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Ukraine: Major Criteria Change For Ukrainians Eligible To Seek Refuge In The UK Announced By Home Office

Ukraine: Major Criteria Change For Ukrainians Eligible To Seek Refuge In The UK Announced By Home Office

The change comes after the Home Office faced criticisms over visa restrictions.

The UK Home Office has confirmed it will change the criteria for Ukrainians who can immediately seek refugee status in the UK.

It is estimated that 200,000 people will be eligible to come to the UK as a result of the decision, which came following criticism from the public over former restrictions on eligibility.

Previously, refugees would have only been allowed to apply for visas if they were a spouse or civil partner of someone in the UK, an unmarried partner of at least two years, a child under the age of 18, a parent with a grandchild under the age of 18, or adult relatives acting as carers. 

While speaking in Poland today, March 1, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK has a 'tradition' of taking people from war zones and confirmed the rules had been changed after being asked whether the UK should go further in taking refugees.

Under the new rules, the grandparents, siblings and adult children of people living in the UK will now be able to travel to Britain from Ukraine, moving the number of people eligible from 100,000 to approximately 200,000, according to Johnson.

The PM also stressed that the UK is supplying humanitarian aid, and noted that Britain has taken in a large number of people leaving Hong Kong during his role as PM.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hinted at changes to the entry rules for Ukrainian nationals on BBC One’s Breakfast programme yesterday, February 28, explaining at the time that the government needed to 'reflect on what Europe announced with the refugee crisis yesterday' and that it would 'keep all the measures under review.'

Boris Johnson (Alamy)
Boris Johnson (Alamy)

Per The Guardian, he stressed: 'We are open to all sorts of suggestions about how we can help people from Ukraine. We’ll reflect on that... and I know [home secretary] Priti Patel and the prime minister are absolutely certain that we have to lean in and support Ukrainians, whatever that means.'

Though the new rules may allow more refugees to escape the conflict in Ukraine, home secretary Priti Patel rejected calls to offer a full visa waiver for Ukrainians, citing concerns about extremists and Russian agents entering the UK while posing as refugees.

Speaking to MPs, Patel said intelligence reports had identified 'extremist groups and organisations' who may attempt to come into the UK, stressing that the Salisbury attack is an indication of what 'Putin’s Russia is willing to do' on British soil.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Russia, UK News, World News, Boris Johnson