Family tells of struggle bringing Ukrainian boy, 4, to UK – BBC.com


The great aunt of a four-year-old Ukrainian refugee has told of her struggle trying to bring him to the UK.
Inesse Gwynne, who wants to bring Platan to Stockport, said the youngster and his mother Ruslana fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion but have only got as far as Italy.
She said his visa application had been thwarted because his passport had recently expired.
However, the Home Office said children do not need passports to apply.
A spokeswoman said the department was "moving as quickly as possible" to ensure Ukrainians can find safety in the UK.
Ms Gwynne told BBC North West Tonight she wanted to bring her relatives to her home in Greater Manchester and they "don't know what to do".
"We want them over here in our family. We want to look after them," she said.
"We want to send Platan to nursery but we can't."
Ruslana, who studied Art at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009, still has friends and connections here, Ms Gwynne said.
The Home Office said a birth certificate was also an accepted form of identification if a child did not have a passport and if they have neither they can go to a visa application centre to process their bid.
Earlier this month the government launched the Ukraine family scheme, which allows Ukrainians to join family members or extend their stay in the UK.
The application process is free and those who successfully apply will be able to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds.
By Thursday it had received some 32,500 applications, with just over a third of those people since receiving visas.
The Home Office said: "We are moving as quickly as possible to ensure that those fleeing horrific persecution in Ukraine can find safety in the UK, setting up the both Ukraine family scheme and now the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which allows those without family connections to come here."
The Homes for Ukraine scheme launched on Friday but no information has been given about how many visas it has issued.
There is also a free 24/7 helpline which can provide people with support, it added.
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