A British host offering his home to a family of five Ukrainians has accused the Government of making its visa scheme “as difficult as possible” for those who are “desperate to help”.
Neil Adams, 54, has offered his house in Wigan, Manchester, to a husband, wife and their children after they were forced to flee their home in Berdychiv, in the Zhytomyrska region of northern Ukraine.
He applied for their visas through the Homes for Ukraine scheme on March 20 but has been waiting over a month for them to be approved.
I mean the British people have stepped up to the plate and are desperate to help, but the government seem to be doing as much as possible to make it as difficult as possible to help
“I got in touch with the family via Facebook and we submitted all the paperwork … but the process has just been so painfully slow,” Mr Adams told the PA news agency.
“It is all a massive frustration. Maybe this is just the cynic in me but it seems like the process is deliberately long and complex to put people off.
“It makes me feel ashamed, at least of our government.
“I mean the British people have stepped up to the plate and are desperate to help, but the government seem to be doing as much as possible to make it as difficult as possible to help.”
Mr Adams, who is a senior lecturer at London South Bank University, is rearranging his home to accommodate the family in three bedrooms.
He said the couple have four children, aged between four and 18, but their eldest daughter has decided to stay in the war-torn country after her husband was told to stay in Ukraine and fight.
“They are a slightly complex family in that Mum and Dad are from Uzbekistan, although they had permanent residence in Ukraine, and all of the kids, three daughters and a four-year-old son, were born in Ukraine,” Mr Adams said.
“The dad did not have to stay and fight because he is not a Ukrainian national.
“I have decluttered the upstairs of my home and offered them two double rooms and a single room to stay in, and I am going to move downstairs.
“I’ve got a good mate in Belgium and he’s sort of accommodating the family while we try and sort this nightmare process out.”
A Government spokesperson said: “Thanks to the generosity of the public who have offered their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the war and through our Ukraine Family Scheme, more than 71,800 visas have been granted with 21,600 Ukrainians arriving safely in the UK.
“We are processing thousands of visas a day – this shows the changes we made to streamline the service are working and we’ll continue to build on this success so we can speed up the process even further.”