Provide Ukrainians on Ukraine visa schemes with settled status. This will help to bring stability to their lives, which is threatened by the time limit of the schemes and uncertainty of when the war is going to end.
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Ukraine schemes are limited to 3 years and thousands of visas are set to expire in 2025. The schemes’ duration depends on the end of the war which is unknown. This uncertainty creates lots of pressure for already stressed refugees and makes long-term planning and commitments impossible, which can significantly reduce the quality of life. Alternative visa routes to settle could be costly and not fit for all Ukrainians, putting them at risk of eventually having to leave the UK or stay in the UK illegally.
Wednesday 20th September 2023
Our schemes provide Ukrainians with three years’ temporary sanctuary in the UK, until it is safe to return to Ukraine, as we believe it will be. We keep these temporary routes under constant review.
The UK, together with our allies and partners, stands in solidarity with Ukraine and we condemn in the strongest possible terms the Russian Government’s war against Ukraine.
The UK Government established three bespoke schemes to enable Ukrainians to come to the UK, or to extend their existing leave in the UK, for sanctuary. Under all three schemes, which are free to apply for, Ukrainians are granted three years’ permission to remain in the UK - with the first set of visas not due to expire until March 2025 - with entitlement to work, and access benefits and public services.
As of 12 September 2023, 240,000 visas have been issued with 186,600 (as of 11 September 2023) Ukrainians having arrived in the UK. A further 28,300 (12 September) applicants have also been granted permission to remain extensions meaning more than 214,000 Ukrainians have found sanctuary in the UK thanks to these generous schemes:
• The Ukraine Family Scheme – allows for both immediate and extended family of Ukrainian nationals in the UK to join them in this country.
• Homes for Ukraine – where any household in the UK can sponsor Ukrainians fleeing the war if they can commit to providing at least 6 months’ accommodation for them.
• The Ukraine Extension Scheme – enables Ukrainian nationals already in the UK with permission to enter or stay (or where they held permission which expired on or after 1 January 2022) to continue their stay in the UK.
We firmly believe that Ukraine will be safe again and recognise that the country of Ukraine will need the return of its citizens, from around the world, to help recover and rebuild their economy and infrastructure.
Therefore, the Ukraine schemes were created as routes for temporary sanctuary and are not routes for settlement. Ukrainians living in the UK on our Ukraine schemes can also apply for other types of leave, where they are eligible, for example study or work visas.
We are also keeping the need for a possible extension of permission to remain for those who are here on our Ukraine schemes under constant review. We do this while engaging closely with the Ukrainian Government, as well as with our counterparts globally, including governments within Europe who are hosting Ukrainians under the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive (or similar), which is currently confirmed until 4 March 2024, with the possibility of extension to March 2025.