Briton spends £3,000 on hotel for Ukrainian woman and daughter as they wait weeks for visa

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Refugees from Ukraine are seen at the Polish/Ukrainian border crossing in Medyka (Picture does not show Maryna or her daughter Anna)  (AFP via Getty Images)
Refugees from Ukraine are seen at the Polish/Ukrainian border crossing in Medyka (Picture does not show Maryna or her daughter Anna) (AFP via Getty Images)

A British man has spent more than £3,000 to help a woman and teenage girl who fled Ukraine and are stuck in an Amsterdam hotel awaiting a UK Visa.

Clive Smith, from Northumberland, told the Daily Mirror that he had paid for a hotel for Maryna and her 14-year-old daughter Anna after they fled Kyiv last month and is ready to welcome them to his home.

Anna is still waiting for her UK visa to be issued over three weeks after applying, the newspaper reported.

Mr Smith, their sponsor, told the Mirror: “It’s just beyond the pale. It’s a real c***-up. The daughter is traumatised, she’s spending all her time in her room, she believes she’s responsible for the delay.”

Ministers have faced criticism for the slow pace at which many visa applications for Ukrainians are progressing.

Around 16,400 people had arrived in the UK under Ukraine visa schemes by Monday, according to Government figures. About 13,200 had arrived under the Ukraine family scheme and 3,200 under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, provisional data shows.

Some 94,700 applications have been received for both schemes and 56,500 visas had been granted by Thursday, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Home Office said.

Mr Smith said that Maryna and Anna had fled to Kyiv in 2014 after their hometown in the Donbas region was invaded by pro-Russian troops.

They were again forced to flee their home in the Ukrainian capital on March 1 - just days after Vladimir Putin invaded the country. Both were forced to spend two days in a freezing railway station before they could board a train to safety, the Mirror said.

But Mr Smith does not know when he will be able to welcome them nearly six weeks later, according to the newspaper. He faces spending a further £1,000 if they are forced to remain in the Dutch capital over the weekend.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, told the newspaper: “Asking Ukrainian families, who are scared, exhausted, and traumatised to fill out a long, and complex visa application is unacceptable and totally out of touch with the terrifying situation they find themselves in.”

A government spokesperson said: “The Home Office has made changes to visa processing - the application form has been streamlined, Ukrainian passport holders can now apply online and do their biometrics checks once in the UK, and greater resource has gone into the system.”

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