Waddesdon Man appeals for more help supporting Ukrainian family still waiting for visa after six weeks

A Waddesdon resident is pleading for more assistance from his MP transporting a Ukrainian family over to the UK.

By James Lowson
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 5:08 pm

Marijus Izenbek, a renewable energy director who lives in Waddesdon, is trying to get a family of three into the UK from Poland.

Marijus applied for three visas via the Homes for Ukraine scheme: Liudmyla Khvesiuk, her daughter, Yuliia Kocherhina, and her grandson, Ivan Kocherhin.

Six weeks on, Marijus is still waiting on their visas, his concern is growing as Liudmyla has health problems and is running out of medication.

Yuliia Kocherhina, Liudmyla Khvesiuk, and Ivan Kocherhin

Liudmyla has hypertension blood pressure issues, cardio sclerosis, and difficulty walking more than 200 metres, once she passes that distance she becomes short of breath.

Also, Yuliia, recently discovered she is pregnant, meaning the family are restless and eager to end their time in limbo.

The stress and uncertainty is making the family weigh up whether or not to return to Dnipro.

Marijus told The Bucks Herald: “They are stuck in a unfamiliar country with no support or help. I am no longer in position to accept that there is nothing can be done.

Liudmyla and Ivan

"But I feel like I am banging my head against the wall.”

They eventually, left Ukraine to come to Poland four weeks ago to seek asylum in the UK, after initially being reluctant to leave their home country.

Marijus who has known the family for years, ultimately convinced the family to move over to the UK when bombs started falling near their homes.

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He traveled to Poland in the hope of returning to the UK with the family he is sponsoring last month, but the extended wait for authorisation made that impossible.

A Government spokesperson told The Bucks Herald: “More than 72,700 people have safely arrived in the UK through our Homes for Ukraine scheme.

“Applications are usually processed in the order they are received but cases vary in complexity and it is right we have safeguarding checks in place to ensure the safety of Ukrainians arriving in the UK.”

The UK Visa Office says it is prioritising applications on the Ukraine scheme, but in some cases the process can last for as much as 24 weeks.

It is also aiming to reduce its Skilled Worker Visa applications wait time, which is currently taking an average of six weeks to process, back to the three-week service standard.

One source of frustration for Marijus has been the lack of local support he has received in his attempts to accelerate the application.

Marijus was informed by the Home Office and volunteer immigration officers that MPs can affect the visa application process and potentially escalate Ukraine cases.

Since then Marijus has been persistently contacting Buckingham MP Greg Smith’s office to see if they can assist.

Marijus says, his daily attempts to call through to the MP’s office are always unsuccessful.

In some cases he has had to wait a week for a reply to his emails, while he believes the information that has been fed back to him by the Bucks MP’s team has just told him what he already knew, and not signalled any genuine progress.

This morning Mr Smith told The Bucks Herald: “Mr Izenbek’s case has been escalated to the Home Office via the MPs route.

"It is important to state the system in place does not allow for short cuts or pressure to be applied over individual cases, but for status updates on applications.

"The Home Office has assured me that this case is being processed and that vital checks in the interests of our national security and the safety of the arriving Ukrainian citizens are still being conducted.

"It is right and proper these checks should be carried out in full. I can only pass on what the Home Office tells me. I will continue to make representations on Mr Izenbek’s behalf as I have successfully done for many other Ukrainians seeking safety in our country.”