While some countries, including Ireland, have completely waived the visa requirement for Ukrainians, the government continues to insist that people cannot come directly from Ukraine to the UK without documents and must apply for a visa. Travel to a “safe” country “.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has dismissed those calling for urgent change, arguing that the criticisms are “wrong”.
What are the rules for Ukrainians trying to come to the UK?
Currently, Ukrainian citizens must have a valid visa to enter the UK and risk not being able to take flights, trains or ferries without a visa.
No specific resettlement program has been announced fleeing ukraineWhich means people must apply for a regular travel visa, although the Home Office says “visa pathways remain under constant review”.
However, the evacuation of the British Embassy in Kiev means that almost all visa applications from within Ukraine have been suspended, even for those who meet the requirements.
A temporary consulate in Lviv, western Ukraine, issues visas only to Close family members of British nationals who normally reside in the country.
Everyone else, including those with Ukrainian relatives in the UK, have been told that they must first travel to another country, such as Poland, Hungary or Romania, where they can apply through the Visa Application Center at British consulates.
What concessions have been made?
Home Secretary Priti Patel has temporarily waived application fees for those eligible for the Family Immigration Route, and allowed 12-month admissions for others who did not meet the requirements, and urgent visas through a 24/7 helpline.
However, it has not yet made global changes to the visa process and the Home Office insists that “any changes in visa policy will not harm border security”.
Ms Patel made changes to allow Ukrainians who are already in the UK and who have existing visas to stay longer, meaning they won’t have to deal with expulsion in the meantime. Under the changes, Ukrainian citizens who are already living in or visiting the UK can extend their leave and “can apply for another leave according to the family track without meeting immigration status requirements”.
Their leave in the UK for those holding a temporary visa for farm workers, heavy goods vehicle drivers and pork butchers will be extended until December 31, 2022.
“I have immediately ordered changes to our visa policy to provide certainty to our Ukrainian friends and colleagues who live, work and study in the UK,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
What are other countries doing?
Many highlighted the example of Ireland, which moved on Saturday to end the visa requirement for Ukrainians entering the country.
Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the emergency measure would support the speedy exit of Ukrainian family members of Irish citizens and families of Ukrainians residing in Ireland.
Ukrainians who enter Ireland have 90 days after arrival to request “regulation”.
Ms McEntee said: “I will immediately cancel the visa requirements between Ukraine and Ireland.
This applies to all Ukrainians who wish to travel to Ireland. It will assist Irish citizens and their families in Ukraine as well as families of members of the Ukrainian community here in Ireland who may wish to leave Ukraine.
“This measure will be kept in check and the government will also work with colleagues on possible additional measures at the EU level that could help those fleeing Ukraine.”
What do critics say?
Opposition figures and leaders in Scotland and Wales have called for a broader change to allow Ukrainians to seek asylum in the UK without having to apply first.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked the Home Office to raise visa requirements for those arriving from Ukraine and promised that the Scottish government “is ready to assist and play our full part in the resettlement effort”.
Wales Prime Minister Mark Druckford also said the UK would have to “bypass” current visa arrangements for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Labor shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said visa restrictions for those seeking asylum in the UK from Ukraine were “totally unacceptable”.
Talk to Sky on Trevor Phillips on SundayHe said the process was “bureaucratic” with “a lot of bureaucracy” and added: “He insists that people prove their salaries and have family ties in this country.
People flee with their children in their arms. Why should you ask people how rich they are to enter our country? Of course, there are some people who may not have family ties, but who want to come to this country.”
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