NICOLA Sturgeon backed a plea for Ukrainian refugees stranded by sub-zero temperatures outside a UK visa application center in Poland.
TV presenter Lorraine Kelly has urged officials to ‘open the door’ after a video of people being frozen in a queue was shared online.
Those queuing, including children and the elderly, are in the southeastern town of Rzezsow trying to apply for entry into the UK.
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LBC reporter Matthew Thompson, who shared the video, tweeted: “It’s -3 degrees. People have been waiting in this queue for 3 hours. There are children here. An 84-year-old woman.
“And plenty of room inside, but they won’t open the door.”
Kelly replied on Twitter: “Open the door effing.”
His post was then shared by the Prime Minister, who later told Parliament: “Refuge and sanctuary first – bureaucracy second. Let people in and do the paperwork second. Let us not only open our hearts, but also our doors.”
Open the effervescent door https://t.co/4M57Pxh6dQ
— Lorraine (@reallorraine) March 8, 2022
Thompson added: “People in the queue here are all saying the same thing. If they lived in France or Germany, they wouldn’t need to be here at all. They could simply take their loved ones with them.
“The UK literally left them out.”
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The Home Office, responding to the reporter, said it was unable to let more people into the building because it was not the owner. Officials said they were trying to convince the owner to let more people in.
Meanwhile, in the Commons, Tory MP Tracey Crouch said she had been told there were no appointments available for biometrics testing at the Rzezsow visa application center until the end next month.
Home Secretary Kevin Foster said his department “continues to look at how we can scale up and increase the capacity of our application centers in the region”.
About a million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland since the conflict began last month.
The country’s government has announced plans to set up a £1.34 billion fund for people fleeing Ukraine, including providing a one-time payment of £50 for each refugee.
The UK government, meanwhile, had only accepted around 50 visa applications as of Monday evening.