Statement of Changes: Ukraine
visa schemes formally
31 March 2022
The Home Office published a new Statement of Changes yesterday (29 March 2022) which formally incorporates new visa routes for Ukrainians into the UK’s Immigration Rules and introduces a new extension scheme for Ukrainian nationals already in the UK.
The new ‘Appendix Ukraine Scheme’ which is being added to the Rules includes several routes in response to the crisis in Ukraine: the Ukraine Family Scheme, the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, and the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
Announcing the changes, Kevin Foster MP, Minister for Safe and Legal Migration said: “These new routes show the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and its citizens. The changes we have made to the visa process are making it quicker and simpler for Ukrainians to come here, as well as ensuring those already here can stay.
Due to the importance of providing the certainty reflected in these rules, they will come into effect on 30 March 2022 for the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme; and 3 May 2022 for the Ukraine Extension Scheme.”
Below is a brief recap on the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, plus an overview of the new Ukraine Extension Scheme for those already in the UK on another form of visa.
The Ukraine Family Scheme
The Ukraine Family Scheme is a fee-free route which allows British citizens or settled persons in the UK to sponsor immediate and extended family members to come to the UK from Ukraine. Under the scheme, eligible applicants will be able to live, work and study in the UK as well as access public funds for up to three years.
UK-based sponsors must have either:
- British citizenship
- Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- Refugee status
- Humanitarian protection status
- EU Settled status
- EU pre-settled status (as long as they were living in the UK before 1 January 2021).
The visa applicant must be a Ukrainian national or a relevant family member of a Ukrainian national. Family members who are eligible to apply for this scheme include:
- Immediate family – married, civil or durable partner of the UK-based sponsor; child aged under 18 of the UK-based sponsor or of their partner; parent of a child aged under 18 who is the UK-based sponsor; or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of the UK-based sponsor.
- Extended family – parent of a UK-based sponsor aged 18 or over or of their partner; grandparent of the UK-based sponsor or of their partner; grandchild of the UK-based sponsor or of their partner; sibling of the UK-based sponsor or of their partner; adult child (aged 18 or over) of the UK-based sponsor or of their partner; or aunt, uncle, cousin, niece or nephew of the UK-based sponsor.
- Immediate family of extended family – married, civil or durable partner, child aged under 18, parent of a child aged under 18 or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of an extended family member.
An applicant for entry clearance must have been resident in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022, which recognises that some people may have left Ukraine immediately before the invasion.
People applying for entry clearance who have a valid Ukrainian passport will be able to start their application overseas, be permitted to travel to the UK and granted 6 months’ leave to enter at the UK border, and then complete their application in the UK by providing biometrics in the UK so they can be granted up to the full 36 months.
The Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme
The Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme is a new fee-free route which allows a Ukrainian national and their immediate family to come to the UK where they have an approved UK sponsor. This scheme offers an alternative to the Family Scheme for those who do not have family ties to the UK. People arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years.
The sponsor must be a person or organisation based in the UK. Individuals with temporary permission to enter or stay in the UK who wish to act as a sponsor must have at least six months’ remaining on that permission.
Sponsors must provide accommodation for the Ukrainian national and (where relevant) their immediate family. They must meet the requirements for approval as a sponsor set out in the guidance published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The scheme will allow Ukrainian nationals to bring their immediate family: their married, civil or durable partner, child aged under 18, parent (if the Ukrainian national is a child aged under 18), or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner.
Like the Family Scheme, applicants to the Homes for Ukraine scheme must have been resident in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022. The same entry clearance and biometrics rules outlined above apply for those holding a valid Ukrainian passport.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme
The Ukraine Extension Scheme is a new fee-free route which allows a Ukrainian national who is in the UK and had permission in the UK on 18 March (including those who have overstayed by a short period) to stay in the UK. A person who had such permission as a Ukrainian national’s married, civil or durable partner or child can also stay in the UK under this route.
Applicants must have had permission to enter or stay in the UK on 18 March 2022, unless:
- they were in the UK with permission to enter or stay immediately before 1 January but that permission has since expired; or
- they are a child born in the UK after 18 March 2022.
Grants of permission to stay under the Ukraine Extension Scheme will be for whatever is the shorter of either 36 months or a period which would mean the applicant has been granted a maximum of 36 months under the Ukraine Scheme. The scheme will permit access to public funds, work, and study.
The changes in relation to the Ukraine Extension Scheme will come into effect on 3 May 2022.
Keep up to date
Ukrainian nationals and their family members seeking to enter the UK under one of the above schemes are advised to check the latest guidance available on GOV.UK before applying.
Smith Stone Walters will continue to provide updates on the relevant UK immigration schemes available for Ukrainian nationals. To keep up to date with the latest news, please sign up to our newsletter.