UK Immigration Support for Ukrainians Coming to the UK
A number of temporary visa concessions have been granted for Ukrainians fleeing the war in their home country, as well as for family members of British citizens living in Ukraine, and for Ukrainians who are already in the UK on temporary visas. However, Ukrainian males aged 18-60, including dual-nationals, are still prohibited from leaving the country.
Unfortunately, there have been widespread problems with visa applications under the Ukraine family scheme and, initially, a slow rate of visa applications were being processed to completion. However, the home secretary, Priti Patel, has now announced changes to the visa application process.
From Tuesday 15 March, eligible Ukrainians with family members already settled in the UK will be able to apply online for entry clearance to the UK and will no longer need to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC), many of which have either been closed or are struggling to cope with the influx of people fleeing the conflict.
Below are current details, as at 14 March, about the available routes for eligible people who are attempting to leave Ukraine and come to the UK.
Family Migration Visa
Eligible immediate family members of British citizens living in Ukraine can apply for a family migration visa to leave the country. They must be one of the following:
- a spouse or civil partner
- an unmarried partner who has been living with a British national for two years or more
- the child (under the age of 18) of a British national
- the parent of a British child who is under 18
- an adult relative who is the resident caregiver for a British national with a medical condition
Ukraine Family Scheme
The Ukraine family scheme opened up to extended family members of British Nationals in Ukraine on Friday 4 March and now includes siblings and grandparents, for example.
From Tuesday 15 March, Ukrainian citizens with a valid international passport and a working email address will be able to apply online to join family members who are already settled in the UK. They will not need to visit a VAC and will be able to supply their biometric details once they have entered the UK. Under the Ukraine family scheme, visa holders will be able to live, work and study in the UK and claim benefits. More eligibility details are available on the Gov.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-ukraine-family-scheme-visa
All applications will be subject to security checks.
Temporary concessions for Ukrainians in the UK
In February, the British government announced that any Ukrainian national currently in the UK on a work, study or visit visa will be given a temporary visa extension (initially for 12 months, but this may change). They will also be able to change their visa route – so visitors will be able to apply to work or study in the UK.
More details are available on the Gov.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ukrainian-nationals-in-the-uk-visa-support
The UK immigration rules for Ukrainian citizens will be under constant review during the ongoing situation and may be subject to change. All applications to enter the UK will be subject to security checks.
The Ukrainian Humanitarian Route
On 1 March, Boris Johnson PM announced changes to UK immigration rules that will allow many more people from Ukraine to come to the UK on humanitarian grounds.
In addition to the Family Visa and Ukraine Family Schemes, anyone who is settled in the UK (whatever their nationality) will now be able to bring parents, grandparents, adult children and siblings to the UK from Ukraine.
Usual salary and language requirements will be waived for applicants and those eligible for this route should call the helpline on 0300 3032785. Once an application has been submitted, the applicant will need to arrange an appointment at a Visa Application Centre in a neighbouring country to Ukraine to submit their biometric data.
Humanitarian Sponsorship route
The government has also announced that Ukrainians who have no ties to the UK and are fleeing the conflict will also be able to come to the UK and work for sponsors such as local authorities, communities or private sponsors who will provide work, housing and integration support. A system of matching sponsors to displaced Ukrainians will see the UK working closely with international partners. However, as at 14 March, there have been no further announcements about the planned sponsorship scheme.
If you or a family member are affected by the crisis in Ukraine and wish to discuss UK immigration for Ukrainians, please contact Wellers Immigration team for advice which is up-to-date and specific to your individual situation.
Call Rosalind Nunoo on 020 8290 7982 for expert help and assistance.