Vadym Prystaiko told MPs Britain’s visa bureaucracy had been ‘tough’ for Ukrainians to wade through even before the conflict with Russia started.
09 March 2022
The Ukrainian ambassador said there were “always bureaucratic hassles ” involved with applying for UK visas – including for his wife – even before the conflict with Russia sparked a refugee crisis.
Vadym Prystaiko told MPs that Kyiv would like to see visa requirements for fleeing Ukrainians dropped amid criticism that the Home Office has been slow in providing sanctuary to those escaping the invasion.
He said at least 100,000 people could try to reunite with relatives in the UK via the Ukraine Family Scheme, but criticised the process for approving new arrivals.
The diplomat told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that visa applications had been “tough” for Ukrainians “even before the war” with Moscow started last month.
He said: “To process visas, there were always bureaucratic hassles.
“I have to tell you that even when I was coming here as ambassador I got my visa on time, (but) although I was already approved by your Government, my wife didn’t have it.
“So even simple things like that – the bureaucracy is so tough.
“And when we reached agreement for a visa-free arrangement with Europeans, which worked quite beautifully for almost 10 years, we never managed to open this particular nation.”