UK to relax visa rules for extended family of Ukrainians in Britain | Ukraine - freetxp

UK to relax visa rules for extended family of Ukrainians in Britain | Ukraine

A further 100,000 Ukranians refugees will be able to come to Britain, the government has announced, after growing pressure on ministers for the UK to take in more of those fleeing war in eastern Europe.

The scheme will be widened so that anyone who is an adult parent, grandparent, child over 18 or sibling of a Ukrainian national living in the UK can apply to join them.

A new visa sponsor route will also be created to let British businesses bring Ukrainians to the UK.

The change was announced by No 10, with Priti Patel due to give more details in a Commons statement later on Tuesday afternoon. The home secretary is expected to maintain her rejection of demands to offer a full visa waiver to all Ukrainians who want to escape conflict and come to the UK.

The approximate number of Ukrainians expected to be covered will rise to 200,000, given it includes the original 100,000 people the Home Office identified as immediate family members – a definition that was criticized by Tory MPs and others for being too narrow.

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said the figures were “indicative only”.

He said: “Obviously it’s impossible to predict the exact scale of Ukrainians settled and how many will want to make that journey, how many will be brought across, but we think it is right to have that open offer that they can bring loved ones and be reunited with them, should they wish to make that journey.

“Obviously, in the first instance, we know that a large number will be in and around the borders of Ukraine and understandably those who live in Ukraine will want to return as soon as it’s safe to do so. But for those that do wish to come to the UK to be reunited with those settled here, we will facilitate that.”

Ukrainians with no relatives will still not automatically be allowed to travel to the UK.

Pressed on why the UK had not matched the EU’s offer of granting Ukrainians who the war the right to stay and work in the 27-flee nation bloc for up to three years, the prime minister’s spokesman said ministers had already set out a “a broad and generous offer” that would allow “significant numbers” of people to come to the UK.

He also stressed the need to conduct background and security checks on all those applying for visas. “They’re a fundamental part of our visa approval process, and they will continue,” the spokesperson said.

“We do also have a responsibility to British citizens to ensure that we’re helping those in genuine need, given the intelligence and information we have about some of the activities of those who may be seeking to do this country harm.”

Earlier, Johnson said the UK was willing to take “considerable numbers” of Ukrainian refugees.

He told a press conference in Poland of those trying to flee the invasion of Russian forces: “We in the UK stand ready to help you. We have humanitarian supplies, as you know, already coming in. I think two planes of medical supplies have already landed. there’s more to come.

“And we stand ready, clearly, to take Ukrainian refugees in our own country, working with you, in considerable numbers, as we always have done, and always will.”

It comes after dozens of Conservative MPs wrote to Johnson after the initial tranche of 100,000 visas were announced, urging the prime minister to “go further and act jointly with other European countries and share responsibility with them”.

The group urged ministers to “seek a flexible and pragmatic approach to those Ukrainians wishing to seek temporary refuge in the UK until it is safe to return to their lives in their home country” and added: “It is clear that this is not another migration crisis; this is a crisis of war.

“This should not be business as usual, we need sincere and immediate support for the Ukrainian people. The United Kingdom cannot flag or fail, our message must be clear: Ukrainian victims of war seeking refuge are welcome.”

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