Ukraine – what employers and universities need to know

Thalej Vashista

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Mar 24, 2022 (Issuewire.com) – The escalating conflict in Ukraine has led to an evolving immigration crisis, as individuals evacuate the country and employers and universities work to ensure the safety of employees, students and their families, which is of course paramount.

Paragon Law is closely monitoring the situation. This kind of crisis requires careful and sensitive handling, and we are working across our three teams – Business, Family and Asylum & Human Rights to ensure that up to date advice and information is provided.

Key High-Level Issues

Men aged 18-60 and some women in strategic occupations e.g. doctors cannot leave Ukraine.

The UK embassy and visa centres in Ukraine are now closed.

There are no commercial flights, leaving people to have to evacuate to bordering countries (Poland, Romania, Hungry, Moldova and Slovakia) following which they are finding safe onward destinations. Currently, 6.2 million people have fled Ukraine on top of the 6.5 million people that have been displaced internally (source: BBC, 2022).

EU countries are the most favourable as Ukrainian citizens do not require a visa to enter and can apply for permission to stay and work. EU countries are offering temporary protection for one year which will then be extendable for an additional two years. (source: The Guardian)

If you employ Ukrainian or British citizens with family members in Ukraine or bordering countries key considerations are:

– To provide 1-to-1 support and/or written guidance.
– Know that MPs have been provided with a dedicated unit at the Home Office to refer cases of their constituents and therefore another option is to provide support to colleagues to present their case to their MP.

It may not be their most pressing concern but remember that there could be immigration consequences for people who return to Ukraine. Colleagues and students should be advised of the risks accordingly.

There are several businesses with job vacancies that have approached the Government directly, offering their support to displaced Ukrainians with jobs and training to carry out roles with them. For example, the Co-Op would welcome applications for 3,300 vacancies and Tesco made 1,400 roles available. In total, UK PLC has made over 13,500 roles available for refugees from Ukraine. Lord Harrington, minister for refugees has been tasked to coordinate the government’s response. (source: Marketing Week)

UK Immigration Routes:

1. Ukraine Family Scheme

Family members in the UK must be British nationals, have permanent residence, be EU nationals with pre-settled status or be someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection.

The Ukrainian family member will be subject to security checks once in the UK and will need to meet one of the following criteria:

– be applying to join or accompany a UK based family member; and
– be a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying; and
– must have been resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 (even if they have since left Ukraine).

Family members in Ukraine (or those who have since left) include:

– Immediate family members (spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, children under 18, parents of children in the UK, fiance(e)s and proposed civil partners);
– Extended family members (parents, children over 18, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings); and
– Immediate family members of an extended family member.

Ukrainian family members are being asked to provide an official document confirming their relationship to the UK based family member, though do note that applications can be submitted without this evidence with an explanation of why no document has been provided. The Home Office will apply the document flexibility concession.

There is no application fee and once the application is submitted the Ukrainian family member will from Tuesday 15/03 receive an email allowing them to board a plane, train or boat. They will then receive a stamp in their passport upon arrival before giving their biometrics. Successful applicants will be given a 3-year visa and will be able to work and study in the UK.

For more information, including how to make an application can be found here.

Other Visa Categories for Ukrainian Nationals Overseas

Ukrainian nationals are entitled to apply for a visa to the UK under other visa categories so long as they meet the requirements

In some cases, this may be more advantageous to the applicant because the Ukraine Family Scheme is only a temporary scheme and may not lead to settlement. Therefore, an immediate family member may want to consider applying under one of the Family Routes if they want to live in the UK permanently. However, such a decision will need to be balanced against the speed with which such an application will be decided and the requirement of having to pay an application fee and the payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Therefore, an initial application under the Ukraine Family Scheme may be best for family members currently displaced overseas to secure quicker entry to the UK. Once in the UK, they can then apply to switch into a category under the Family Route. Concessions are in place to allow for document flexibility and switching into these categories from inside the UK by Ukrainian nationals who are in the UK as visitors or on other short term visa categories.

If the Ukrainian national was in the process of applying for a work or study visa or a visa under another category and was unable to complete this, they will be able to continue the application from another safe country.

3. Ukrainian Nationals already in the UK

They will be able to apply to extend their visa or switch to another visa category from inside the UK, even if this is not usually allowed.

When applying to switch they will need to meet the requirements of that route.

Ukrainian nationals already in the UK under one of the Seasonal Worker categories (including HGV driver and Pork Butcher) will see their visas automatically extended to 31 December 2022 if they continue working for their current sponsor. The Home Office will contact the sponsor directly to confirm this and so such visa holders should not need to do anything at this time.

4. Homes for Ukraine Scheme
This scheme which opened on 18/03 is a humanitarian sponsorship pathway that allows sponsors, including charities, private sponsors, businesses and community groups, to bring individuals who have been forced to flee Ukraine to the UK, even if they do not have family ties here. As a sponsor, you will need to be matched to an individual or family to commence the visa process.

There will be no cap on the number of people that can be sponsored under this route. Sponsorship commitment will be for a minimum of 6 months, and you must be able to provide accommodation as a sponsor. The Government will be offering an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month for up to 12 months to people who can accommodate.

The Home Office will work with devolved administrations, charities and local authorities to facilitate sponsorship under the scheme and all social care needs.

Ukrainians that are sponsored under the scheme will be given a 3-year visa and will be able to claim benefits, public services (healthcare and schooling) and work.

If you have any further queries, please contact us in the usual way. You can also visit our Ukraine updates page click here.

Media Contact

Emma Robinson

emmar@paragonlaw.co.uk

Source :Paragon Law

This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.

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