Russia-Ukraine war: Government's 'fast-tracked' visas for family of Ukrainian Kiwis will take three weeks

On Tuesday the Government promised to fast-track a new visa for family members of Ukrainian Kiwis so they can shelter from the war in New Zealand.

But those visas will take three weeks and families of refugees say that's not fast enough.

It took days to convince Luke Dixon's elderly in-laws to flee Ukraine.

With their city under siege and their world crumbling around them, they got on a bus then a train and headed for the safety of Poland.

"There are people they know who have been killed," Dixon says.

Dixon's wife Yulia travelled to the Poland city of Kraków to be with them, while he stayed in Auckland to try and get them a visa.

He's applied for the new special Ukraine visa but was told it would take three weeks - which he says is too long.

"This is not the first time Immigration New Zealand has come up with a visa. The Government needs to sort it out and sort it out quickly," he says.

When asked if three weeks was really a fast-tracked visa, the Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi said it is shorter than usual visas.

"Well it's a very short amount of time compared to a usual visa and we're trying to expedite that as much as we can," Faafoi said.

In less than 24 hours there have already been 11 applications.

The Government estimates there could be 4000 eligible Ukrainians wanting to come to New Zealand over the next year.

Immigration New Zealand told Newshub it's set up a dedicated team that is working as quickly as possible.

"Immigration NZ has been run down, under-resourced and now when it really matters to get people out of a war-torn country we can't do it in under three weeks," National Party MP Erica Stanford says.

To the Immigration Minister and officials at Immigration New Zealand used to taking months to process visas, three weeks might be fast-tracked.

But to people who have nothing left and are desperate for stability and safety, three weeks is an eternity.