The Home Office has introduced a number of concessions across the UK’s immigration system in response to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Associate Solicitor, Irfan Ali, explores what this means in relation to the UK’s business, work and study immigration routes.
We have outlined here the information that is available for Ukrainian family members of British citizens/settled persons seeking to get to the UK, along with information on other potential options for individuals.
Ukrainian nationals already in the UK
If the usual requirements to switch into a business, work or study route, or extend permission to stay, from within the UK can be met, the Home Office is processing applications as normal at this time.
Where the usual requirements cannot be met, the Home Office has introduced concessions to enable individuals (and their dependants) who are already in the UK to make applications from inside the UK where:
- they are switching into a route that would normally require them return to Ukraine and submit an application, including those who hold visitor visas and students on Short-term study visas; and
- to allow documentary flexibility where Ukrainian nationals may be unable to submit required documentation with an application to extend their permission to stay or switch into a different route (for example, they may not be able to retrieve documents from their own properties in Ukraine, they may be unable to obtain documents from universities and businesses in Ukraine, etc.).
The concessions are being reviewed and updated on a regular basis. You can view the current guidance here and we recommend that you check this information regularly for the latest position.
It is essential that any application that is made relying on a concession includes a letter explaining the reason for this (i.e. why a document cannot be obtained or why the switching concession is being relied on).
Ukrainian nationals overseas
The UK still requires Ukrainian nationals who are overseas to apply for a visa before coming to the UK under the business, work or study routes.
The Home Office has confirmed that all regular UK visa processing operations in Ukraine are suspended.
In relation to those who had made an application that had not been completed prior to the suspension of services, it has stated that:
‘if you did not keep your passport when you submitted your visa application in Kyiv, you will be contacted by the VAC to discuss how and when your passport will be returned to you. In the meantime, your passport will remain in a secure location in the Kyiv VAC.’
Ukrainian nationals who are outside Ukraine are currently permitted to use visa application centres in any country.
The documentary flexibility concession referred to in the section above also applies in relation to those making a visa application from outside the UK. Again, it is extremely important that a letter explaining why relevant documents are missing is submitted with the application.
Homes for Ukraine (sponsor scheme)
It may be possible for education providers, employers, charities and other organisations to provide support via the Homes for Ukraine scheme. This enables organisations to sponsor individuals who need support.
Information on the scheme, including how to register for it, is here.
This article was originally posted on 7 March 2022 and has been updated to reflect changes in policy.
How our Immigration Solicitors can help
We have set up a dedicated helpdesk to provide urgent legal advice and assistance for individuals, business and education providers affected by events in Ukraine. To access this service, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our solicitors will respond to you.
For general UK immigration law advice and assistance, please contact us or complete our enquiry form below.