Suffolk woman's anguish as Ukrainian refugee family face 5-week visa delay

Suffolk businesses are looking to help Ukraine as the country fights against Vladimir Putin's invasion.

Virginia Coyle offered refuge to Maryna through the Homes for Ukraine scheme - Credit: PA

A Suffolk mother of four has expressed her deep concerns for a Ukrainian family still awaiting visas to enter the UK five weeks after submitting the relevant documents.

Virginia Coyle, 79, offered Maryna and her two children refuge in Capel St Mary through the British government's Homes for Ukraine scheme, with all the necessary paperwork submitted on April 12.

Maryna and her daughters, aged eight and 13, fled war-torn Ukraine on March 13 and have been in the Czech Republic since.

"We would welcome them as family", said Mrs Coyle. "I've introduced them already on Whatsapp to our daughters. We are a very open family, a friendly family."

Since submitting their documents, both parties have felt left in the dark as to the status of their application, with Maryna and her two children still in the Czech Republic awaiting news. 

"It's made me weep", said Mrs Coyle. "We have four children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. That is what has brought this home to me so incredibly closely. I often think about how I would feel if it was my daughter out there. I would feel so helpless. But now I know we can do something to help."

Mrs Coyle says there are now concerns that, with such a significant delay, Maryna is running low on money for herself and her children.

Most Read

"It is very difficult for her. Her funds are limited. I'm concerned that when permission is finally granted, she will not be able to afford to travel to England."

As of May 10, 772 visas have been issued under the scheme for Suffolk - with 97 of them in the Babergh district. 

Mrs Coyle said she has also been in contact with local MP James Cartlidge, who has assigned a "very helpful" case worker to find out the cause of the delay. However, the situation still remains unclear. 

"We have all done everything we can. They've all got valid passports, our house has been approved by Ipswich Council. It's just not acceptable."

Minister for Refugees, Lord Harrington, said: "Our uncapped Ukraine Schemes were set up in record time and are one of the fastest and biggest visa schemes in UK history.

"We have been working hard to streamline the process, including simplifying the forms and boosting staff numbers, and we are rapidly moving towards reaching my aim of processing visas in less than 48 hours."