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UKRAINE: WHAT CAN WE DO?

Updated: Apr 2, 2022



LEAVING UKRAINE: Getting to the Border


If you can safely reach a neighbouring country, you may seek sanctuary as a refugee.


Neighbouring EU countries to the West and South of Ukraine have allowed border crossings and welcome refugees. East, South-East and North-East of Ukraine is very much under Russian control. However Russian air attacks have now targeted military bases in Lviv (13.3.22) and it is extremely important to note that the western part of Ukraine close to the Polish border is not necessarily safe.


The information on this page should be double checked and your journey planned with security and safety in mind as the situation in Ukraine is changing constantly.


This page is for information only and it is not intended to be legal advice. You should seek legal advice in relation to your particular circumstances in order to qualify for entry. You may be able to obtain pro bono advice from certain organisations or be sign-posted to such organisations.


NB: It is unlawful to enter any territory without a valid visa for a purpose that requires a visa, or if you are a national of a country which requires an entry clearance. Those assisting you to enter unlawfully may also face sanctions.

There is no visa for seeking asylum and your entry will be subject to any concessions being offered by the relevant authorities of the country you are seeking to enter. See below for the lawful routes of entry for the UK and some links to resources for arrangements in certain countries.

The compass pointers on this page must NOT in any way be read as recommending, encouraging or facilitating entry to or arrival in, without proper visas or permission, to another territory.

It is not intended to be legal advice.

You can stay up to date on the UK government's response by registering for email updates here:



IRU (world road transport organisation) is providing updates on border crossings here:



The New York Times is providing live updates (subscription required):

Live briefing is also here by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty:


Support from Neighbouring Countries

  • Poland

The Polish government support for Ukraine can be found here:



Reception points in Poland are updated here:



News articles on other neighbouring countries (not live updates) can be found below:

  • Romania

  • Hungary

  • Moldova


This Al Jazeera article of 26.2.22 is very helpful about countries accepting refugees and global visa requirements:


Euronews has a page which explains which countries have relaxed visa requirements:


EUROPEAN UNION:


Ukrainians have visa free access to the Schengen area for visits of up to 90 days within any 180 day period. The EU has now resolved to grant temporary protection to Ukraine citizens:



By the end of 2022 however a new travel authorisation programme ETIAS will come into effect which means Ukranians will need to complete a European visa waiver:



ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exile) has put together this information sheet which has details of access to the territory, asylum procedures and reception conditions in EU countries:



ELENA (EUROPEAN LEGAL NETWORK ON ASYLUM) maintains an index of umbrella organisations and lawyers who can assist in European countries including in the UK:



Whilst neighbouring countries listed above are receiving refugees there may be long delays and queues at the borders.

 

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS TO TAKE WITH YOU

As far as possible, please take with you necessary documentation to show your and your family’s IDENTITY, NATIONALITY, and FAMILY CONNECTIONS.

This may be passports, ID cards, drivers’ licence, birth certificates, marriage certificates, family certificates, etc.

If you do not have the above, take with you at least something official like medical reports, school records which identify you as parents of your children, bank statements that show you are a couple, utility bills which show your common address, voter registrations, income tax or local authority tax documents or any other "official" records that may show your identity and family relationships.


For instance, for a family visa for the UK, if you are not married but you have lived with your partner for two years, you will need to prove this with documents such as those described above which show your names at the same address. Say 5 to 10 old photos of you together taken at different times during the most recent two years may also be helpful.

Medical records in particular will be important if you need to prove exceptional, compelling or compassionate circumstances.


You may find it useful to take clear photographs or scans of your educational certificates, employment certificates or other evidence of your skills and experience if at all possible as you may find it difficult to access these later.


If travelling with a lot of original documents is impossible taking very clear photographs or emailing yourself legible scans which you can access later may be helpful.

Keep your mobile phone charged and check for up to date information via your phone.


Please remember that your and your family's safety is more important than searching for documents. Where you do not have documents your statement submitted with your application in the on line form or as a letter can be important.



If you have a Ukraine international passport

With effect from 15.3.22 you will not need to attend a visa application centre to enrol your biometrics to apply where you have a family connection in the UK:


If you do not have a passport

You will need to apply by enrolling your biometrics via a visa application centre (VAC).


However, you may not need a passport to travel if you can prove your nationality and identity.


The International Red Cross may be able to provide a travel document. A UN Laissez-passer or a collective passport or an emergency travel document issued by Ukraine authorities may be considered if this is realistic.

