Dozens of visas have been approved for Ukrainian refugees to stay with nominated households in East Ayrshire, according to new figures.

But this may not reflect the true number of Ukrainians heading to the area, with thousands of the visas granted across the country sponsored by the Scottish Government, to support refugees more quickly.

The Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, also known as Homes for Ukraine, allows citizens to volunteer to house refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Sponsors agree to offer accommodation for at least six months, with those receiving sponsorship allowed to live, work and study in the UK for up to three years.

Home Office data shows as of Tuesday (April 26), the number of visas issued for sponsors based in East Ayrshire stood at 41 – up from six as of April 6, when local figures on the scheme were first published.

Local authority figures cover refugees who have already been linked with a named sponsor prior to their arrival.

But around 3,000 of the 5,200 visas issued in Scotland fall under the Scottish Government’s “super sponsorship” scheme, where applicants do not have to be matched with a named sponsor. It means local figures are likely to be an underestimate.