A lack of compassion. The UK’s disappointing response to fleeing Ukrainian refugees

11 March 2022

The UK government’s so far meagre UK immigration options for Ukrainians are set out in our FAQs.

The failure to waive visas means that, in practice, even those who are able to fit themselves within one of the categories the Government has announced face practical obstacles and lengthy delays. This means vulnerable and traumatised people are being left in limbo while they wait to hear they can be reunited with their family in the UK. While many of these people will have fled the immediate danger within Ukraine, they will be in a third country where they may not know anyone, where resources are stretched due to the huge influx of people and where they may have limited or no resources to accommodate and support themselves while they wait for the Home Office to do the right thing

This is to say nothing of the stinginess of the options themselves. While the promised humanitarian local sponsorship route promises to be broader in scope, neither this nor the Ukraine Family Scheme are suitable responses to a humanitarian crisis of this scale.

The UNHCR fears numbers fleeing Ukraine could soon reach five million. The UK needs to follow the example set by other countries in Europe, waive visas and provide a simple and quick way to secure temporary protection in the UK.

Our immigration team is assisting with the pro bono Ukraine Advice Project UK. Please see our FAQs for updates.

About the author

Katie is a Partner in the immigration team and has over 10 years' experience across a wide spectrum of UK immigration matters, with particular expertise in applications made under Tier 1 of the Points Based System and complex personal immigration matters.  


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