Ukrainian family with D&G home waiting fear return to war zone if visas are not approved

  • Report by Ciaran Fitzpatrick

A man in Dumfries & Galloway is frustrated after attempts to bring a Ukrainian family stuck in Poland to the UK have been held up.The family consists of Anna and her two sons, aged six and 10. They escaped Kharkiv in March and have been sheltering in Poland since. 

They have recently had to move to their third temporary accommodation because they were living in a basement where the farmer used to keep his dogs and it wasn't suitable.

Paul Goodwin has three rooms prepared in his St John's Town of Dalry home, with the beds made up. A PVG check has been completed and his house has passed a council inspection.

Their accommodation in Dalry has been ready for months. Credit: ITV News

The hold-up is with the mother's Permission To Travel letter.

Paul applied for all the visas on their behalf on 29 April. The boys were approved on 2 June but no-one can say what the hold up is for the mother.  

In contrast, people in Dalry have been turning up with offers of furniture and toys, local traders have offered discounts and Wheels of Fleet are helping with the overhaul of donated bikes.  

"It's as if I am trying to put money in a charity box but someone has put a padlock on and is not allowing me to help," Paul says.

Anna said: "Lovely Paul was basically filling all the documents to send in. Names, dates and things, and helped set up all meetings at the visa centre.

"So all I have to do is just arrived at the visa centre with the kids. And it was almost two months ago."

Anna is worried that she may have to return to Kharkiv if she can't get to the UK:

Anna fears hold ups with her right to travel documents could lead to her having to return to Kharkiv.

"At the minute, my place that I live, I found a better place for me and my kids," she said.

"But if we wouldn't find a place to live now, we probably would have to come back. Back in the war zone.

"Trying to find a secure place for me and my kids. And I'm hoping that this process will be as fast as possible because it's been far too long."

Paul says he feels like he's stuck in the middle and can't do anything more to get them over here.

He said: "I feel that the Anna and a boys are part of my family now, and I feel like I'm letting them down.

"I just cannot do anything to help them because the system won't let me if if there's something wrong."

Paul can't find a reason as to why there are delays.

"If somebody says the passport photograph hasn't come out or we don't believe that this is the right person or you haven't got any evidence - that's fine," he said.

Paul Goodwin says he is frustrated by the delays. Credit: ITV News

"But we say we provide it on the back of you know, nearly two months ago, all the evidence that was asked for. Nobody's come back and said there's anything wrong with any of it."

Paul is frustrated by the bureaucracy of the process, finding it absolutely "irrelevant" that he needs to fill in a form for a six year certifying he had no driving convictions.

Anna says although she cannot wait for a new life in the region, she just wants to be back home in Ukraine - where she and her boys belong.

"I hope that all my family, my father, my mother, my relatives might my people will be still alive when I come back because they are still there. I hope that our house will not be completely destroyed there. I hope that war will be finished soon."

A government spokesperson said: “More than 124,400 visas have now been issued, showing the work we’ve done to speed up the process is working and improving daily.

“The majority of applications from families are normally processed together, but cases can differ in complexity.”

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