Important updates to the Ukraine Visa Schemes

Following the conflict in Ukraine, the UK Government opened various visa routes and concessions for those affected to come to the UK. These routes granted Ukrainians three years’ leave to remain in the UK and granted a right to work.

One of these routes was the Ukraine Family Scheme which enabled Ukrainian family members of British citizens, those settled in the UK, holders of pre-settled or settled status and those who have humanitarian protection or refugee status, to join them in the UK.

As of 13 February 2024, a total of 71,900 visas had been issued under this scheme and 300 applications were awaiting a decision. 

On 19 February, the Government announced that the Ukraine Family Scheme was closed with immediate effect. This means that applications on this route were not possible from 3pm on 19 February. 

Those who have already been granted leave to remain on this route are not affected and will be able to remain in the UK until their permission expires. If they want to remain in the UK beyond the validity of their current permission, they will need to apply to switch into another immigration category, including the new Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme, which will open to applicants in early 2025, before the first Ukraine Family Visas expire in March 2025. 

Other important announcements and points to note in relation to the Ukraine Schemes include:

  • The Ukraine Extension Scheme will close on 16 May 2024. 
  • Children born in the UK to parents with permission on the Ukraine Extension Scheme will be able to apply to the scheme beyond 16 May 2024 and will be granted permission in line with their parents. 
  • The Homes for Ukraine Scheme remains in force, although it was recently announced that successful applicants applying from 11 March 2024 will be granted permission to live in the UK for 18 months, rather than the three years currently granted. 
  • Sponsors on the Homes for Ukraine Scheme must be British or Irish citizens or be settled in the UK. 

It is advisable that those affected ensure that they have diarised reminders ahead of all relevant deadlines, including visa expiries and ensure that family members’ visas are extended in time. 

The uncertainty regarding these routes is also causing concern for employer and landlords when it comes to right to rent and right to work.  Shoosmiths’ specialist immigration team are on hand to assist any landlords or employers who are unsure as to how these changes will impact on them. We will also publish updates as further detail is released from the Home Office. 


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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