MP raises concerns in Parliament after Ukrainian wife of South Shields resident turned away from UK visa office

The Ukrainian wife of a South Tyneside resident was turned away from a UK visa office in Poland after fleeing her war-torn home country, it has been revealed.

Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 6:12 pm

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck raised the issue in Parliament as she told Home Secretary Priti Patel to ‘get her act together’.

The UK's response to the refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been criticised by refugee charities, with calls to waive visas entirely.

The Refugee Council has also said the Government must do more to help Ukrainians fleeing war.

People, some who have fled Ukraine, line up at a ticket counter at the train station in Warsaw, Poland, March 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

Speaking in Parliament, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, said: “My constituent’s Ukrainian wife was turned away from the UK visa office in Warsaw (the Polish capital) and told that she had to book an appointment and make an application online.

"The UK immigration website repeatedly stated, ‘Sorry, there is currently a problem with the service. Please try again later’. She eventually was given an appointment, but not until 17 March. What is she supposed to do while the Home Secretary is getting her act together?.”

In response, the Home Secretary Priti Patel, said: “If the hon. Lady had listened to my statement earlier on, she would have heard what the process is.

"In fact, the application can be done digitally from Tuesday. If she would like to present me with the case, I would be very happy to look at it straight after —[Interruption.] Well, we do have the hub in Portcullis House, which has been working through cases.

Emma Lewell-Buck MP

"I do not know whether the hon. Lady has been using that service. If she has difficulty with that, she is very welcome to give me the case straight after the urgent question and I will make the calls myself directly.”

The Government has recently launched a refugee housing scheme, with more than 100,000 people in the UK signing up to help house those who have been forced to leave Ukraine, within the first 24 hours of the initiative.

Speaking in her Gazette column, Ms Lewell-Buck said the ‘Humanitarian response is far cry from that of Government’.

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