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Staplehurst nurse who spent £2,000 on home conversion still waiting for Ukrainian refugees' visas from Home Office


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A Staplehurst man who spent £2,000 on changes to his home to accommodate Ukrainian refugees is "stuck in limbo" while they wait to receive their visas.

John Johnson, 63, a semi retired substance misuse nurse, says he has submitted four applications as a host with no response from the Home Office.

John Johnson from Stapelhurst has spent £2000 on renovations to his home in anticipation of refugees
John Johnson from Stapelhurst has spent £2000 on renovations to his home in anticipation of refugees

John explained his frustration having been met with a "wall of silence" from authorities after he submitted applications on March 22 and 23.

Recently the Home Office has been heavily criticised for the rate at which refugees visas are processed.

John said: "There is no access to any information, they can't tell anyone any details about the application.

"Some of the people who applied in those early days more recently reapplied and got visas within days."

John, who has a four-bedr home, has converted two rooms into a comfortable living space for a Ukrainian mother and her three children.

It's a race against time for John as one of the children suffers from an anxiety disorder, a factor which caused him to stop work and dedicate his time to resolving the "dire situation" his refugee family are faced with in Ukraine.

ohn Johnson from Stapelhurst has made renovations to his home in anticipation of Ukrainian refugees
ohn Johnson from Stapelhurst has made renovations to his home in anticipation of Ukrainian refugees

He has bought two single beds with mattresses and a fridge freezer.

John explained that "something is very wrong" with the visa system which has is "got him nowhere" and fears for his refugee familydue to what he has heard about the situation in Ukraine.

He said: "A young woman who was waiting for a visa in Poland was assaulted by a racist in Poland, a 95-year-old woman who was supposed to be evacuated died.

"I, in good faith, signed up and I'm left in this limbo where I can do nothing to to to move things on."

John has contacted his local MP, inmigration lawyers and joined Facebook groups in a bid to push his case through.

Goudhurst Club waving Chairman Gary Taylor off on his first trip to Ukraine
Goudhurst Club waving Chairman Gary Taylor off on his first trip to Ukraine

As it stands, Kent County Council (KCC) has stated 184 Ukrainians are currently living in homes across Kent.

John is one of many people who are disgruntled with the current rate of the application process.

Vika Gallacher, a 41-year-old Ukrainian who has lived in the UK for more than 20 years, has been concerned that the process is "too slow" and "laborious".

The Goudhurst woman has worked behind the scenes to bridge the gap between locals offering homes and those in Ukraine needing sponsorship.

Currently, only three out of the eight families from the village who applied for visas have received them.

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