As many applicants for UK visas are aware, there are currently substantial delays when it comes to receiving a decision from the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration Department of the Home Office. Many will also be aware that these delays are for the most part caused by applications being made by tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing their home country as a direct result of the Putin invasion.
Visa application delays
Subsequently, for the last few months new family applications made outside of the UK have had a customer service standard decision time of up to 6 months. Previously this was 3 months with the option of paying £600 to expedite to 6 weeks. Visit visas are taking on average more than double the previous consideration time of 3 weeks and in-country work visas are more likely to take 10-11 weeks as opposed to less than 8 weeks before the invasion of Ukraine. On top of this it seems that the Home Office are even more difficult to communicate with than before, with most phone enquiries leading to the inevitable dead-end, either being cut-off or being advised to look at the relevant website.
All of this means that there are a lot of frustrated applicants out there and unfortunately this occasionally manifests itself into an element of bad feeling towards the prioritization of Ukrainian applications. It may then help those whose lives have been put on hold due to delayed processing times, to see the figures regarding Ukrainian applications in order to help quantify the enormity of a task imposed upon a department that was already stretched very thin by the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic upon staffing levels.
The figures below, published by the UKVI Department of The Home Office are rounded off to the nearest 10 or 100. All figures are from March 2022 to the 4th of October 2022, except for those made under the UK via the Ukrainian extension scheme which are from May 2022. Those applications “awaiting conclusion” refers to applications that are still in process, perhaps due to their complexity.
- Total Ukraine Scheme visa applications received: 221,900. As a breakdown this incorporates 63,900 made under the Family Scheme and 158,00 under the Sponsorship Scheme.
- Of these 53,300 have been granted under the Family Scheme and 136,600 under the Sponsorship Scheme. The remainder have been withdrawn by the applicant, refused or more importantly for those with their own applications pending, awaiting conclusion. This means that currently there are over 20,000 applications awaiting a decision and that is only with reference to those made by Ukrainians outside of the UK
- Additionally, to those applications made outside of the UK the Home Office has received 19,300 ‘in-country’ applications under the Ukraine Extension Scheme and Family Scheme, of which another 5,000 are awaiting a decision.
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