Businessman calls visa system a ‘disgrace’

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‘It’s not fit for purpose’: Businessman calls visa system a ‘shame’ as he and his Ukrainian wife battle bureaucracy to get his cousin and friends into the UK United

  • Mark Lewis and his wife Irina spent nearly eight hours filling out housing program forms
  • Mr Lewis is at his wit’s end trying to get his second cousin and others to safety
  • He’s a longtime Tory voter – but says the fiasco may have changed his mind

A businessman desperately trying to bring his wife’s cousin, his friends and one of their mothers from Ukraine to the UK has called the UK visa system a ‘disgrace’.

Mark Lewis and his Ukrainian-born wife Irina spent nearly eight hours filling in forms for women to come to Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The group – which spent 24 hours traveling to the Polish border – had to walk to Warsaw as some did not have passports with them. So far, only four of their seven applications have been approved.

Mark Lewis and his Ukrainian-born wife Irina spent almost eight hours filling in forms for women to come to Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme

Mr Lewis, 56, who works in finance and lives in Chertsey, Surrey, is a longtime Tory voter – but says the fiasco may have changed his mind.

He said: “Frustration is the polite word for how we feel. They won’t be able to get my vote anymore unless they fix this mess.

“I have this horrible feeling (the system) is absolutely not fit for purpose,” he added.

Mr Lewis and his Kharkiv-born wife are at their wits’ end trying to get second cousin Katya Katchan, 21, five of her friends and one of their mothers to safety.

The girls are Kostya, 21, Viktoriia, 18, Andriana, 16, Viktoriia, 20, plus Yelyzaveta, 20, and her mother Nataliia, 55.

The girls are Kostya, 21, Viktoriia, 18, Andriana, 16, Viktoriia, 20, plus Yelyzaveta, 20, and her mother Nataliia, 55.

The girls are Kostya, 21, Viktoriia, 18, Andriana, 16, Viktoriia, 20, plus Yelyzaveta, 20, and her mother Nataliia, 55.

Katya spent a week sleeping in a hallway of her parents’ apartment in Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine, as shells rained down.

Frustrated with the visa process, Mr Lewis said: ‘I don’t know how someone’s supposed to do it, when they’re fleeing a war zone and running for their life, on a mobile phone – and they don’t do not speak English .’

As the women wait, Mr. Lewis fears for their safety.

He said: “There are a lot of predators. For human traffickers, it is as if all their Christmases had arrived at the same time; these girls are young and naive.

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