Since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis on February 24, 2022, more than 7 million border crossings without return have been recorded until June 7, according to figures published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on June 9, 2022.
Among these 7.3 million people who fled their country, nearly 5 million were registered by the authorities of the 44 European countries (EU + geographical European countries). Among them, Poland registered 1.15 million people. However, if the neighboring countries of Ukraine have often been the first destination, they have not necessarily been the final destination. For example, thanks to the temporary protection mechanism activated by EU authorities on March 3, 2022, people fleeing Ukraine were received and protected throughout the European Union. Thus, Germany has registered about 780,000 people from Ukraine and tens of thousands have settled in many other states.
This rapid and priority reception of these groups by the local authorities results in a temporary extension of the processing times for requests for other reasons.
For instance, we observe in France a slowdown in the processing of requests by the prefectures, whose staff are partially mobilized to issue temporary residence certificates. Similarly, the OFII, French Office for Immigration and Integration, supports Ukrainians for the rest of their procedures in France, and the appointment waiting time for classic subjects (for example the integration process) are increased.
The United Kingdom, for its part, has confirmed that it is prioritizing these audiences and suspending all “express” services in its visa centers.
The processing times for immigration requests are lengthening in an unprecedented way, to respond effectively to “one of the largest human displacement crises observed in the world” according to the UNHCR.