The UK visa officer may also be able to issue an UFF (Uniform Format Form) if they decide to issue a visa. See ECB 9.1 at the link below. Before you leave your home please take as many official documents as possible to prove your identity and nationality. You may consider taking clear scans or photographs of these with your phone and emailing them to yourself in case originals become damaged or lost.



 

UK Visas for Ukraine


So far there is no resettlement offer by the UK government.

This means you will need a visa to come to the UK as Ukrainians are visa nationals.

The only way to come to the UK is by means of a valid visa under the Ukraine family scheme, the Community sponsorship scheme [or any of the existing visa routes or by applying on an exceptional basis at a Visa Application Centre in a neighbouring country such as Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova or the new centre opened in Rzeszow, Poland (See below) Please be aware that Lviv centre has now closed. ]


There is a process to follow. You must submit an application for a visa on line. If you have no Ukraine international passport and no family connection to the UK you will need to provide your biometric data (photo and finger prints) at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).


You can complete a visa application on line at the link below and choose the country you wish to submit the biometrics from:



Documents to support your application can be uploaded on line after you submit the visa application or at a VAC. You must attend in person to give your biometric data. See below for where to find a VAC. There are also details of organisations offering advice or co-ordinating free legal advice below.


NB: You may not enter the UK without a valid visa. It is a criminal offence to seek entry for a purpose that is not permitted under the UK government schemes or the Immigration Rules.

 

If you have a family member in the UK

If you have a family connection to the UK, you can apply on line for a visa if you have a Ukraine international passport. You do not need to attend a Visa Application Centre to enrol biometrics. If you do not have such a passport and if you are applying on some other basis you would need to attend a VAC in a neighbouring country or in the Visa Application Centres below:

Free visas are now available for family members and extended family members.

You must contact UKVI before you make an application.

Telephone: +44 808 164 8810 – select option 1 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK – select option 1) Lines are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This is a free phone number.

Extended family members are now able to apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme (since Friday 4 March 2022).

This means the following can apply without having to pay for their visas:


Immediate family members

An immediate family member is your:

  • spouse or civil partner

  • unmarried partner (you must have been living together in a relationship for at least two years)

  • child who is under 18

  • parent (if you are under 18)

  • fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner

Extended family members in the UK

An extended family member is your:

  • parent (if you are over 18)

  • child who is over 18

  • grandparent

  • grandchild or your partner’s grandchild

  • brother or sister

  • aunt or uncle

  • niece or nephew

  • cousin

  • mother-in-law or father-in-law

  • grandparent-in-law

  • brother or sister-in-law

Any wider family would need to qualify on an exceptional basis. (See below under Exceptional Circumstances)


UKRAINE FAMILY SCHEME DATA TRANSPARENCY as at 18.3.22:



 

REFUGEE FAMILY REUNION

If you have someone in the UK who is already recognised as a refugee, you could apply under the Refugee Family Reunion policy. Unless a family member in the UK has refugee status however you should apply under the above family concession.

FAMILY MEMBERS OF EU NATIONALS IN THE UK

If you have a family member from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You might also be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit if you are the family member of someone who is living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme who is from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.


 

VISIT VISA


Visitors to the UK must intend to leave at the end of the proposed visit which can be for up to six months.


Normally visit visa rules prevent you from switching to a different category. If you are here in the UK already on a visit visa you may seek to "switch" for example to a work or study visa, exceptionally under a temporary concession. You will need to explain the compelling or compassionate reasons to benefit from the usual no switching rules for visitors.


If you wish to do this you would normally require documents such as educational qualifications and any other evidence such as a recent bank statement and evidence of your skills and experience to be "sponsored" by an organisation such as an employer or college.


If you did not have an opportunity to secure such documents prior to your departure you should explain this in your application.


If you are already in the UK as a visitor or on some other basis you may consider applying for an "exceptional assurance" that if you need to remain beyond your current permission, remaining will not lead to consequences for you long term. This will not however lead to a grant of permission to stay.


You could apply before your current visa expires by emailing: cihassuranceteam@homeoffice.gov.uk


It is advisable to seek legal advice in relation to your particular circumstances.


 

Humanitarian support


UK Home Secretary's offer of support as at 18.3.22 involves some concessions to the existing family routes and more recently a community sponsorship scheme:

🇺🇦🇬🇧 Повідомлення про подання заявки за розширеною Програмою з допомоги сім'ям з України:

Подати заявку за Програмою з допомоги сім'ям з України й отримати всі рекомендації можна тут:




 

Community Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine


The UK Home Secretary also announced on 1.3.22 plans for a new scheme for Ukrainians with no ties to the UK to come here. This is an uncapped sponsored humanitarian visa route which allows sponsors, such as individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to bring people to the UK. They will be able to work and the sponsor would provide housing and integration support to named individuals.


