Ukrainian refugee crisis

Visa-free asylum now

Make the super-rich pay

Akhalya, Birmingham south west socialist party

Since February, we have been watching in horror as civilian homes and facilities in Ukraine are bombed by Putin’s regime, leaving thousands dead and injured. We are seeing a major refugee crisis unfolding in Ukraine as a direct consequence of the Russian invasion.

At the time of writing, it is estimated that 4.8 million Ukrainians are displaced either within the country or as refugees overseas, fleeing war.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Ukrainian refugees have only been able to find safety in Britain if they have a close relative here, or if they “apply to be fruit pickers”, as suggested by one Tory minister. Thousands of refugees have been left stranded by the government’s visa catastrophe.

Homes for Ukraine

Now, the new ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme asks people to offer accommodation to Ukrainian refugees for £350 a month as a “thank you”. There has been an outpouring of generosity and solidarity from working-class people in Britain and across Europe. But Ukrainian refugees should not need to rely on the goodwill of ordinary people already facing a cost-of-living crisis!

Governments must be made to provide refugees with high-quality homes, jobs and services.  The billions of pounds of assets held by Russian oligarchs in Britain could be used to house refugees and fund services. But why stop there? Seize the assets of all the super-rich who have their assets ‘owned’ by shell companies registered in tax havens.

The Tories reveal their real attitude to refugees in the Nationality and Borders Bill which gives the government power to strip British citizens of their citizenship. In addition, the bill would criminalise anyone arriving in the UK by an ‘illegal’ route, such as by a small boat across the Channel. They could receive a four-year jail sentence and have no recourse to public funds.

Refugees from Ukraine, and other conflicts like the war in Yemen, should have access to safety and a decent quality of life. Under democratic control of workers and trade unions, immigration policies could be decided in the interests of the workers, not the bosses. That would include ensuring access to homes, jobs and services for all.