An Aberdeen family’s plight at trying to receive visas for loved ones to flee Ukraine has made it to the House of Commons.
Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn revealed he had a conversation with teacher Mariya Pavlova about her endless problems with the system – issues he described as a “shambles”.
Today in the House of Commons Mr Flynn asked for a “rocket to be sent right up” the Home Office to ensure visas could be issued more quickly.
Sharing a conversation he had with Miss Pavlova – an Aberdeen primary school teacher whose story the Press and Journal featured yesterday – Mr Flynn expressed his agreement that the United Kingdom’s military response towards Ukraine should be commended.
‘It’s a shambles’
However, the SNP politician said he couldn’t wholeheartedly share in the enthusiasm surrounding the country’s humanitarian response.
Miss Pavlova, alongside her mother Lyudmyla Wilson, is desperately trying to get her sister Valeriya and her family away from the war zone and to safety in Scotland.
The stylist for a Ukrainian TV channel had to grab just one suitcase for herself, her partner and their two children. They then made their way from Kyiv, across the country to Lviv near the Polish border.
After nights huddled in bomb shelters they found refuge on the floor of a local policeman’s flat. But the red tape involved in processing the UK’s ‘humanitarian’ family visas has caused frustration and upset.
Miss Pavolva described the process as a compassionless and “complicated bureaucratic nightmare”.
Mr Flynn said today: “I spoke to my constituent Mariya this morning. Her family cannot even get clarity on whether to continue with pre-existing visitor visas – from the Home Office – or go for a family visa. Quite simply it’s a shambles.”
Adding, “So can I ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he meets with the Home Office this afternoon, for want of a better phrase, whether he will stick a rocket right up the Home Office?”
Hearing of her MP’s raising her case in parliament Miss Pavlova said she had regained a sense of hope.
She said: “That’s really positive. Finally it seems someone is listening and taking this seriously. It’s given me hope again.
“I’m hugely grateful to the Press and Journal for sharing my story. And for all those getting behind us and our fellow Ukrainians.”