Frustration over visa delay after Milngavie man's wife and mother-in-law fled invasion of Ukraine

A Milngavie man has expressed concern at ongoing delay by the Home Office in processing a family visa application on behalf of his wife’s mother who has fled Ukraine.

Over one million people have left Ukraine since Russia launched its military invasion (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)
Over one million people have left Ukraine since Russia launched its military invasion (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Last week David Shaw and Douglas Peters set out by car to rescue David’s wife Dana and her mother Hanna Petriv who have made it as far as Warsaw as they escaped the Russian invasion.

Dana, who has lived permanently in the UK since 2000 and been a UK passport holder since 2006, travelled to Ukraine on February 9 as both her parents, whom she had not seen since August 2019, had been hospitalised with Covid and was having to spend 24 hours a day on Messenger supporting her mother.

Hanna was discharged from the hospital, but was unable to cope with her health and situation.

Speaking from Poland, David, said: “Tragically, Dana’s father, Ivan, passed away on February 16 and the Russian invasion on February 24 came as an added shock.

"The following day, at the advice of colleagues and friends, we phoned UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) and lodged a family visa application for Dana’s mother over the phone as the news about the developing Russian invasion made it clear to Dana and her mother that they had no choice but to leave Ukraine.

“We were assured that Hanna’s application would be passed to the Home Office that day and that we would shortly hear directly from them by email or phone.

"Whilst making Hanna’s application, we were told that she met the then criteria for an emergency family visa based on health grounds.”

Dana and Hanna arrived at a hotel in Warsaw last Wednesday (March 2), exhausted and very traumatised after a hair-raising bus journey across the Ukrainian border not far from Belarus.

They were joined by David and Douglas the next day after a four-day car journey.

David said: “Despite enormous and sustained help from our MP, Amy Callaghan, and Baroness Fraser of Craigmaddie, who became aware of Hanna’s plight through our Minister’s sermon on Sunday, February 27, we still have no idea of how long it will be until we can all drive back to Milngavie.

“Amy’s staff have asked us for a Home Office reference number, and we have had to tell them that we were not given one when the application was made over the phone and furthermore, that we have had no phone calls or emails from the Home Office since February 25.

"We are very worried that our initial application has somehow been totally overlooked.

“On Friday we did as Baroness Fraser had advised and phoned UKVI on a telephone number the Baroness had obtained from a minister in the House of Lords.

"Hanna’s details were taken again and the call handler said she would pass the information to her manager. Following that call, Baroness Fraser advised us to wait 24 hours to see if the Home Office responded.

"She went on to say that if they did not, we should contact her again. We have still not heard from the Home Office and we have contacted Baroness Fraser and Amy Callaghan.

"We are now forced to visit the Visa Application Centre in Warsaw to see what we can discover.”