Doncaster couple's fury at Ukraine red tape 'shambles' as they bid to host refugees

A Doncaster couple looking forward to welcoming refugees from the war in Ukraine into their home have hit out at the Government’s visa scheme as a ‘shambles’ and an ‘absolute nightmare.’

By Darren Burke
Monday, 21st March 2022, 12:33 pm

More than 10 million people in Ukraine are now said to have been displaced since the war began more than three weeks ago, with thousands hoping to seek refuge in the UK.

Last week, the Government announced its plans for people in Britain to be able to take in people fleeing Russia’s brutal invasion.

But the scheme has come in for criticism, including a Doncaster couple hoping to take in a Ukrainian mum and her children.

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Refugees from Ukraine are being hampered in their bid to come to the UK by red tape. (Photo: Getty).

Lee Havenhand, 33, and his wife Rebecca, 30, are preparing to share their three-bedroom home with a mother and two daughters.

The couple, who live near Doncaster were ‘matched’ with the family through a Facebook site and were inspired to help after having visited Ukraine regularly for holidays.

Engineer Mr Havenhand said he helped the family, from Lviv in western Ukraine, with the visa process by filling in the required forms for them.

But he added: ‘It’s a good job we did because the forms are an absolute nightmare. They took us six hours because of the amount of information and evidence that is required.

‘It asks for children’s birth certificates – which is a problem for many people who have already fled their homes. They also ask for proof of father’s consent, which is not always possible if he has gone off to fight in the war.

‘It’s a shambles. We just have to cross our fingers that it is going to go through soon.’

It comes as it was revealed that Ukrainian refugees waiting for UK visas are being forced to sleep rough amid anger over red tape delays.

Under the first phase of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Britons can sponsor refugees for a visa and offer them a rent-free room in their house.

Once a host family has been found, refugees must complete visa application forms – providing identity documents and answers to detailed questions in English. There is then a further wait before the visa is issued, with government information saying the process can take up to six weeks.