Ukrainian refugees in Poland is frustrated and confused by British asylum rules, which they say are emerging designed more keep people out than offer shelter to those fleeing the war.
Refugees arriving at Warsaw Central Station told The Guardian they were baffled by the UK. governments rules requires them to find a sponsor in UK before they could apply for visa, which can take weeks to process. Nobody said they knew anyone in Great Britain who could sponsor them.
“I think it’s very complicated”, – said Katerina Ilasova. who ran away from her home city of Poltava after invasion began. “I’ve heard a lot of positive moments in Britain. But for it’s too difficult for me. So people sign up go to another countries which easier to get to.”
Ivan Yakovlev, who left Dnieper before the war work in Georgia, wanted get to Britain because of in language. “I speak English, my wife speaks English; it will be good for usit’s easier to find a job there. But I am not know what we should do; I don’t have any connections.”
BUT small team of British people It has set up kiosk at Warsaw railway station to explain rules refugees and advise them on how apply. They had several of successes corresponding to Ukrainians with British sponsors, but their efforts are negligible compared to those who of Hispanic group at a nearby kiosk who helped more over 1000 Ukrainians start their trip to Spain, organizing free transport and hosts on the other end.
“The bottleneck is in visa system and compliance of refugees with hosts,” said Ed Pinckney, a British researcher based in Hong Kong. who was a volunteer at the station for two weeks.
“I get frustrated because I’m wasting time that could be devoted to immediate needs. of Ukrainians,” he said. “The logical thing would be to take them to the UK and do any checks there.”
Some applicants do get lucky. Alena Vinogradova was lucky enough to run into Terri Shanks, a woman from Berkshire. who It was in Poland for business. Shanks offered to host Vinogradova and her 11-year-old family.year-Old daughter Camila, one day the family’s application was processed and their visa was approved.
“I do not know why can’t we bring them in on tourist visa”. says Shanks. “The Spaniards scoop them up up and worry about documents later. It seems we don’t. It’s funny when home waiting.”
“I think it is very difficult,” Vinogradova said. “I think the UK is making sure that all Ukrainians don’t come.”
Even those like Vinogradova who Was lucky enough to have found the UK sponsor will likely have to wait weeks for their visa to be processed. British government stands apart from its European neighbors who offer Ukrainian refugees visa-free entry.
“Since I was a child, I have dreamed of I’m going to England,” said Anna Lazareva from Sumy in Eastern Ukraine, who says she managed to find a sponsor on Facebook group. Now she’s waiting in Warsaw. “His already it was four days. Hopefully I won’t have to wait long.”