Petition Waive visa requirement for Ukrainian refugees.
Join other nations in providing a route to safety for refugees. Waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian passport holders arriving in the UK.
They are war refugees, our hands are tied to assist with boots on the ground, let us give the people of Ukraine a safe place for their families and children to flee to.
Parliament debated this topic
This topic was debated on 14 March 2022
This response was given on 6 April 2022
Visas provide clarity and stability to an individual having moved from another country following horrific events. They also act to prevent incidents of adult and child human trafficking.
Biometric checks are an essential part of our visa application process. There are those who seek to take advantage of the UK, and we will not let them use the Government’s humanitarian schemes for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion to do so.
We are aware of cases where individuals that could pose a national security threat have attempted to enter the UK during crisis situations, and biometric checks have enabled us to identify these individuals as potential threats.
However, in order to make our Schemes as straightforward to use as possible, and based on the latest security advice, on 15 March we made changes to allow Ukrainians with valid passports who are eligible for this route to do their application online. They will no longer need to go to a Visa Application Centre to give their biometrics before they come to the UK, instead giving them after they have entered the UK.
Visa applications give the UK the chance to assess the applicant’s circumstances, such as where they come from, why they want to come to the UK, how long they want to stay for, and their personal situation and skills.
From the UK’s perspective, this about security concerns. Given the malign action being taken by the Russian state to infiltrate Ukraine, these checks are a fundamental part of our visa approval process and will continue, as they did for the evacuation of Afghanistan, to keep the UK safe. There are those who seek to take advantage of the UK.
As the Home Secretary has said: “Russian troops are seeking to infiltrate and merge with Ukrainian forces. Extremists are on the ground and in the region, too. Given this, and also with Putin’s willingness to do violence on British soil, and in keeping with our approach, which we retained consistently throughout all emergency evacuations, including that of Afghanistan, we cannot suspend any security or biometric checks on people we welcome to our country. We have a collective duty to keep the British people safe and this approach is based on the strongest security advice.”
The Government has a duty to protect the security of the UK and the safety of its citizens. It would be wrong to make a blanket offer of sanctuary to those who may have committed offences that would be crimes in the UK or pose a threat to national security. We are constantly reviewing these processes to ensure they can be streamlined where possible, to ensure that all checks are conducted as quickly as possible whilst maintaining the necessary level of checks are completed.
For the individual, a visa can help provide them with a better understanding on what they can do in the UK in terms of employment and how long they can stay for.
The Windrush Lessons Learned Review underlined the importance of providing individuals with clear evidence of their immigration status - lots of people were not adequately documented and this caused problems for both them and their dependents later down the line.
Other parliamentary business
MPs discuss the Ukraine crisis
In the last two weeks MPs have discussed the crisis in Ukraine almost every day in the House of Commons:
- Ministers have made several statements updating MPs on the situation in Ukraine, and the UK's response to this
- MPs have debated and approved legislation to introduce sanctions against Russia
- Opposition and backbench MPs have secured debates to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, and relations with Russia
You can find links to transcripts of all these discussions below.
Read transcripts of recent discussions in the House of Commons about Ukraine and Russia
You can find below a list of all the statements and debates about Ukraine and Russia in the last two weeks, with links to the transcripts of discussions by MPs.
21 February, a statement by the Secretary of State for Defence on Ukraine: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-21/debates/1283674C-E7E5-4A6D-9F32-6D5A6AA0617C/Ukraine
22 February, a statement by the Prime Minister on Ukraine : https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-22/debates/057FABBB-4F1C-4425-A304-4A168EC069EB/Ukraine
22 February, debate and approval of sanctions against Russia: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-22/debates/70AEE44E-B30C-4B89-8074-E08F1BCFF8B2/Sanctions
23 February, an Opposition debate on countering Russian aggression and tackling illicit finance: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-23/debates/8073B01E-6C2E-4416-9CC0-A109AD8A8E58/CounteringRussianAggressionAndTacklingIllicitFinance
24 February, a backbench debate on the UK’s relationship with Russia and China: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-24/debates/235437CA-820B-4234-9EFD-CFCCC6F6A883/RelationshipWithRussiaAndChina
24 February, a statement by the Prime Minister on Ukraine: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-24/debates/A76282B2-C1F4-4D00-B5E8-A8A0F2476FBB/Ukraine
25 February, an urgent question about Ukraine, answered by the Minister for the Armed Forces: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-25/debates/A1EE729F-F80E-452A-BA2C-49178A52766E/Ukraine
28 February, a statement by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on sanctions against Russia: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-28/debates/3D28CB2C-B2E4-40B4-B40A-6D0D1147B6C9/Sanctions
1 March, a statement by the Home Secretary on Ukraine: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-03-01/debates/2BD3EE0E-5EF0-42E0-B9BE-3AA0D03BEF86/Ukraine
1 March, debate and approval of sanctions against Russia: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-03-01/debates/6EF274E3-57A6-46ED-BFE2-348AEB926501/Sanctions
2 March, an Opposition debate on support for Ukraine and countering threats from Russia: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-03-02/debates/534F1DF9-9D78-46AE-840E-6DABEF47238E/SupportForUkraineAndCounteringThreatsFromRussia
3 March, a statement by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Russia's attack on Ukraine: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-03-03/debates/09361B37-8E3B-44BB-B41F-D0955C53EA40/Russia%E2%80%99SAttackOnUkraine
Find out more about the Ukraine crisis
The House of Commons Library has published a series of briefings about the Ukraine crisis, with information about how the situation has developed, and the international response.
Find out about future discussions in the House of Commons
Find out about upcoming discussions in the House of Commons here: https://whatson.parliament.uk/
Transcripts of all discussions in the House of Commons are published here a few hours after they happen: https://hansard.parliament.uk/
Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament
Sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/
Ukrainian refugees discussed by MPs, and new ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme announced
MPs debated an e-petition relating to arrangements for Ukrainian refugees to enter the UK on Monday 14 March. This debate followed a Government announcement of a new ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, which will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety.
Debate on arrangements for Ukrainian refugees to enter the UK
MPs debated an e-petition calling on the Government to waive visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees on Monday 14 March. This debate was scheduled by the MPs on the Petitions Committee, because the petition you signed was signed by over 100,000 people.
Read a transcript of the debate: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2022-03-14/debates/7F61EFBF-4EDF-43C3-A739-AA1FFA3F63CE/UkrainianRefugees
Watch the debate: https://youtu.be/ZeqPJokhuqA
This was a Westminster Hall debate, which give MPs an opportunity to raise local and national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Westminster Hall debates are general debates that do not end in a vote.
Find out more about Westminster Hall debates: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/westminster-hall-debates/
Government announces ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme
The Government has launched a new ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, which will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety – including those with no family ties to the UK.
In the first phase of the scheme people in the UK will be able to nominate a named Ukrainian or Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.
Find out more information, and record your interest: https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced details of the scheme in the House of Commons on Monday 14 March.
Read the Secretary of State's announcement and questions from MPs: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-03-14/debates/8B28287A-F683-4F80-8A1F-AA1016D92B27/UkraineSponsorshipScheme
Find out more about the Ukraine crisis
The House of Commons Library has published a series of accessible briefings about the Ukraine crisis, with information about how the situation has developed, and the international response.
Find out about future discussions in the House of Commons
Find out about upcoming discussions in the House of Commons: https://whatson.parliament.uk/
Read transcripts of all discussions in the House of Commons, which are published a few hours after they happen: https://hansard.parliament.uk/