Ukrainian refugee Tatiana Kovalova and her two children Australian visas


Ukrainian mother and her children are REJECTED entry to Australia despite local doctors raising thousands to help them settle in after their city was besieged and bombed by Russia

  • Tatiana ‘Tanya’ Kovalova and her two children were denied Australian visas
  • They are trying to flee Odessa in southern Ukraine after it was attacked by Russia
  • Gold Coast doctors say they will let the family stay with them if granted refuge
  • A change in visa rules was blamed for Ukrainian family being turned away 

A desperate Ukrainian family has seen its bid for a better life in Australia rejected, despite being sponsored by two Queensland doctors.

Tatiana ‘Tanya’ Kovalova, 37,  is trying to flee Ukraine with her two children, leaving behind husband Oleh at the Ukranian port city of Odessa.

Gold Coast doctor Ines Baptista set up a GoFundMe page in April, securing more than $3,000 to pay for flights to Australia for Tanya, and Veronica, 11 and Vlad, 15.

Ms Baptista said they were ‘a lovely family just trying to escape the war in Ukraine‘ and pleaded for kindhearted Australians to help.

Tatiana 'Tanya' Kovalova, 37, is trying to flee Ukraine with her two children, leaving behind husband Oleh at the Ukranian port city of Odessa

Tatiana ‘Tanya’ Kovalova, 37, is trying to flee Ukraine with her two children, leaving behind husband Oleh at the Ukranian port city of Odessa

Ms Kovalova, 37 (left) with her husband Oleh (middle) and two children, Vlad, 15 (right) and Veronica, 11 (bottom)

Ms Kovalova, 37 (left) with her husband Oleh (middle) and two children, Vlad, 15 (right) and Veronica, 11 (bottom)

She and her partner, Timur Navruzov said that on arrival the Ukrainian refugees would stay with them ‘until they can find their feet’.

However, their hopes of finding refuge in Australia were dashed last week when the Department of Home Affairs declined their visa requests.

The family’s visa applications were rejected on the grounds they did not meet the requirements as they did not make it clear they would only visit Australia temporarily.

This is not the families first time attempting to flee war, as they were originally living in Donetsk but in 2014 they packed up and left as Russian separatists waged war in the Donbas region in the eastern Ukraine.

This led the family to move to Odessa where they shared a one-bedroom apartment and inflatable mattress, before Tanya found work in human resources at a local factory.

The factory was forced to shut down in February when the war began, leaving and both her and her husband jobless.

Tanya and her two children are attempting to escape Odessa, which is coming under increasing threat as the neighboring city of Mykolaiv (pictured) is bombed

Tanya and her two children are attempting to escape Odessa, which is coming under increasing threat as the neighboring city of Mykolaiv (pictured) is bombed

Tanya felt the best option was to leave the country with her two children while her husband stayed to fight as required by Ukrainian law.

Ms Baptista said when the war started, Ukrainians could apply for a visitor visa and once they arrived on Australian shores could apply for a special refugee visa, but the process has since changed.

‘Now you can only apply for the special refugee visa, [but] you can only apply for the special refugee visa if you are in Australia,’ Tanya told the Brisbane Times,.

‘What has happened in the last three to four weeks is that they’ve decided that Ukrainians, because they’re intending to stay longer, they no longer comply with the visitor visa rules, which state that you need to go back, you’re just visiting, you’re not staying in Australia.’

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