Applicant eligibility under UES
Application process and grant
Outstanding issues for UES
Other new points
On 29 March 2022, the Home Office published new Immigration Rules that cover 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 (UES) will launch from 3 May 2022.
The statement of changes to the Immigration Rules(1) also introduces the 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 it will be applied later to other immigration categories.
Applicant eligibility under UES
In order to be eligible, an applicant must be:
- a Ukrainian citizen;
- a partner or child of a Ukrainian citizen who has, or last had, UK immigration permission in that capacity; or
- a child of a Ukrainian citizen born in the United Kingdom after 18 March 2022.
Applicants must also be in the United Kingdom and have had UK immigration permission on 18 March 2022 unless:
- they were in the United Kingdom with permission immediately before 1 January 2022 and that permission has expired by the time that they make their application; or
- they are a child born in the United Kingdom after 18 March 2022.
The application will be free of charge and applicants must provide their biometrics at a service point of the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service.
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, in order 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 National Health Service, access English language tuition and claim benefits in the United Kingdom.
Details of how to apply under UES will be made available on gov.uk closer to the launch date.
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 the UES, or whether they are expected to apply under existing routes in the interim. It is hoped that clarification on this will be provided.
Further, the UES will not cover dependants of individuals are currently in the United Kingdom in categories that do not permit dependants, such as the Seasonal Worker category. Once granted permission under the 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 United Kingdom. Those who want the security of being able to settle in the United Kingdom may therefore prefer to switch into or extend under another UK immigration route for which they are eligible.
HC 1220 confirms other important points:
- applicants under the Ukraine schemes can apply for entry clearance from any visa application centre in 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 that 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, a parent or legal guardian in the United Kingdom;
- 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 United Kingdom; 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.
For further information on this topic please contact Andrew Osborne, Supinder Singh Sian or Kathryn Denyer at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000) or email ([email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.