Phase One of the scheme will allow individual sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.


There will be no limit on this scheme and as many Ukrainians as wish to come provided they have matched sponsors will be welcomed.


Individual sponsors will be asked to provide homes or a spare room rent-free for as long as they are able, with a minimum stay of 6 months. In return, they will receive £350 per month.


Those who have a named Ukrainian they wish to sponsor should contact them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application, with the application launching on Friday 18 March.


Charities, faith groups and local community organisations are also helping to facilitate connections between individuals, for potential sponsors who do not have a named contact.

Ukrainians arriving in the UK under this scheme will be granted 3 years leave to remain, with entitlement to work, and access benefits and public services.


Applicants will be vetted and will undergo security checks.


Sponsors should provide accommodation for as long as they are able, but they have a minimum expectation of 6 months.


Someone is eligible for the scheme if they are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022.


People arriving under this scheme will be able to:

  • Live and work in the UK for up to three years

  • Access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition


Details of Phase one were announced on Monday 14.3.22:





Homes for Ukraine - Sponsor guidance:


Register your interest as an individual here:


Register your interest as an organisation here:


TWO ORGANISATIONS HELPING TO CO-ORDINATE THE SCHEME:


The Sanctuary Foundation:



Reset Communities and Refugees:



Media reports:



Sponsored refugees will be granted 36 months leave to remain in the UK, with entitlement to benefits and public services. Sponsors will be expected to guarantee a minimum stay of six months:


See the Kent of Line article 16.3.22 - Everything you need to know Homes for Ukraine:



SCOTLAND - SUPER SPONSOR:


As no UK wide Refugee Resettlement Scheme is on offer - Scotland has offered to act as a super sponsor:



WALES - SUPER SPONSOR:


This scheme similar to that of Scotland is believed to commence on 26.3.22



APPLY FOR A VISA UNDER UKRAINE SPONSORSHIP SCHEME (HOMES FOR UKRAINE):

ANTI-MODERN SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The UK government is beginning to phase in the Homes for Ukraine scheme and visas for Phase 1 enabling individuals to sponsor Ukraine nationals opened on 18.3.22.


It is extremely important to be cautious when dealing with proposed sponsors whether they are individuals or organisations to ensure that you do not become a victim of exploitation. Deal only with reputable and vetted individuals or organisations.


See the UK parliament's anti-modern slavery and human trafficking policy:



Community Sponsorship Guidance for Local Authorities:


"Community Sponsorship enables local community groups to welcome and support refugees directly in their local communities. It was introduced by the Home Office in response to the desire from civil society to play a greater role in refugee resettlement, and with the expectation that the community-led approach will lead to positive integration outcomes for refugees and communities. Establishing positive engagement and collaborative working relationships with local authorities is essential for community groups.

Reset is the UK’s Community Sponsorship training, support and advice provider, funded by the Home Office. As well as working with Community Sponsorship volunteers, Reset also provide services to Local Authorities and Lead Sponsors who work alongside volunteers to make Community Sponsorship happen."



Community Sponsorship Guidance for Prospective Sponsors:




 

Integration support

Ukraine Welcome


You may be able to find support from many local organisations. Ukraine Welcome has a lot information on health, education, social and other issues:



 

Exceptional Circumstances


Currently UKVI is only accepting visa applications from those with a family connection to the UK. However, individuals who manage to leave Ukraine to a safe neighbouring country may wish to apply for entry to the UK from the Visa Application Centre there, on an exceptional basis, setting out the risks they may face as well as stressing the importance of family in the UK. Any medical conditions or particular vulnerability should be presented.


If you are not a Ukranian national applying under one of the family or other permitted routes or you are a non-Ukranian national and you are not connected to a Ukranian national applying as a family member, applications to come to the UK on an exceptional basis will be difficult. You should seek assistance from the country of which you are a national if you manage to leave Ukraine to a neighbouring EU country.

This type of application will be complex, particularly if you are applying from a relative safe haven. Please see above for supporting documents.

Please see below for fee waivers for the visa fee in such circumstances as well as resources for free legal advice. These applications will not be straight forward.


