The United Kingdom has issued nearly 250,000 visas to Ukrainians fleeing their country under family and sponsorship schemes, new statistics released by the UK Home Office and Visas and Immigration showed Thursday.
“Total Ukraine Scheme visas issued to people: 249,100. Data is as of 12 December 2023 and comprised of: Ukraine Family Scheme visas: 71,400 … Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme visas: 177,700,” the document said.
As many as 195,000 Ukraine Scheme visa-holders have already arrived in the UK as of December 11, the document showed. At the same time, the document specified that 30,400 Ukrainians have received permission to extend their stay in the UK, while 33,700 visa applications have been refused.
The UK has eased the visa regime for Ukrainians against the background of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. Visas under the family scheme for Ukrainian refugees are free. They are issued for three years and allow Ukrainians to live, work and study in the country, as well as provide refugees with access to state funds. Such documents can be obtained by those who have relatives in the UK.
In March 2022, the UK government launched the Homes for Ukraine initiative, which allowed local authorities, individuals or charities to provide temporary free housing to refugees from Ukraine and “receive a monthly 350 pounds [$424] thank-you payment during guests’ first 12 months, rising to 500 pounds a month during the following 12 months.”