Better late than never, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has just announced that additional family members of British and settled persons in the UK will be able to join them, waiving a number of compulsory requirements of the standard family routes. This announcement has been made in response to the general feeling that the Home Office was 'washing its hands' from the current humanitarian crisis, with extremely limited options available to date. 

What makes the announcement more remarkable is that it would also potentially open the door to applicants with no family links to the UK. Whether this is a viable option or a PR announcement remains to be seen until the official guidance is published.

Considering that the Visa Application Centres in Ukraine have closed, and that there is only one pop-up centre in Lviv available to limited direct family members only, advising applicants to submit their applications from neighbouring countries may not be the most practical way forward when it is not safe to travel. It is not hard to see how many applicants would lack the basic facilities to complete an application in English, upload the mandatory supporting documents and travel hundreds of miles to give their fingerprints before their case is considered, and hopefully approved. 

We saw at the beginning of the pandemic how British citizens were able to return to the UK, with their Chinese family members being issued visa waivers remotely by embassy officials. However, this process still carries a considerable amount of admin. What would be a faster, more practical solution? By making Ukraine a non-visa country and allow carriers to bring refugees without penalties, granting them leave to enter on arrival, like most European countries have done so far. 

For further information on this or any other UK immigration and nationality issues, please contact the Immigration team at Ince.