Ukraine Extension Scheme announced under new Immigration Rules
31 March 2022
On 29 March 2022, the Home Office published new Immigration Rules covering immigration schemes aimed at facilitating the grant of UK immigration permission for Ukrainian citizens and their families. In addition to bringing the existing Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme within the Rules from 30 March 2022, a new Ukraine Extension Scheme will launch from 3 May 2022.
The Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, HC 1220, also introduces a new Appendix Relationship with Partner, which will be used from 30 March 2022 to set out the relationship requirements for individuals applying as a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner in a durable relationship of at least two years. Initially this appendix will only be relevant for applications under the Ukraine schemes, but will be applied to other immigration categories at a later date.
Applicant eligibility under the Ukraine Extension Scheme
To be eligible, an applicant must be:
- A Ukrainian citizen;
- A partner or child of a Ukrainian citizen who has/last had UK immigration permission in that capacity; or
- A child of a Ukrainian citizen born in the UK after 18 March 2022.
Applicants must also be in the UK and have had UK immigration permission on 18 March 2022 unless:
- They were in the UK with permission immediately before 1 January 2022 and that permission has expired by the time they make their application; or
- They are a child born in the UK after 18 March 2022.
Application process and grant
The application will be free of charge and applicants must provide their biometrics at a UKVCAS service point.
Immigration permission will be granted for up to three years. Those who have previously been granted immigration permission under any of the Ukraine Schemes will be granted a shorter period, to take the total permission under the Schemes up to three years.
UES participants will be allowed to work, study, rent private accommodation, use the NHS, access English language tuition and claim benefits in the UK.
Details of how to apply under UES will be made available on GOV.UK closer to the launch date.
For specific queries, individuals can contact a free 24/7 UKVI helpline on +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 from within the UK), or +44 (0)175 390 7510 for those who cannot contact UK 0808 numbers.
Outstanding issues for the UES
There will be some UES-eligible applicants whose UK immigration permission is due to expire between now and when the scheme launches on 3 May 2022. The Home Office has not yet made any announcement confirming that these individuals will not be subject to the usual measures that apply to overstayers until such time as permission is granted under UES, or whether they are expected to apply under existing routes in the interim. We have sought clarification on this.
Also, the UES will not cover dependants of individuals are currently in the UK in categories that do not permit dependants, such as the Seasonal Worker category. Once granted permission under UES, Seasonal Workers may be able to sponsor dependants under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, however this will only be after a significant delay. We have flagged this to the Home Office as a policy issue to consider.
Lastly, it is still not clear whether any of the Ukraine schemes will offer a path to settlement in the UK. Those who want the security of being able to settle in the UK may therefore prefer to switch into or extend under another UK immigration route they are eligible for.
Other points to note in the new Rules
HC 1220 confirms other important points:
- Applicants under the Ukraine schemes can apply for entry clearance from any Visa Application Centre around the world (although displaced individuals seeking to apply in certain other categories will still need to ask the Home Office to exercise discretion if applying from a country they are only present in as a visitor);
- Applicants under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme must be aged 18 or over on the date of application, unless they are applying with, or to join in the UK a parent or legal guardian;
- Individuals granted immigration permission after 18 March 2022 as a visitor will not be eligible to apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme from within the UK; and
- Those whose application under the Ukraine schemes is refused will not have a right of administrative review, however it will be open to them to reapply.
We will continue to provide updates on significant UK developments as they arise. For those who are interested in understanding what guidance and help has been made available for Ukrainian refugees in the EU and beyond, and the broader consequences of the war from a work perspective, see Ukraine in Crisis – Ius Laboris.