LS Legal News Bulletin
WHAT SUPPORT THE UK IS OFFERING TO UKRAINIAN NATIONALS - WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
Wednesday 2nd March 2022
The Home Office has made some changes to the immigration system to support British nationals and their families In Ukraine and Ukrainians in the UK, Ukraine and elsewhere.
Please note the information is updated on the 2nd of March 2022.
TO BRITISH NATIONALS AND DEPENDANTS IN UKRAINE
The Home Secretary ordered a package of measures to support British nationals who are residents in Ukraine and their families in Ukraine. This included:
• Temporarily waiving application fees for those eligible under the Family Migration route;
• Allowing entry for 12 months for others who did not meet the requirements; and
• Fast-tracking visas through a 24/7 helpline.
There have been several concessions made for Ukrainian nationals applying on family routes.
The concessions apply to the Ukrainians applying for entry clearance from outside the UK and those in the UK applying for leave to remain on family routes.
The Ukrainian nationals eligible for certain UK visas which require them to leave the UK and apply from Ukraine can now apply from inside the UK.
Document flexibility concession
If the Home Office is satisfied that due to the situation in Ukraine, a document required by the Immigration Rules cannot reasonably be obtained, the requirement to provide that document may be waived.
The requirements for a TB test certificate have been temporarily waived as the TB facilities in Kyiv are closed.
TO UKRAINIANS IN THE UK
• Ukrainians who are on work, study or visit visas in the UK will be able to switch onto different visa routes, and seasonal workers will have their leave extended.
• Ukrainian nationals on an existing points-based system route can extend their leave in the UK
• Ukrainian nationals on an existing visitor visa can exceptionally switch into a points-based system migration route without having to leave the UK
• Ukrainian nationals on an existing visitor visa can apply under the family route for further leave without meeting the immigration status requirement, provided they meet the criteria for leave based on exceptional circumstances
• Ukrainian nationals on an existing seasonal worker visa or in temporary HGV or pork butcher jobs will have their leave in the UK extended to 31 December 2022
These concessions are available for people with valid visas in the UK. The UK immigration system remains open for applications via other routes for those not eligible for these concessions.
While visa services in Ukraine have been suspended for everyone apart from dependants of British nationals following the Russian invasion, Ukrainians can make applications from neighbouring countries and use the Visa Application Centres in neighbouring countries, where it is safe for them to make the journey.
• If you are an immediate family member of a British national normally living in Ukraine with your British national family member, you should call the dedicated Home Office line 0300 3032785 - select option 1. This is a free phone number, but network charges may still apply. This option is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
• If you are a Ukrainian national in the UK and need assistance, please contact UKVI: Telephone: 0300 3032785 - select option 2. This is a free phone number, but network charges may still apply. Lines are open Monday to Thursday (excluding bank holidays), 9 am to 4:45 pm and Friday (excluding bank holidays), 9 am to 4:30 pm.
Home Office will establish a humanitarian sponsorship pathway, which will open up a route to the UK for Ukrainians who may not have family ties with the UK but can match with individuals, charities, businesses, and community groups.
Those who come under this scheme will also be granted leave for an initial period of 12 months, and they will be able to work and access public services.
We are waiting for official guidance on this route.
Home Office is establishing an expansive Ukrainian Family Scheme so that British nationals and people settled in the UK can bring a wider group of family members to the UK, extending eligibility to parents, grandparents, adult offspring, siblings, and their immediate family members.
The scheme will be free.
Those joining families in the UK will be granted leave for an initial period of 12 months. They will be able to work and access public funds.
We are currently awaiting official guidance.
VISA APPLICATION CENTRES
Visa application centres in Kyiv are now closed, and all UK visa services in Kyiv are suspended.
Dependants of British nationals only who need a visa can apply temporarily in Lviv. They can also apply through VACs currently operating in:
All other applicants (not dependants of British nationals) will have to apply through a VAC in one of these countries.
NEW VISA APPLICATION CENTRE OPEN FOR UKRAINIAN NATIONALS IN POLAND
An additional pop-up Visa Application Center has been set up in Rzeszow, Poland, which is now operational exclusively for British nationals' dependants, normally living in Ukraine.
British national dependents, normally living in Ukraine, can apply WITHOUT appointment Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 14:00.
Address: Rzeszow, ul. Warszawska 18, SkyRes business center, 2nd floor, Poland.
The Home Secretary promises the UK's new "bespoke humanitarian route" for the people of Ukraine that will "keep pace with the developing situation on the ground", but she rules out a visa waiver for those fleeing the conflict.
A further 100,000 Ukrainians will be able to seek sanctuary in the UK, the home secretary has announced, but Priti Patel has ruled out a visa waiver for those fleeing the conflict.
Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO), the governmental authority responsible for reviewing applications and issuing United Kingdom passports, prioritises passport applications for British nationals in Ukraine.
The government is proactively contacting people to get more information so cases can be prioritised. However, as of 24 February 2022, HMPO cannot accept passport applications from Ukraine.
The government has not published any new guidance or policy in relation to concessions or visas. Please follow our updates for more information.
We are keeping on top of all updates and will let you know the recent developments.