The UK Home Office has announced temporary measures for Ukrainian nationals in the UK who need to need to extend their visa but who cannot return to Ukraine.
Under the UK Immigration Rules, for most visa categories, visa holders are generally required to leave the country in order to apply to extend or switch their UK visa.
The new temporary concessions allow Ukrainian nationals who are already in the UK to extend their permission and retain lawful status without having to leave the UK.
Guidance has ben provided for visa categories including visitors, skilled workers, seasonal workers, HGV drivers and pork butchers.
Ukrainian visitors in the UK who cannot return to Ukraine can now apply to switch from their visitor visa to a different points-based route or a family visa route. This is a temporary change to the usual rules, which would ordinarily not allow visitors to switch into a different visa category. Visa holders will however still have to show they meet the eligibility criteria of the visa they are switching into, and they will also have to pay the relevant application fees.
Ukrainian nationals who have a skilled worker or Tier 2 visa that is due to expire can apply to extend their leave or, if eligible, apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Seasonal workers who cannot return to Ukraine can extend their visa to 31 December 2022, provided they continue working for the same sponsor (scheme operator) in a job permitted by the Seasonal Worker route. The Home Office advises that UKVI will liaise with the worker’s sponsor for the extension, and the worker will be notified by the Home Office if this concession applies.
HGV drivers can apply to extend their visa to 31 December 2022 if they cannot return to Ukraine, provided they continue to work in their current role with the same sponsor. The Home Office advises that UKVI will liaise with the sponsor for the extension, and the worker will be notified by the Home Office if this concession is applicable.
Ukrainian pork butchers can request a temporary extension of their visa until 31 December 2022 if they cannot return to Ukraine. The Home Office advises that UKVI will liaise with their sponsor for the extension, and they will be notified by the Home Office if this concession applies. Pork butchers may also be eligible to switch into the skilled worker route, which allows leave to remain for five years and can lead to UK indefinite leave to remain.