Ukraine invasion: Ukrainian Kiwi calls on Government to extend special visa to allow extended family members in

A Ukrainian Kiwi is calling on the Government to allow extended family members of New Zealand citizens or residents to be allowed into the country. 

The 2022 Special Ukraine Policy visa announced on March 15 is open for a year and will allow roughly 1600 Ukrainian-born citizens and residents in New Zealand to sponsor parents, grandparents, adult siblings, adult children and their immediate family who are normally residents in Ukraine to shelter here.

The policy is estimated to benefit around 4000 people.

But the visa doesn't allow extended family members like cousins to be sponsored by New Zealand citizens or residents. 

Ukrainian Kiwi Valeriya Amelichkina told AM on Monday her sister, brother-in-law and nephew escaped from the southern city of Kherson in Ukraine to Romania because of the Russian invasion.

"It was a trip to go to Romania because they were separated but now they are finally reunited together and they did buy the ticket. It's only my sister, brother-and-law and nephew," she told AM. 

Amelichkina said some of her cousins are trying to get a visa to be allowed into New Zealand but so far haven't been successful.

"We do also have my cousin with his family and it comes with my cousin's wife's brother's family as well," she said. 

"They have been trying to upload some documents to request some type of visa to New Zealand but unfortunately until now, they haven't had any response. 

"My sister can legally come to New Zealand because she is a New Zealand resident, my nephew is a New Zealand citizen and my brother-and-law was lucky enough to get the visa and it was more of an easy process."

Amelichkina urged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to extend the 2022 Special Ukraine Policy visa to allow extended family members into the country. 

"I would very much like to ask Jacinda Ardern to give the opportunity to the extended members of the family so more people could be allowed to come to New Zealand," she told AM. 

"My sister is lucky enough to be legally allowed to come to New Zealand but for example, there could be some families or nephews who have lost their parents and some of them may not be able to bring them in an easy way to New Zealand. 

"Some people can be so distressed and it's horrible what is happening right now. I have a very vivid imagination and I cannot imagine this happening in the 21st century.  

"We have the history of the second world war and it's happening now and now it's happening again but with different enemies."

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen more than 2 million people flee to Poland, while altogether about 3.8 million have left Ukraine since the fighting began on February 24.

Watch the full interview above.