British host’s anger after visa denied for 11-year-old Ukrainian girl fleeing war

British host’s anger after visa denied for 11-year-old Ukrainian girl fleeing war
The 11-year-old girl was forced to return to Ukraine after her visa was rejected by the Home Office

UNE Britanique host who volunteered for the Homes for Ukraine scheme has hit out at Priti Patel for denying a visa to an 11-year-old girl fleeing the war.

The young Ukrainian girl, called Alisa Miroshyna, was meant to be travelling from Pologne to the UK with her aunt and niece but she has had her visa denied because the government views her as an “unaccompanied minor”.

In a turn of events branded “appalling” by her British host Nick Anderson, young Alisa has been forced to travel back to Dnipro, Ukraine with her mother Kateryna, who is serving in the Ukrainian armed forces.

Her aunt, Viktoria Sochka, 39, and cousin Anasatasiia, 14, have now been granted visas by the Home Office and are expected to arrive in Doncaster tomorrow. However their arrival will be “bittersweet”, Mr Anderson said, because the 11-year-old Alisa will not be with them.

<p>Nick Anderson, 60, said the home secretary was ‘totally incompetent’ after the Home Office rejected a visa for an 11-year-old Ukrainian </p>

Nick Anderson, 60, said the home secretary was ‘totally incompetent’ after the Home Office rejected a visa for an 11-year-old Ukrainian

Semi-retired financial adviser Nick Anderson, 60, and his partner Karen Jones, 54, had offered their spare rooms to the family under the government’s Home for Ukraine scheme.

They connected with the Ukrainian family through a website matching hosts and refugees and applied for their visas when the trio were sill in Dnipro. In preparation the council have assessed the couple’s home and made sure they had the relevant DBS checks.

11-year-old Alisa travelled with her aunt and niece by train from Ukraine to Poland to try and find safety after the Russian invasion. Both of her parents are serving in the Ukrainian army.

<p>Ukraine army public affairs officer Valentin Yermolenko walks in front of a destroyed shoe factory following an airstrike in Dnipro</p>

Ukraine army public affairs officer Valentin Yermolenko walks in front of a destroyed shoe factory following an airstrike in Dnipro

<p>A destroyed shoe factory in Dnipro - the city which 11-year-old Alisa has travelled back to </p>

A destroyed shoe factory in Dniprothe city which 11-year-old Alisa has travelled back to

Speaking about the visa rejection, Nick Anderson said: “Our government rejected the girl who needs it most because her parents are fighting. They’ve sent her back into a war zone. I’m absolutely disgusted. It’s like Schindlers list in reverse. It’s appalling.”

He explained that the application had been rejected by the Home Office because “the government classes her as an unaccompanied minor”. “All Victoria (her aunt) is trying to do is take her to a place of safety,” Mr Anderson added.

He branded home secretary Priti Patel as “totally incompetent”, en disant: “She should resign, she is the antithesis of Oscar Schindler.”

<p>A pedestrian walks along a street past anti-tank obstacles shortly before a curfew in Dnipro </p>

A pedestrian walks along a street past anti-tank obstacles shortly before a curfew in Dnipro

“I got the refusal for a visa on Thursday afternoon," il a continué. “We’ve been trying for a visa since the 20th March, which is two days after the scheme went live. It’s just been appalling really.”

“They could easily take this girl in but they’ve just decided no. It’s arbitrary. There’s no reason why this little girl has to be sent back to a warzone instead of coming to a place of safety with her aunty and her cousin," il a dit.

<p>Nick Anderson with his daughters Sarah and Louise. </p>

Nick Anderson with his daughters Sarah and Louise.

Describing the family’s living conditions in Poland, Mr Anderson said: “They’ve been living in a hostel in one room. Another family, a mother and a son, were also living in that room but they’ve since left for Edinburgh. Now they’ve got another family in with them and they are crying all the time.

“How can you send an 11-year-old girl back into Ukraine when Russia is blowing up civilian targets?” he asked.

“How can you send a girl back into that?"

Un porte-parole du gouvernement a déclaré: “It’s tragic that children have been caught up in Putin’s war, which is why we are extending the Homes for Ukraine scheme to allow children and minors who have already applied through the scheme to come to the UK without a parent or guardian.

“We will be contacting people with further detail on eligibility and requirements, ahead of the changes to the scheme.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up which is handling visa applications for the Home Office told Mail Online, who originally reported the story, that they were unable to comment on Alisa’s case.

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