JAVEA expat Mourad Hamoum welcomed his Ukrainian mother-in-law for a month-long holiday in Javea in February.

But just as she was preparing to return to Kyiv, Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, leaving her stranded.

Now, mother-in-law Inna has no choice but to stay in Spain, although it is proving more difficult than it initially seemed from government statements and the media.

Mourad and told the Olive Press that he is ‘pulling his hair out’ trying to get her settlement rights.

“It is an absolute nightmare,” explained Mourad. “We have gone down every avenue to help her stay.” 

He insisted the process depicted by the government of an efficient and streamlined process is in fact swamped with bureaucracy and poor planning.

They couldn’t even get through to the official Policia Nacional number for an entire week.

“We rang the number from Tuesday morning to Thursday evening, but not once were we able to speak to someone to get an appointment,” he said.

“There is only one telephone number for registering refugees from Ukraine in the whole of Spain.”

The director of a wallcoverings manufacturer continued: “We ended up going to two police stations in Denia and even travelled to Alicante, but drew blanks as you have to make an official appointment via the number.”

Desperate for answers, they all attended a Red Cross meeting in Javea with many other Ukrainians last Friday.

Inna From Kiev 1
Mourad’s mother-in-law Inna’s trip to Spain has turned into a nightmare.
Photo: Mourad Hamoum

He says the charity is helping as best they can, but with such poor organisation from the government, their hands are largely tied. 

“Despite having a lawyer there to answer questions, most of us were left more concerned than when they came in,” he continued.

“Everyone I spoke to complained that nobody picks up. They had been calling constantly for days.”

In shocking revelations, they were also apparently told the Spanish government does not provide any financial help or accommodation without first being registered. 

Since there is only one number available to register, the lines have become effectively unreachable.

To make matters worse, the bulk of Ukrainian arrivals do not have a Spanish number, meaning they are incurring eye-watering phone bills as they wait on hold for hours on end. 

“Everyone I spoke to complained that nobody picks up. They had been calling constantly for at least two days.”

The lucky few he spoke to who did get through were asked to make an appointment and to travel to Alicante, despite most having no form of transport and very little money.

One lady stood up at the Red Cross meeting, declaring: “I don’t want to be here anymore because of the way we are treated. All I want is for the war to end and to return to my country. I have already lost enough dignity”. 

Silence immediately ensued. 

Inna told the Olive Press: I believe the Spanish Government does not want Ukrainians here in Spain. I want to leave Spain and return to my own country. Many Ukrainians are saying that they could be better off in Germany, France or the UK. Spain offers free Spanish lessons, maybe a phone sim card but nothing practical which is useful for Ukrainians.”

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