It will not have escaped your attention that Putin has launched an invasion into Ukraine, igniting major concerns across the globe and potentially lighting the initial spark which could lead to war in Europe, some fear.

 

Ukraine will be looking for aid from its allies, including the UK. Part of the UK’s support to them in this time comes in the form of new concessions for Ukrainian citizens and their families inside and outside the UK, allowing easier routes into the country and more lenient rules to abide by to extend their stay here.

 

This blog will focus on these new concessions.

 

Changes announced for Ukrainian nationals in the UK include:

 

  • 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 immigration 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 requirements for leave based on exceptional circumstances.

 

  • Ukrainian nationals on an existing seasonal worker visa will have their leave in the UK extended to 31 December 2022.

 

  • Ukrainian nationals in temporary HGV/pork butcher jobs will have their leave in the UK extended to 31 December 2022 and will also be allowed to apply to the skilled worker route.

 

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said:

 

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine amid this unprovoked and antidemocratic act of Russian aggression.

 

I have immediately ordered changes to our visa policy to provide certainty to our Ukrainian friends and colleagues living, working and studying in the UK.”

 

Who is eligible for these concessions?

 

To be eligible to be considered under this concession applicants must be a Ukrainian national seeking leave to remain under Appendix FM or Part 7 or 8 of the Immigration Rules and either:

 

  • in the UK

 

  • with either limited leave to enter or remain, or an overstayer and paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules applies

 

  • have paid the appropriate fee and Immigration Health Charge (if required)

 

  • have provided a passport or other travel document which satisfactorily establishes their identity and nationality

 

  • meet the requirements in Appendix FM or Parts 7 or 8 of the Immigration Rules for the route they are applying under, including eligibility and suitability requirements, subject to the concessions contained in this guidance.

 

Or, in respect to document flexibility,

 

  • be outside the UK.

 

  • have made a valid application for entry clearance including providing biometrics.

 

  • have paid the appropriate fee and Immigration Health Charge (if required).

 

  • have provided a passport or other travel document which satisfactorily establishes their identity and nationality.

 

  • meet the requirements in Appendix FM or Part 8 of the Immigration Rules for the route they are applying under, including eligibility and suitability requirements, subject to the concessions contained in this guidance.

 

If an applicant meets these criteria, they should be granted permission to enter or stay on the route applied for and for the length of time normally allowed under the route in which they are applying and on the same conditions.

 

Switching made easier

 

The situation in Ukraine may mean that some people who are eligible to switch to different visas are unable to return to their home country in order to do so. There is a new concession intended to facilitate those who have come for a visit or on a temporary route but who meet the requirements of the family Rules to continue their stay in the UK, including on routes to settlement where those requirements are met, and where UKVI are satisfied that it would not be appropriate to require them to return to Ukraine.

 

It covers those who meet the general requirements above and meet the following relevant requirements:

 

  • the applicant holds valid leave as a visitor or valid leave granted for a period of 6 months or less, unless that leave is as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, or was granted pending the outcome of family court or divorce proceedings, or has been granted exceptional assurance.

 

  • the applicant has confirmed in writing that they wish to be considered under this concession and has explained their reasons for applying in-country, rather than returning to Ukraine to make an entry clearance application.

 

More lenient documentation requirements

 

Due to the current situation in Ukraine, an applicant may be unable to provide the full range of documents required for the family route under which they are applying. If so, an applicant must explain why they cannot provide a normally required document when they make their application.

 

A sufficient and reasonable explanation may for example be that it is not possible to obtain a document from an institution as it is not functioning or is not offering its full range of services due to military conflict.

 

Another sufficient and reasonable explanation may, for example, be that the document can only be obtained in person, no one else in Ukraine can reasonably be expected to obtain it on the applicant’s behalf, and it is not reasonable to expect the applicant to travel to the location in Ukraine as it may be unsafe.

 

The Home Office has said it will take a reasonable stance when it comes to documentation, but each case will still be handled on its own individual merits.

 

Our thoughts

 

We are pleased to see these concessions being written into the immigration rules for the benefit of Ukrainian citizens. The situation their country is facing is horrendous and they must be supported by the UK and the rest of the world. We hope that the Home Office will be lenient towards the Ukrainian’s and that the relaxing of some of these rules can bring them some comfort during this difficult time.

 

Have questions? Get in touch today!

 

Call us on 020 7928 0276, phone calls are operating as usual and will be taking calls from 9:30am to 6:00pm.

 

Email us on info@lisaslaw.co.uk.

 

Use the Ask Lisa function on our website. Simply enter your details and leave a message, we will get right back to you: https://lisaslaw.co.uk/ask-question/

 

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