 

Ethnic Minorities Seeking to Leave the Ukraine


UK and other media have reported difficulties for ethnic minorities at the Ukraine border:


There should be no place for racism at a time like this - nor indeed at any other time - however and any difficulties you are facing in leaving Ukraine for this reason or absence of help from the country of your nationality should be cited in some detail as part of the exceptional reasons in your visa application to come to the UK or to join family in the UK.


You should seek help from the nearest Embassy of the country of which you are a national.


Operation Ganga for Indian nationals:



All Indian nationals who still remain in Ukraine are requested to complete the details contained in the attached Google Form on an URGENT BASIS .



By way of example only - Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, DR of Congo, Nigeria, Malaysia, Iraq, Lebanon, Ghana or Ethiopia nationals might seek advice from their respective embassies:


In Poland:






In Romania:





In Slovak Republic:





In Hungary:




Media reports of discrimination at the Ukraine border:








NON-UKRAINE NATIONALS WITH FAMILY CONNECTIONS OR A COMMUNITY SPONSOR IN THE UK:
Ukraine residents - applications on an exceptional basis

If you would have qualified for entry under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Ukraine Community Sponsorship Scheme but you do NOT have Ukraine nationality, you could try to apply for a UK visa on line using the links below and book an appointment to enrol your biometrics in a neighbouring country. You may wish your family member or community sponsor to engage the support of their local MP in the UK to facilitate your exit from Ukraine if this has proved to be a problem. You may face difficulties at the Ukraine border without such support.


A mere family connection may not be sufficient and you should explain in some detail why the relationship with your family member is extremely important to both you and your UK family:



You should upload evidence of your family connections, explain in detail the importance of your family in the UK and any other exceptional circumstances or provide details of your community sponsor as above in support of your visa application:




See details of UK Visa Application Centres where you may enrol your biometrics below.

 

UK Visa Application Centres


The UK Home Secretary has announced on 10.3.2022 that if you have a Ukraine International passport visas could be issued on-line with biometrics being given in the UK in effect from Tuesday 15.3.2022.



Priti Patel - Speech 10.3.2022:


"This morning I received assurances which enable me to announce changes to the Ukraine Family Scheme. Based on the new advice I have received, I am now in a position to announce that vital security checks will continue on all cases.


From Tuesday, I can announce that Ukrainians with passports will no longer need to go to a Visa Application Centre to give their biometrics before they come to the UK.


Instead, once their application has been considered and the appropriate checks completed, they will receive direct notification that they are eligible for the scheme and can come to the UK.

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 give their biometrics once in Britain.


This will mean, Mr Speaker, that Visa Application Centres across Europe can focus their efforts on helping Ukrainians without passports. We have increased the capacity at those centres to over 13,000 appointments per week.


This streamlined approach will be operational as of Tuesday 15 March, in order to make the relevant technology and IT changes."


The UK Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Kyiv is now closed and all UK visa services in Kyiv are suspended in order to keep people safe.

Family members of British nationals who usually live in Ukraine and need a UK visa can apply through and provide their biometrics at the new, temporary locations in:

  • Rzeszow, Poland (uk. Warszawska 18, (35-205))

Alternatively, you can apply through an existing VAC in a nearby country if you can reach there safely. VACs are currently operating in:

  • Hungary

  • Moldova

  • Poland

  • Romania

Before attending a VAC you must complete your online application form and have a GWF reference number:

You will need to provide your biometric data (photo and fingerprints).


UK Home Office: 7.3.2022


UKVI is surging staff to key UK Visa Application Centres around Ukraine. Thousands more Family Scheme appointments are available in: 📍 Warsaw 📍 Rzeszow 📍 Chișinău 📍 Bucharest 📍 Budapest 📍 Prague ➡️ Apply now at http://Gov.UK/UFS and book your appointment. ⏩ Staff are being surged to Visa Application Centres across Europe. 📍 Find your nearest VAC here: https://lnkd.in/diwQrCPU


Pop-up VACs may open in Northern France - see The Independent article 9.3.22:



A temporary VAC has opened in Arras, Northern France at the Prefecture.


NB: LVIV, Ukraine (Temporary VAC has now closed)



 

Fee Waivers for UK Visas


UKVI must be urged to offer fee waivers under their discretion for such applications being made on an exceptional basis. It is possible to apply for fee waivers in these exceptional circumstances under the Entry Clearance guidance at ECB 6.6, see:

"ECB 6.6 Discretion to waive a fee in other cases:

  • where the Secretary of State determines that the fee should be waived (the exercise of this discretion should be applied in exceptional circumstances only, such as civil war or natural disaster).

Posts have no discretion to waive visa fees for any other reason other than those listed in the fees legislation, as quoted in above.

If an applicant requests that the fee should be waived for reasons other than those listed above they should be advised to email FeeWaiversEntryClearance@homeoffice.gov.uk with the following details:

  • first name(s) and family name

  • date of birth

  • nationality

  • country where they will make an application

  • passport number

  • application type they wish to have the fee waived for

Detailed reasons must be included on why the applicant is requesting a fee waiver including any information about why third party funding is not available and any exceptional circumstances, for example, civil war, natural disaster.

Destitution alone will not be considered as valid grounds for waiving fees. When considering waiver of the fee it is usual practice to consider not only the applicant’s ability to pay but also to take into account the sponsor’s, or other wider family’s ability to pay the fee."



 
Ukraine Visas processed for UK:

31.3.22: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/31/ukraine-refugees-trying-to-get-uk-visas-facing-kafkasque-system-mps-told


 
New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules formally brings visa concessions for people from Ukraine into the Rules: See EIN article 29.3.22


https://www.ein.org.uk/news/new-statement-changes-immigration-rules-formally-brings-visa-concessions-people-ukraine-rules

 

Resources for Ukraine


Resources within Ukraine or Neighbouring Countries


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC):

UNICEF:

UNHCR:

Visit the page for the country you are in.

 

UBER:


Uber is offering help to those on one of the border crossings get to Lublin or Rzeszów.

If you are in either of these two cities and you know someone who’s currently in Hrebenne, Dolhobyczow, Dorohusk, Zosin, Budmierz, Korczowa, or Medyka crossings and needs help reaching the city, with POMOCLUBELSKIE or POMOCPODKARPACKIE** codes you’ll be able to take a ride to and from either of these crossings free of charge. You can also share the code directly with someone who you know will put it to good use.

There is a lot of support being offered on the internet. Please double check the information and ensure the suggested routes are still safe at the time of undertaking any journey:

The website below aims to connect those fleeing with NGOs (Not for Profit) who could provide valuable support:

Tech To The Rescue - #TechForUkraine:

This organisation will provide technical assistance to local and international NGOs to coordinate help for individuals on the ground.



Resources for Ukraine within the UK


Ukraine Embassy in the UK:

Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain:

British-Ukrainian Aid:

British Red Cross:


 

Legal Advice



ELENA (European Legal Network on Asylum]:


ELENA index of organisations providing legal advice for asylum seekers across Europe is here. The UK's umbrella provision can be found at pages 158 to 160 inclusive:



Work Rights Centre:

WRC provides a great deal of advice on its website on safe routes out of Ukraine and about coming to the UK from Ukraine: https://www.workrightscentre.org/solidarity-with-ukraine https://www.workrightscentre.org/solidarity-with-ukraine/request-immigration-support

Free Movement and the Ukraine Advice Project UK:

There are numerous organisations offering pro bono immigration legal advice for the UK and efforts are currently being made to co-ordinate this offer of free advice by Free Movement via the Ukraine Advice Project UK which is now supported by DLA Piper:


If you need free legal advice, please Contact:

Ukraine Justice Alliance:

Lawyers, law firms and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have formed a coalition offering legal expertise. Ukraine Justice Alliance provides advice on: https://ukrainejusticealliance.com/english.html

  • Assistance with evidence collection for the ICC

  • Strategic refugee and asylum advice

  • Countering Russian propaganda

  • Political prisoner representation and campaigns

  • Human rights actions

  • Action against individuals and entities who are facilitating evasion of sanctions

  • Actions against private funders and facilitators of aggression

  • Provision of resources and links

East European Resource Centre:

East European Resource Centre, Room 18-19, 238 – 246 King Street (POSK building), London, W6 0RF. http://eerc.org.uk/#/ EERC asks for donations to their Ukrainian Appeal to provide immigration advice and services for Ukrainians in the UK and those who will arrive. Your donation will help with costs of a dedicated helpline, immigration services and practical support.


Ukraine exit: Support factsheets for several countries:

NB: The following immigration resource is unverified. It may provide some initial pointers (which must be cross checked for accuracy at the time of contact) and we are providing the link below to the Multilaw Network's Ukraine Crisis Support Centre, which provides factsheets for immigration support in a number of countries:



 
British nationals in Ukraine

The UK Government retains a diplomatic presence in Ukraine but no longer provides consular assistance in person due to the deteriorating security situation.


Any British nationals who require consular assistance in Ukraine should call 24 hour helpline +380 44 490 3660 (from Ukraine), +44 (0)1908 516666 (from the UK) and select the option for “consular services for British nationals.”


Full consular services are available in neighbouring countries. You can also send an enquiry via the web contact form:



 

Long Term Solutions

There is no visa for claiming asylum and the UKVI offer is only for Ukrainian family members of British nationals which is acutely inadequate in a time of crisis. You could also apply on an exceptional basis and you should ensure you have documentary evidence of any special circumstances including any disability or any compassionate circumstances.


The UK government's response in providing visa support to those fleeing Ukraine has been extremely disappointing and has come under criticism for insensitivity to the humanitarian crisis. See the Guardian article of 5.3.22:


SANCTUARY AS REFUGEES - UK RESETTLEMENT SCHEME

The UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) and the under-resourced UNHCR Mandate Programme are the legal routes available but can be painfully and woefully slow and inadequate. So far UKRS has not been extended to Ukraine. It would appear that only 1500 people have been helped so far to flee via UKRS since the withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. We can contact our MPs to require the UK Government to make a sensible and swift response under the UKRS for Ukraine.

Therefore, it is only anyone who actually manages to reach the UK Border who can claim asylum as there are no safe and legal routes available unless Western governments step up their offers of resettlement quickly.

Other neighbouring countries have stepped in quickly.

WRITE TO YOUR MP:

The West must offer RAPID and SAFE humanitarian corridors for fleeing Ukrainians.

Delays could be catastrophic, chaotic and costly in humanitarian terms.

UKVI offers so far do not go near far enough. Our government must be urged to provide safe routes urgently.


 

Policy Issues


WRITE TO YOUR MP URGING THEM TO SEEK DIPLOMATIC SOLUTIONS:

Have we crossed the Rubicon and reached the point of no return? Kiev is vulnerable. Russian people didn't or won't want all this.

Time still for skillful diplomacy as improbable and unrealistic as negotiations may sound, right now.

Sanctions and talks can sit side by side.

Knee jerk reactions to expel diplomats or to cut diplomatic ties with Russia: are these sensible?

Should we keep "lines of communications" open for as long as sensibly possible?

If we expel the diplomats might we seal the fate of Ukraine's people by closing the door on finding a peaceful solution for a very, very, long time?

Diplomatic talks continue - 16.3.22:



 

Legal Advice to Asylum Seekers


As the UK law currently stands (Section 25A(1) of the 1971 Act) as lawyers in private practice we are at risk of criminal sanctions if we help someone to come to the UK to claim asylum for gain. A caveat is at Section 25A(3) which means provided you are acting on behalf of an organisation which aims to assist asylum seekers and which does not charge for its services you are not at risk of committing a criminal offence by assisting an asylum seeker.

Sections 39 and 40 of the UK Borders Bill however adds to this offence by specifying that it is also an offence to facilitate the entry or arrival into the United Kingdom of an asylum seeker.

Whilst these laws are designed to deter traffickers immigration lawyers in private practice could find themselves in difficulty if they "facilitate the entry into the UK" of an asylum seeker for gain.

We should be able to advise people caught up in situations such as the one in Ukraine pro bono without fear of sanctions ourselves. But by imposing criminal sanctions for "facilitating entry into the UK" whilst working at an organisation which normally charges for its other services, as immigration lawyers in private practice we may be skating on thin ice. This is a sad state of affairs particularly in situations such as the conflict in Ukraine.


A Refugee Resettlement programme is urgently needed for Ukraine

The UK government's response has been slow, restrictive and inadequate. Write to your MP urging that a Refugee Resettlement programme as "a safe and legal route" be put in place without further delay to alleviate the suffering.


No where in Ukraine is now safe.




 

The United Nations estimates that more than 2 million people have fled the country, the biggest exodus of refugees in Europe since the end of the Second World War.


BBC reports highly inadequate provision at UK VACs on 8.3.2022:



PETITION:

Please sign the 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.

More details

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.


Non-Ukrainian nationals, who have not been able to secure evacuation from their own national governments due to the exceptional situation they find themselves in, should also be offered support via the same schemes being offered to Ukraine nationals. Numerous students have found themselves stranded at the border or in dangerous situations but have not been permitted to cross the border into neighbouring countries.


Our urgent message to the UK Home Secretary along with many other immigration lawyers:




Updated as at 2/4/2022


Author: Nilmini Roelens

















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