Ukrainian boy misses term start 'due to visa delay' – BBC


An 11-year-old Ukrainian boy has missed his first day of school in the UK due to delays with his visa application, his sponsor said.
Louise Fellows, who is helping via the Homes for Ukraine scheme, said Vadym and his mother Kateryna have been waiting in Poland since 23 March.
"I'm really embarrassed that it's taking this long," said Mrs Fellows, of Warwick.
The government said it was processing thousands of visas a day.
Vadym has been given a free place at The Croft Preparatory School in Stratford-upon-Avon, which had been hoping to welcome him for the start of the summer term today.
Marcus Cook, head of the independent school, said he was sad Vadym missed his first day but added he was delighted the school had been able to offer him a place for the term.
Kateryna and Vadym left Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, to stay in temporary accommodation in Poland.
They will live with Mrs Fellows who made contact through Facebook via another woman who is matching Ukrainians with families in Warwickshire.
The two mothers shared family stories with each other over a video call.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme has been widely criticised because of delays, with Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this month apologising for the "frustrating" lags in the scheme.
Mrs Fellows said part of the delay in her case was that documents had to be uploaded twice due them disappearing on the system.
A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said that there was "no evidence of data lost" and the system works in the interest of security; once the documents are uploaded they are sent straight away to the Home Office.
Matt Western, the MP for Warwick and Leamington, spoke in Parliament about Kateryna's situation last month and asked the minister to "step up".
Eddie Hughes, who is working as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rough Sleeping and Housing replied: "The pace at which we are getting through applications is ramping up; we will very soon be working our way through more than 10,000 a week".
Mrs Fellows said she was told by the Home Office on 11 April the visa applications would be processed within 48 hours.
Ten days later and the families say they have not heard anything since.
Kateryna said she felt "lost and emotionally tired," while Mrs Fellows said she felt "sad and frustrated".
A government spokesperson said it had issued more than 71,800 visas with 21,600 Ukrainians "arriving safely in the UK".
"We are processing thousands of visas a day – this shows the changes we made to streamline the service are working and we'll continue to build on this success so we can speed up the process even further."
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