UK extends visas for Ukrainians amid war in Europe

PTI | London | Updated: 18-02-2024 16:43 IST | Created: 18-02-2024 16:43 IST
UK extends visas for Ukrainians amid war in Europe
  • Country:
  • United Kingdom

The UK government on Sunday extended its visa scheme for war-hit Ukrainians who sought refuge in the country in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, allowing an additional 18-month stay on their current terms.

The Home Office said that from early 2025, all those in the UK under one of the Ukraine visa schemes will be able to apply to stay here for an additional 18 months and continue to have the same rights to access work, benefits, healthcare, and education throughout their stay.

This will mean those who came on the first visas under one of the Ukraine visa schemes could now stay in the UK until September 2026.

"This new visa extension scheme provides certainty and reassurance for Ukrainians in the UK on their future as this war continues, and we will continue to provide a safe haven for those fleeing the conflict," said Tom Pursglove, UK Minister for Legal Migration and the Border.

"Almost two years on from the start of this brutal war, over 200,000 Ukrainians and their family members have arrived in Britain. Families across the country have opened their homes and their hearts to the people of Ukraine, showing extraordinary generosity, including offering shelter to those fleeing from the horrors of war," he said.

He said the move shows that the UK and its allies stand in solidarity with Ukraine and "unequivocally condemns [Russian President] Putin's unprovoked, premeditated and illegal war against Ukraine".

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalation in February 2022, the UK announced three schemes – Homes for Ukraine, the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Ukraine Extension Scheme – to grant visa holders three years leave to remain in the country, which would have meant the first visas were set to expire in March 2025.

The Home Office said the 18-month extension delivers on the government's long-term commitment to Ukraine and comes as the world approaches two years since "Russia's reprehensible full-scale invasion of Ukraine".

"I want to pay tribute to the extraordinary generosity shown by sponsors across the country. The government continues to provide them with 'thank-you' payments in recognition of their support. As more families arrive, we will need more sponsors to come forward. I encourage anyone interested in hosting to check their eligibility and apply as soon as they can," said UK Minister for Housing and Communities, Felicity Buchan.

Since the launch of the Ukraine schemes, the UK says it has offered or extended sanctuary to more than 283,000 Ukrainians.

"We appreciate all the help and assistance that our UK friends so generously provide for the temporarily displaced Ukrainians," added Eduard Fesko, Charge d'Affaires at the Embassy of Ukraine to the UK.

Under the extension, Ukrainians will be able to make their applications within the last three months of an existing visa. While the Ukraine Family Scheme allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK, the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine Extension Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members to apply for permission to stay in the UK.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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