Teignmouth family's 'Ukraine escape attempt' ordeal 

Torbay Weekly

Ten days after we applied to bring our grandchildren, aged 2 and 5, to England via the UK Government's Ukraine Family Scheme, they remain in that war-torn country.

Despite all the current 'host a Ukrainian' publicity, the UK Government seems to be doing its very best to make sure my grandchildren don't get here!

Within hours of Priti Patel's March 4 Family Scheme announcement, my son in law, Vladislav, 'successfully submitted' an application to the Family Scheme on behalf of our daughter in law, Lesia, and our grandchildren, Vlad jnr, 5, and Viktoria, 2.

But there was a catch.....to fully complete the process they had to make an appointment to visit a Visa Centre (in Bucharest, Romania, in our case).

So he tried.....many times....to make that appointment. Day after day, after day, no appointments were available!

On March 13, my Ukrainian-born, British wife, Lena, flew to Romania and travelled on to her son's home, in a village near the Ukraine/Romania border, to help Viktoria, Vlad jnr and Lesia escape the danger they are in.

Today, March 15, the Family Scheme was supposed to be upgraded so that Ukrainian passport holders would be able to apply online (again) and come to the UK without the need to visit a Visa Centre. (But, as of 1pm today there was still no update on GOV.UK).

Great! Lesia has a passport.....but her children don't.

And what the UK Government has managed to keep very quiet is that children (even babies and toddlers) need a passport, too!

So it's back to the visa centre.....which you can't get an appointment for!

It could be relatively simple (albeit, after queuing for many hours at the Ukrainian border). They could get to Northern Romania, jump on a plane and land in London in about three hours.

But the UK Government appears to want them to spend several nights, who knows where, travelling overland for more than a thousand miles through Romania, Hungary, Austria and Germany to reach France or Belgium, where they will (hopefully, at some point) be able to attend a visa centre in either Paris or Brussels.

Do a two-year old and a five-year old, fleeing a war zone, really have to be put through this ordeal, so unnecessarily, just so Priti Patel can be convinced they are not terrorists?

The Torbay Weekly has approached the Home Office for a comment.

Written by Teignmouth resident Chris Clarke.