Caller says toddler 'hasn't had hot meal in two weeks' in 'appalling' wait for UK visa

5 April 2022, 20:29

Ukrainian in Paris grills Lord Harrington over response

By Daisy Stephens

A woman stuck in Paris with her niece and her niece's baby, who hasn't had a hot meal in two weeks, has phoned into LBC to ask the refugee minister what she should do.

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Okzna lives in Surrey but travelled to Ukraine to bring her niece and her niece's 18-month-old baby back to the UK.

The trio have been stuck in Paris for 10 days waiting to receive their visas.

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"We've been stuck here now for probably 10 days, waiting for the visa," she told Lord Richard Harrington, who is in charge of the Ukraine visa scheme.

"My question is - does anybody take into account where these people are staying, what these people are eating, where is the next meal coming from, who is paying for it all, what is the cost of it all?"

Minister speaks to caller stressed about Ukrainian family stranded

Okzna said she was running out of money and did not know what to do.

"I've been in touch with some of the parents from my school who have been really helpful and they did find accommodation for me for tomorrow, but so far I have been [funding] this all myself and I have to say my funds are not limitless," she said, pointing out that she also had not seen her own children in three weeks.

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She said she had an empty house waiting for them in Surrey and said it was "appalling" they were not allowed to use it - and also said she wanted to be able to give her space in Paris "to someone who really needs it".

"We arrived her on the 24th of March but we've been travelling from Ukraine from 21st of March," she said.

"So it's been a long way for a little baby not to have a hot meal, or even be able to wash our clothes, and do you know I have an empty house standing in Surrey there, she's my relative, and we have all the amenities there for her to be used and not to be stuck here."

She added: "It's just appalling situation."

Minister admits he doesn't know why people haven't arrived in UK

Lord Harrington said he receives reports "all the time about situations refugees are living" in and said: "We know things are not good, and 10 days of waiting is not acceptable."

He added: "This isn't your problem, you want it dealt with, and I can apologise, and I'm trying to sort it out."