Thousands of the Ukrainians that fled to Britain following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of their country face having to leave the UK in two years.
Weeks after the beginning of the conflict, the Home Office launched two different schemes – Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine Family – both granting three-year visas to Ukrainians leaving their homeland.
More than 182,000 Ukrainians have since entered the country by applying for these visas.
The majority of refugees arrived in the first six months these schemes were enforced, which means some 100,000 people face being kicked out of the UK by September 2025.
Two prominent politicians have raised concerns over the lack of guidance available to those who escaped their war-torn nation and have made Britain their home since 2022.
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Sir Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary under Boris Johnson, argued the “bespoke” offer devised for a “particularly urgent and unprecedented situation” requires a “further bespoke response”.
An adequate response, he believes, could consist in granting Ukrainians in the UK a more permanent status, albeit not full citizenship.
He added he would like to see preparatory work being done as early as this year to afford Ukrainian refugees “as much stability and certainty as possible”.
Similarly, Tory MP Bob Seely asked the Home Office to give Ukrainian families “important” clarity given many are trying to rebuild their lives here and making long-term plans with their children.
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He told the Telegraph: “With some having kids in school, we need to be able to allow them to plan.”
Many Ukrainians have expressed their desire to remain in the UK long-term, even if the war between Moscow and Kyiv ends before their visas expire, data shared by the ONS in July suggest.
Many Ukrainian cities and towns have been either torn to the ground or heavily damaged by the war, which means many refugees won’t have a home to go back to even after the war ends.
Stan Beneš from Opora, a charity supporting Ukrainians rebuilding their lives in the UK, noted guidance to refugees should be issued with plenty of advance before the expiration of the visas, to give people time to make long-term decisions.
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Given the destruction Ukraine has experienced, even if the war ends in a victory for Kyiv the infrastructure in the eastern European country would not be able to cope if all its refugees returned together.
He said: “So in a way, it’s almost a better thing if it’s a slower or more targeted return back of those that once it is safe, do want to go back. It’s just important to have a positive framing around it and on the UK side signalling that we’re not trying to steal people away from the country of Ukraine and away from this effort to rebuild once it’s safe to do so.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “Through our Ukraine schemes, we have provided Ukrainians with access to a three-year visa for temporary sanctuary in the UK.
“We will keep this under review should an extension be required in the future, in line with developments of the situation in Ukraine.”
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