Si Morris-Green says red tape is delaying Ukrainian family application

Classic Collection executive Si Morris-Green has appeared on BBC Breakfast again to highlight the red tape that is delaying the visa applications of two Ukrainian refugees he hopes to host.

He first appeared on the programme on March 15, along with Niyara Mamontova and her seven-year-old daughter Eleanora, who want to come to England as part of the new ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme.

Mamontova fled Kharkiv, leaving behind her husband who is a surgeon in the city – but she and her daughter have been stuck in Voorburg in the Netherlands, having filled in a visa form on March 15.

They had initially hoped to travel to England within days rather than weeks.

Presenter Victoria Derbyshire commented that the government has said it must do proper checks and ensure applicants are “not Russian spies, for example, wanting to infiltrate this country”.

Morris-Green, Classic Collection’s agency sales and marketing director, replied: “I think it’s all set up with a bit of false hope.

“Eleven days ago, I was watching the news and Michael Gove said people would be arriving from next Sunday.

“We’re not saying checks shouldn’t be done…there’s a lot of red tape. The forms aren’t even in Ukrainian…they’re in English. There are a lot of hurdles to jump.”

More: Si Morris-Green to welcome Ukrainian mother and daughter

Mamontova said she was told a week after her initial application that separate forms were needed for her and her daughter.

“There are many families hiding in their basements in Kyiv and they are waiting for decisions on their visas,” she told the presenters.

“They’re hiding there and the Russians are right now still shelling our cities.

“I don’t understand why it’s so long. I keep checking my email every minute waiting for the visa to be approved.”

Morris-Green said he had spoken to a Ukrainian family of five who had taken 10 hours to complete their visa application because they did not speak English.

He added: “We are really welcoming Niyara and Eleanora into our house, our children are ready for it as well. It feels like we know them already.

“Every day I ring Niyara, I say look, ‘You’ll get your visa today’.

“Every time I ring the visa office, there’s not even a tracking process in place to understand where they are in the queue or how long it’s going to take.”

Mamontova added: “We are just waiting. Si keeps supporting us.

“He does much for us, thank you so much, Si.

“We understand right know it’s very difficult to check all the forms because there are many families are fleeing Ukraine because the bombarding and shelling is not ending.”

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