A DEARHAM mother, who is welcoming a Ukrainian family into her home, has called on the government to improve the system for refugees entering the country.

Rachel Tate has waited five weeks for her guests' visa applications to be processed, after first applying for the scheme in its first week in March.

Rachel said: "There are at least a thousand of us from the first week or two that haven't got visas yet and it almost feels like they are deliberately separating families so that they can't travel.

"They're publishing all these numbers where they have issued all of these visas but there are so many families where there is just one outstanding.

"My family is a mum and two daughters; the mum and the eldest daughter got their visas three weeks ago. I applied five weeks ago and the 11-year-old hasn't got hers so they're stuck there."

Speaking about what compelled her to open up her family's home to refugees, Rachel said:"I contracted Covid the day that the war broke out, so I spent 10 days in my bedroom just following the news and I was just horrified, and even worse there was nothing you could really do."

Rachel said that as soon as the Homes for Ukraine scheme was announced she spoke to her husband and two daughters who agreed to take in a Ukranian family.

The mother of two went onto a Facebook group to 'match' with a family, and found a mother and two daughters who had fled from Kiev.

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The mother, her 16-year-old and the 11-year-old have fled from the war having to leave their father and husband in Ukraine, they have since had to travel throughout Europe and are now staying with a couple in Holland while they wait for the youngest daughter's visa.

She said: "I just try and relate that to my situation and I just can't imagine it. By the time we connected with them on March 18 they'd driven through many countries.

"I just can't imagine not being able to really call anywhere home.

"When you connect with someone about this and see what they've been through you kind of think well, even if we do a terrible job of this then it's better than doing nothing."

Rachel and her family have been connecting with the family they will host via video calls.

Rachel has questioned the application process, saying that the initial application to host refugees is incredibly complicated - and there is no real way to track an application.

Rachel believes that the government should set up a task force to tackle the applications that were submitted in the first two weeks the scheme was started; she also believes there should be a tracking system in place and a route of escalation for people who are in particular need.

The Times & Star contacted Mark Jenkinson MP's office who have been working on the case.

It is understood that the family's visa in this case will be approved today (Thursday) and they will be able to travel to the UK.

Mrs Tate wished to thank Mark Jenkinson's case worker James for the time he has spent on this issue.

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