Espreso. Global

Ukrainian refugees in UK fall victim to visa fraud — media

26 December, 2023 Tuesday
10:15

Cases of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK with fake visas have become more frequent. People are becoming victims of fraud en masse

The Independent reported the information.

According to the charity organization Settled, the visas cannot be identified as fraudulent in appearance, as Ukrainians are allowed to travel by airline employees. However, border guards do not consider these documents valid.

Once the fake visas are detected, Ukrainian refugees become illegal migrants and their passports are confiscated. Border officials are increasingly granting Ukrainians six-month visas, but they are denied access to housing and benefits.

The UK Home Office has said it is constantly working to identify and prevent this fraud, which it blames on organized crime groups.

Settled has called on the Home Office to issue clear instructions to Border Agency officers on how to issue temporary visa stamps to deceived Ukrainians.

Stan Benes, managing director of the charity organization OPORA, also often encounters Ukrainians who have become victims of visa scams. According to him, fraudsters often offer refugees to enter the UK through Ireland, as Ukrainians do not always know that Ireland is not part of the UK.

"We try to make it as clear as possible in our communications that the Ukraine scheme visas are free, and that people need to have connected with a legitimate UK-based sponsor to apply," he emphasized.

The British Red Cross also reported that it was aware of a small number of cases where the British, who were supposed to take in Ukrainians, paid for their travel to the country with a specific job offer upon arrival. However, later it turned out that the terms of employment differed significantly from those originally agreed upon.

"We have also heard this being the case in situations where the added cost of living (utility bills, food costs) associated with hosting a family is used as the reason to put people to work in an exploitative way," the Red Cross added.

Other charitable organizations have previously warned that landlords of houses where Ukrainians live issue inflated bills. This forces people to work in an exploitative manner.

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