Lawyers both in the UK and internationally are working together to facilitate ease of movement for Ukrainians escaping abroad through lawful channels.

Quick-thinking lawyers have set up the Ukraine Advice Project UK, to provide free UK immigration advice to fleeing Ukrainians.

Bates Wells is part of a core group working within the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) to draft representations to the government in relation to the crisis. ILPA has today written to the government and urges the government to:

  • simplify application procedures; to urgently increase capacity for processing applications;
  • expand eligibility under the Ukrainian Family Scheme and Family Migration route;
  • accelerate the introduction of the Humanitarian Sponsorship route and provide guidance;
  • and allow displaced people to cross our borders legally, grant temporary protection to Ukrainian citizens and residents, and establish a resettlement program.

ILPA’s letter can be found here.

Bates Wells is also one of many firms working with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) as part of an international drive to collate and share country-specific updates on the different immigration options to enter certain jurisdictions around the world.

Chetal Patel, an immigration partner at Bates Wells, has said:

“Leaders across the legal profession are collaborating both nationally and internationally on initiatives to help in the face of the growing humanitarian crisis.”

“Whilst the government has been quick to respond on opening up some immigration routes, more concessions and quicker policy decisions need to be made.”

“People need certainty before they make their journey.”

“The government has introduced the Ukrainian Family Scheme (the ‘Scheme’) but this has its shortcomings. Whilst on the face of it, the Scheme signals one of the biggest family policy changes as it extends the ability to sponsor family members to include parents, grandparents, adult children and siblings (known as extended family members) and immediate family members of an extended family member from Ukraine, there remains a large group of people who can’t benefit. It’s also surprising that these definitions didn’t apply during the Afghanistan crisis.”

“Employers in the UK are ready to offer sponsorship but many are eagerly awaiting news of the new humanitarian sponsorship route. With limited information available on this route, there remains many unanswered questions which need to be urgently addressed.”

“Whilst some of the policy changes are very welcome, they could go a lot further. Over 120,000 people in the UK have petitioned Parliament to waive visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees and I would urge the government to respond positively to this.”

“The legal profession needs to continue applying pressure, for the safety of all those trying to lawfully make their way to the UK.”