In response to an online petition to “Give Ukrainians on humanitarian visas rights to extend, stay and settle in the UK” the Government has responded and said that Ukrainians are expected to leave after three years.

The petition had gathered over 16,600 signatures (10,000 being the threshold to mandate a Government response), to which the U.K. Government said the following:

“Ukraine schemes are not a route for permanent relocation to the U.K. but instead allow for temporary protection until they can return home to rebuild Ukraine.”

It added: “The Government’s objective throughout has been to provide a proportionate period of leave to remain in the U.K. through visas issued under the schemes. The leave period is purposely set at 36 months to ensure those granted leave under the schemes have enough certainty to settle into independent living, work and contribute to society during their stay and to protect Ukrainians against the need to renew permission.”

One Ukrainian citizen who wishes to remain anonymous said: “This news is devastating. I married my British husband last year, he’s returned to work full time in the U.K. and now we have a baby on the way. What’s going to happen to my family?”

The U.K. Government established three schemes to enable Ukrainians to come to the Great Britain, or to extend their existing leave in the country – the Ukraine Family Scheme for those with family members in the country; the Homes for Ukraine Scheme for those seeking to live with sponsors, and the Visa Extension Scheme.

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The EU’s 27 nations have remained broadly united through the 19 months of war on their support for Ukraine, hitting Russia with 11 rounds of sanctions and spending billions of euros on arms for Kyiv.

All three schemes grant Ukrainians three years’ permission to remain in the U.K. with entitlement to work and access benefits and public services, although until now there had been no word from the government about options that might be open to Ukrainians that – over the course of three years – may have built a life in the country, potentially with spouses, children, work and education.

The U.K. Government said: “Having launched one of the fastest and biggest visa schemes in UK history, as of Feb. 23 2023, 219,723 visas have been issued, 23,777 applications have been granted leave to remain extensions while in the U.K., and 163,511 Ukrainians have so far arrived in the U.K.”

On the matter of the rights to stay after three years, the government said: “While we keep any future need for an extension of protection in the U.K. under review and in line with developments of the situation in Ukraine, we firmly believe that Ukraine will be safe again.”

It reiterated that its schemes “provide Ukrainians with three years’ temporary sanctuary in the U.K., until [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is defeated and they can safely return home” and that they “are not routes for settlement.”


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Comments (3)
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The unnamed woman quoted in the article with a British husband is a strange example to choose. She does not need to rely on one of the Ukraine schemes anyway. She can apply to stay as a spouse.
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Thank god, go back to Ukraine
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This shows that they absolutely have no idea what they’re doing, they can’t feel the whole situation and provide the real help, not giving empty words as they do. “temporary protection until they can return home to rebuild Ukraine” absolutely mental answer. For those women who left their country in war state, imagine spending many months to learn english language asap, finding a fine work, not for minimum 9.5, finding accommodation, having high hopes for the new future life in more toughest social position than UK citizens, and then they say you can’t stay here, go back rebuild your country in ashes, is this a summer camp for three years ? Those who couldn’t live here, have already left, why put a deadline for kicking everyone’s out ?In my opinion, nobody should arrive here, maybe “horrific” US would provide an opportunity to choose where you want to have your “new life” without this hypocrisy “we stand with ukraine”

John Doe
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@Artem, Citizenship is not owed to refugees and asylum seekers. The conditions were always well known that this is a temporary arrangement.

Influxes of refugees and asylum seekers cause a burden on economies, and even if those people do find work and relieve that burden, they occupy jobs and homes that the native population would have needed.

The UK has channels for legal immigration which are already sufficient:- work, love (marriage), studying, and high skill. Immigrants who can't meet any of those requirements don't get a free pass because they are victims. Ukrainians who meet those requirements can of course stay, as any immigrant can.

By the middle of this century, they believe up to 1 billion could be displaced by climate change making areas of the world uninhabitable. Do people propose we take a small portion of them (millions or tens or millions) as well? The country will be so overpopulated and economically crippled the refugees probably won't even want to come here. Already there's news articles about Ukrainian refugees temporarily going back to Ukraine for medical treatment because the UK NHS is completely overwhelmed.

The UK isn't the promise land. It has significant and rapidly growing problems and it's barely even in a position to offer the goodwill it does to asylum seekers and refugees we're already getting.

The situation shouldn't be abused by those who always dreamt of a life in the west and now they think this is how to get it.

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@John Doe,
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Many Ukrainian now think Ukraine is safe enough to return . They frequently go back for holidays. They claim UC but spend as little as possible in UK and take as much as possible back to Ukraine. We are being used, they have free aNHS, free dentists, free schooling and some use food banks even though they live with sponsors. If they thought they were in danger, they wouldn’t go home as often as they do. I say this as a past sponsor but regret doing it, to allow so many to access our benefit system and often return to Ukraine, which they would not do if they thought it wasn’t safe. I am referring to West Ukraine where there has been little action. We are being used and I resent it.

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@Ali, Most of the Ukrainians here are women with children. They either left their old parents there or their husbands. Because they wanted to save kids! I always get surprised at how people can easily judge other people. You probably are not a refugee and have never been there. You don't know what it means when you pull your children out of school, or yourself out of work (especially if the work was for 15 y or more). What if someone was going to get the graduation and had to stop... How will they catch up with the school in Ukraine in 3 years? What if the child can't read in Ukrainian because the first grade was here? There are a lot of questions. We are humans. And I agree with @Artem that it is not a summer camp.