visa row

32,000 people applied for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, but only 500 have arrived in the UK

Published

Priti Patel and Liz Truss are reportedly butting heads amid attempts to resolve the backlog in visas for Ukrainian refugees.

The Foreign Secretary was said to rebuff Ms Patel’s request for more staff to speed up the processing of applications, creating tension between the two.

While 32,000 people have applied for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, 4,700 people have been granted visas and only 500 have arrived in the UK.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
Home Secretary Priti Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel

The Home Office, which has more than 36,000 staff, has assigned just 300 to process visas for Ukrainian refugees.

A government source said the Home Secretary requested extra “manpower” from Ms Truss’ staff.

The source said to The Times: "Priti thinks the Foreign Office has failed to provide any help. She wants manpower to help process visas.

"But the Foreign Office says it is really stretched at the moment. It's basically saying, 'Back off, Priti, it's your problem'".

HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions co-operated on the request and provided additional staff.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme opened on March 14, with the aim of allowing individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to bring Ukrainians – including those with no family ties to the UK – to safety.

However, Britain retains a visa requirement on security grounds while other European countries have waived checks in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion.