‘There’ll be riots if Britain does not fix shambolic Ukraine refugee visa system’

The Home Office insisted that people were being locked out of the building not on their orders, but at the insistence of its landlord, citing safety reasons. Once inside, however, the confusion continued.

Some who had been let inside reported that visa staff appeared unsure of the rules, with refugees being told to submit their names on paper, only to be then told to book an appointment online. 

Others said that Britain’s insistence on taking fingerprints for a biometric database of migrants was slowing the process to a crawl, with too few staff and too few machines to process people quickly.

Ms Kay told the BBC that the situation in Rzeszow had become “desperate” and that if the delays carried on, “it does feel like there will be riots”.

According to one report, the centre in Rzeszow is capable of processing only 100 applications per day.

About 300 visas have been issued for Ukrainians with relatives in the UK, compared with about 1,800 in Ireland, 30,000 in Germany and half a million in Poland.

Iryna Kelly travelled to Poland with her British husband Sebastian on Friday to help her mother Halina Pszennycza, 61, after she fled her home in Kyiv. She said: “We had to wait until 8pm on Monday for my mum’s biometric [details to be taken]. Now we have to wait for an email from the Home Office, which might take up to 72 hours.

“After that, if my mum has been accepted, we will have to go to Warsaw to get the visa. That is another five hours to travel, wait in another queue for God knows how long, and we have nowhere to stay in that town.”

Mrs Kelly, a massage therapist from Willenhall in the West Midlands, added: “We have spent nearly £1,000 already. We are really exhausted. It’s hard to find anywhere to stay because everywhere is fully booked. I left my kids in the UK, I cancelled my jobs, but most importantly my mum is safe and I will be by her side to the end.”

‘Government should be less strict in such situations’

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