From 18 March 2022, people, businesses and charities in the UK can sponsor Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family who were resident in Ukraine on 1 January 2022. This sponsorship allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK for 3 years without restriction on what work they can do.
There is no visa fee and no quota on the number of applications. The sponsored people must be outside the UK to apply. Both applicants and sponsors will be security checked.
What does the UK sponsor need to do?
- Have a residential spare room or separate self-contained unoccupied accommodation that will not become statutorily overcrowded. It must be available for 6 months or more. You can claim up to £350 per month for providing this for the first 12 months.
- Register your interest here to get information on how to apply when it opens.
- From 18 March 2022, help complete another form which will act as the visa application. The sponsored people will not need to go to a visa centre before coming to the UK but will need to provide their fingerprints and a digital photograph when they arrive in the UK. The documents they will likely need to have available are:
- Valid Ukrainian passport.
- Birth and marriage/civil partner certificates. A basic family tree might also help.
- Any documents to show they were resident in Ukraine before 1 January 2022. E-documents should suffice.
- Details of any criminal convictions.
Whilst the announcement of this very favourable visa offering is welcome news, it does seem to be a ‘work in progress’. Snags should be expected. It is not clear why it has been announced by the Housing Department rather than UK Visas and Immigration and which department will be undertaking the security checks. The GDPR Data Controller is the Housing Department. We hope that the Immigration Health Surcharge will be waived and that visa applications will be processed in hours or days rather than weeks. UK Visas and Immigration have suspended the priority processing option for other nationals applying for UK visas outside the UK in order to divert this resource to the Ukrainian applications.
We do not know what is going to happen in 3 years' time when the 'visas' will be due to expire and whether this visa route will lead to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK.
The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme opens on Friday 18 March for applicants. It is expected that there will be huge interest in the process and we hope that the website will be robust enough to handle the large number of visitors to the website. This was not the case when the EU Settlement Scheme was launched, but hopefully lessons will have been learnt from this.
If you have any questions in relation to UK immigration, please contact Paul McCarthy or another member of the immigration team.
UK individuals, charities, community groups and businesses can now record their interest in supporting Ukrainians fleeing the war through the government’s new Homes for Ukraine scheme.