The UK currently operates three different Ukraine Schemes designed to support those who wish to either come to or remain in the UK:
- Ukraine Family Scheme – for those with family members who are already settled in the UK
- Homes for Ukraine – for those sponsored by a UK household for 6 months
- Ukraine Extension Scheme – for those already in the UK with lawful status by 18 March 2022 (or where they held permission which expired on or after 1 January 2022) to continue their stay in the UK
The Ukrainian Extension Scheme has now been extended, meaning Ukranian nationals currently in the UK should consider whether they want to keep their current visa (e.g Skilled Worker) or switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
Background to the UK schemes for Ukrainians
On 1 March 2022, the Home Secretary made a statement to Parliament introducing the Ukraine Scheme as a concession allowing Ukrainian nationals and their family members to apply to come to or stay in the UK where they had family in the UK and were resident in Ukraine before 1 January 2022.
On 29 March 2022, the Ukraine Extension Scheme was announced to Parliament, as part of a series of changes to the Immigration Rules and became an additional Ukraine scheme included in Appendix Ukraine Scheme, alongside the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme enables Ukrainian nationals already in the UK with permission by 18 March 2022 (or where they held permission which expired on or after 1 January 2022) to continue their stay in the UK. The scheme began on 3 May 2022.
Eligibility for the scheme has now been extended to those who hold immigration permission by 16 November 2023.
Ukraine Extension Scheme 2023
The Ukraine Extension Scheme visa allows the individual to stay in the UK if they are Ukrainian or are a close family member of a Ukrainian. The Ukraine Extension Scheme does not require the applicant to have a UK-based sponsor.
Under the extension scheme, you will be permitted to live, work and study in the UK, and claim public funds (benefits) if eligible.
You can apply for this scheme if one of the following is true:
- You had permission to be in the UK on or between 18 March 2022 and 16 November 2023 – the permission does not need to cover the whole period and this leave can be under either the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
- You previously had permission to be in the UK and that permission expired on or after 1 January 2022.
- You are in the UK at the time of making the application.
- You apply before 16 May 2024.
At present, you will not be able to count any time you spend in the UK on this visa in a future application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The Home Office, as yet, has issued no additional guidance on the potential for this route to lead to UK settlement. However, we would expect any such confirmation to follow in the coming years since the extension scheme is now giving Ukrainians an additional three years of lawful residence.
For advice on your circumstances, contact our UK immigration specialists.
Last updated: 28 September 2023