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UK announces visa concessions for Ukrainians

Building on immediate support provided in recent weeks to assist British Nationals to leave Ukraine, the Home Secretary has today confirmed that Ukrainians who are on work, study or visit visas in the UK will have their visas temporarily extended or be able to switch onto different visa routes.

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

These concessions are available for people with valid visas in the UK.

All visa routes remain under constant review and any changes to the visa policy will not compromise border security.

Home Secretary Priti Patel 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.

Two weeks ago, the Home Secretary ordered a package of measures to support British Nationals 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.

The Home Office priority remains supporting British Nationals and their families who want to leave Ukraine and UKVI are working around the clock to process visa applications.

We have surged staff to visa application centres. Dependants of British Nationals resident in Ukraine who need a UK visa can apply through the new, temporary location in Lviv or through a Visa Application Centre in nearby countries, including Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary.

However, all other visa services in Ukraine have been suspended.

The UK’s flexible and agile visa system allows these proportional changes to be implemented quickly while ensuring appropriate security checks remain in place.

Her Majesty’s Passport Service is prioritising British Nationals in Ukraine who need a passport and working with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to ensure those who need emergency travel documents receive them quickly.

Last week, the Home Secretary ordered the closure of the Tier 1 Investor Visa amid security concerns that it was being used by people acquiring their wealth illegitimately and being associated with wider corruption.

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