Ukrainian boy sent to Dublin to bypass 'useless' UK system, Bracknell Town boss reveals

8 March 2022, 14:26 | Updated: 8 March 2022, 14:29

By Seán Hickey

The owner of Bracknell Town FC tells LBC how, after being turned away by UK border forces in Calais, he put a Ukrainian boy he sponsored on a plane to Dublin.

Kayne Steinborn-Busse rang Shelagh Fogarty on Monday to reveal the extent of the chaos in Calais as Ukrainian migrants flee Putin's invasion. The chairman and owner of Bracknell Town FC spoke to LBC again on Tuesday to give the latest on Marco's plight.

Read more: Calais caller slams 'arrogance' of UK border force towards Ukrainian refugees

17-year-old Marco was due to come to the UK in September for a 2-year educational programme where footballing prospects train with the academy while studying for A-level or BTEC grades.

Mr Steinborn-Busse explained to Shelagh opted to sponsor Marco to accelerate his arrival to the UK, as in a couple of weeks he turns 18 – making him eligible to fight with Ukrainian forces against the Russian invasion.

Read more: Left in the cold: Ukraine refugees locked out of UK visa centre in -3C weather

Despite Marco being accompanied by his sponsor Mr Steinborn-Busse and his uncle, who lives in the UK with Marco's aunt and cousins, UK border force staff in Calais turned him away.

They then drove to Paris, where Marco and his uncle were bundled on a plane to Dublin.

"With a view of getting into the UK via Dublin?" Shelagh asked. "Absolutely", the Bracknell Town FC owner affirmed.

Read more: 'How bloody dare you!': James O'Brien attacks hypocrites amid Ukraine refugee crisis

Read more: Russian army losses due to 'poor and arrogant leadership', says Defence Secretary

Mr Steinborn-Busse hit out again at the UK's visa system for Ukrainian refugees, arguing it's putting unnecessary strain on people like Marco.

"His life's been turned upside down", he said, insisting that he can help turn Marco's life around.

He went on to explain that from Dublin, Marco "applied for a family visa" with his uncle, which he is eligible for.

"We've looked at all the advice online and it does say that he should be able to travel with his uncle with the UK today", he went on, explaining that Marco can remain in the UK for a maximum 6 months whilst his visa application is processed.

Mr Steinborn-Busse reiterated his anger at the UK's visa system for hosting Ukrainian refugees, insisting that "nobody at the immigration centre knows of this advice" that made Marco eligible to enter the UK when he was at Calais on Monday.

"At this point in time you would think there would be a daily briefing sheet" he said, offering a way in which other Ukrainians can avoid the red tape that Marco encountered.

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