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01st Mar 2022

Boris Johnson says more than 200,000 Ukrainians could be allowed to join family in UK

Ava Evans

Prime minister says UK will be at the forefront of helping people impacted by the crisis

Boris Johnson has said more than 200,000 Ukrainians could be allowed to join family in the UK amid the Russian invasion.

Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw, Johnson said the UK will “make it easier for Ukrainians already living in the UK to bring their relatives to our country”.

The prime minister said that exact numbers are “hard to calculate”, but “they could be more than 200,000” – promising the UK will be at the forefront of helping people affected by the crisis.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has now outlined plans for the expansion of rules for Ukrainian family members to come to the UK.

It means the government will loosen the eligibility criteria from just spouses and children under 18 to grandparents, siblings and adult children.

Speaking in the commons on Tuesday afternoon, Patel also confirmed the relaxation of language requirements and salary thresholds that apply to most migrants entering the UK.

She stipulated that those who do not meet these requirements will only have permission to stay in the UK for 12 months.

However, Patel rejected demands from refugee charities to offer a full visa waiver to Ukrainians fleeing the war, despite mounting unrest among Conservative MPs over the government’s refugee policy.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper welcomed the new policies – but on Monday had described them as inadequate.

On Monday, Downing Street were forced to clarify a tweet inviting Ukrainians to come and pick fruit in the United Kingdom was “rightfully deleted”.

Immigration Minister Kevin Foster said there were a “number of routes” for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion – including applying for seasonal work in the UK.

Foster tweeted: “Hi Luke, as you are well aware there are a number of routes, not least our seasonal work scheme you will recall from your shadow DEFRA days, which Ukrainians can qualify for, alongside the family route for those with relatives here.”


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