The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) has today gratefully thanked the Immigration Minister and the Australian Government for showing compassion and leniency in the tragic case of a displaced Ukrainian mother, who has asked to be allowed to return to Ukraine to bury her son, who has died fighting on the front line.
Evhenia Kucherenko, who fled Ukraine a few months ago to find safe haven with family in Melbourne, would have faced losing her temporary humanitarian visa, due to visa travel restrictions prohibiting travel outside of Australia.
“We have had constructive conversations with Minister Giles over the last few days. We understand the restrictions on the visa category. However, occasionally there are exceptional circumstances,” said Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM, AFUO Co-Chair.
“The AFUO is gratified that a solution has been found. Evhenia can now do what no parent ever wants to do – bury their child. At least she can do this in the security that the Government has recognised her exceptional circumstance, and she will be able to return to family in Melbourne,” said Mr Romaniw.
Since 24 February 2022, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Australia has welcomed over 4,300 displaced Ukrainians. They have predominantly been women and children, due to 18 – 60 year old men not being permitted to leave the country due to martial law.
Although the temporary humanitarian visa provides the right to work, education and access to Medicare, restrictions on travelling back to Ukraine have continued to cause distress for many displaced Ukrainians. This has meant families live with the daily reality that they will not see each other again for three years, or face complications when trying to reunite.
The AFUO pays its respects to Evhenia Kucharenko and her family.
We grant eternal memory to Evhenia’s son – Khlib Babych. In Ukrainian “Vichnaya Pamyat”.
Stefan Romaniw – 0419 531 255