UK to widen access for Ukrainian refugees seeking to join family members

Boris Johnson said ‘considerable numbers’ of Ukrainian refugees would be taken in by the UK.

01 March 2022

More Ukrainians will be allowed to enter the UK to join family members as they flee the war zone, Boris Johnson announced.

The Government has been criticised by Tory and opposition MPs for the response to the refugee crisis, but the Prime Minister insisted the widened access would allow “very considerable numbers” of Ukrainians to come.

A new scheme will also allow individuals and organisations to sponsor Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK.

The first phase of the plan had allowed people in Ukraine who had immediate family members in the UK to come and join them, but the move was criticised for being too restrictive.

Boris Johnson visit to Poland and Estonia
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (Leon Neal/PA)

On a visit to Poland – where refugees have been crossing the border from Ukraine following the Russian invasion – Mr Johnson promised to do more.

He told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki: “We stand ready, clearly, to take Ukrainian refugees in our own country, working with you, in considerable numbers, as we always have done and always will.”

Downing Street said people living in the UK would now be allowed to bring in “adult parents, grandparents, children over 18 and siblings” in addition to those who had previously been allowed.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that would widen eligibility to around 200,000 people, twice the number previously estimated.

Mr Johnson said later: “What we are going to do is we are extending the family scheme so that actually very considerable numbers would be eligible … you could be talking about a couple of hundred thousand, maybe more.

“Additionally, we are going to have a humanitarian scheme and then a scheme by which UK companies and citizens can sponsor individual Ukrainians to come to the UK.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to give further details of the plans in the Commons.

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