UK scraps pre-arrival biometric checks for Ukrainian refugees
The United Kingdom has announced a new immigration system designed to streamline the entry of Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the country following Russia’s invasion, Reuters reports. Biometric capture previously required ahead of a visa application can now be done after arrival in the UK.
As part of the new measures, biometric checks via Visa Application Centre appointments will be scrapped, and Ukrainian citizens will be able to enter the UK just by submitting an online application with a valid passport.
“In short, Ukrainians with passports will be able to get permission to come here fully online from wherever they are and will be able to get a biometrics [appointment] once in Britain,” says Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Before the shift, in order to be accepted in the country, refugees had to produce paperwork proving they had been living in Ukraine before January 1st, as well as having birth or marriage certificates to show links to Ukrainians living in Britain, said the Daily Mail.
According to the Home Secretary, the change in policy came on the advice of the security and intelligence services.
“[…] once their application has been considered and appropriate checks completed, they will receive direct notification that they are eligible for the scheme and can come to the UK,” Patel said.
For context, more than 2.6 million people have now fled Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, according to data from the United Nations (UN).
Of those, only around 950 visas were accepted into Britain, due to its cumbersome immigration process. Ireland has so far accepted roughly 2,500 Ukrainian refugees, and Poland 1.7 million.
The UK has now announced there will be no cap on the number of refugees who can enter the country and host households will benefit from a £350 (US$460) monthly payment for taking in a refugee, reports the BBC.
The UK also changed the biometrics collection process for visa applicants from Hong Kong last year to reduce the risk of attempting to immigrate.
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