Home Office releases details of visa concessions for Ukrainian nationals
On Sunday the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that the UK would make ‘temporary visa concessions’ in response to the situation in Ukraine, but the concessions were criticised by many as being insubstantial in light of the gravity of the situation, and primarily consisted of the ability of Ukrainians currently in the UK being allowed to switch to a Points-Based visa without having to leave the UK to make their application.
Further announcements yesterday and on Monday suggest that potentially up to 100,000 refugees will be allowed safe passage to the UK. Immediate family members of British nationals who usually reside in Ukraine are able to apply for a free family migration visa to come to the UK. The usual eligibility criteria, including language and income requirements, have been suspended and those unable to meet them will be granted 12 months’ leave to enter the UK. The Home Office has confirmed that visa waivers will not be given in respect of Ukrainian nationals because of security concerns.
Individuals looking to use this route will still have to provide biometric information and UKVI is aiming to process applications within 24 hours of biometrics being submitted. Applications for this visa have been made more difficult by the closure of the UK Visa Application Centre in Kyiv although a temporary site has been set up in Lviv for those able to get there. Furthermore, Ukrainians can also apply for this visa through the Visa Application Centres located in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
The move in favour of family members is welcome respite for Ukrainians faced with the very strict family migration provisions of the UK’s Immigration Rules. It is worth noting that adult dependent relatives usually have to be in exceptionally dire circumstances with no prospect of local help or overseas financial contributions in order to be granted visas. In practice, very few adult dependent relative visas are granted owing to how restrictive the rules are.
More details on the visa policy for Ukrainians are expected to be released over the coming days.