Exclusif: Public still more likely to support Ukrainian refugees compared to Afghans and Syrians
Public support for Ukrainian réfugiés is already waning in Britain, polling suggests as the war continues to rage.
Polling by YouGov shows that in March, three quarters of people supported resettling Ukrainians in the UK and 42 per cent thought the figure should be in the tens of thousands “at least”.
But the figures have now dropped to 71 per cent of people supporting resettlement, avec 29 per cent wanting to see tens of thousands of refugees welcomed.
There is no resettlement scheme for Ukrainian refugees, with the government instead offering three-year visas that do not amount to a grant of asylum, to people who have relatives in the UK or are sponsored by volunteers.
Jusqu'à présent, il y a eu 175,100 applications to the scheme, 148,300 of which have been granted, et 91,000 Ukraine visa holders have arrived in the UK.
Ministers set up a bespoke Afghan resettlement process following the Taliban takeover last year, but YouGov’s polling shows that only half the public support it.
The scheme, which started in January, has been applied to some of the 15,000 people who were already in the UK after being evacuated from Afghanistan.
Although the figures have fallen, the research indicates that British people are more supportive of Ukrainian refugees than those from other nations.
YouGov said its research suggested that the “British public feel less generous and more morally conflicted about refugees from Afghanistan, Syrie and Somalia, compared to Ukraine, with Conservative voters particularly likely to take a harder stance on refugees from these countries”.
When asked the same question for each nationality, 71 per cent of people said they would support resettling Ukrainian refugees, half said they would support resettling Afghan refugees, 48 per cent said they would support resettling Syrians and 40 per cent would support the same for Somalian refugees.
The figures are particularly stark for Conservative voters. While almost three quarters welcomed Ukrainian refugees, seul 37 per cent said the same for Afghans, under a third for Syrians and a fifth for Somalis.
Tory supporters were also more likely to see Afghan, Syrian and Somali refugees as “a threat” than Labour supporters or the public at large, although just 5 per cent thought the same for Ukrainians.
Conservatives were also less likely to believe the UK has a “moral obligation” to offer asylum.
The Reset Communities and Refugees charity said it was still receiving a “high level of interest” from people offering to accommodate Ukrainians in their homes.
But chief executive Kate Brown added: “We know levels of interest change according to the news agenda and cost of living pressures, and that compassion fatigue can also set in.
“Even so, we are continuing to see high levels of interest from people in hosting Ukrainian people in their own homes, having trained more than 3,000 sponsors under our Homes for Ukraine matching service.
"À la fois, we have had record numbers of applications from volunteer community sponsorship groups coming together to welcome refugees from a range of countries.”
Tim Naor Hilton, the chief executive of Refugee Action, mentionné: “The only thing that should matter in our refugee protection policy is a person’s need for protection. There is no wrong type of refugee.
“We believe that the public has huge compassion for those seeking safety. pourtant, it is the government that has sought to stoke up divisions by pitting one group of refugees against another, setting up bespoke resettlement schemes for some while creating an ugly deportation plan to Rwanda for others.
“What we need is a refugee protection system that is built on compassion for all those that need it.”
YouGov carried out its polling between 19 et 25 May and weighted the results.