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Like many, we have watched in horror at the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine and the increasing numbers of people fleeing to safety. The UN refugee agency estimates that two million Ukrainians have already fled beyond its borders and it expects that number to rise as high as four million. Most will shelter in Ukraine’s nearest neighbours. Others will find safety elsewhere in the EU. While only a small proportion will seek asylum in the UK, we have a moral duty to provide whatever help we can.
We want the debate about the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK, from Ukraine and elsewhere, to be informed by the reality of what the law is.
To help do this, we have asked a group of expert immigration lawyers to provide independent advice on how Ukrainians can legally reach the UK to seek asylum. We have also asked them to explain how the new Nationality and Borders Bill will impact the few legal routes that do now exist.
The UK’s approach to refugees has long been inadequate. Legal routes to the UK are heavily restricted and only a tiny number of visas have been granted after many thousands of applications by Ukrainians in need.
Even more alarming, the Nationality and Borders Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will further and dramatically limit the possibility of Ukrainians finding a safe, legal route to the UK.
We are now publishing a Joint Opinion, produced by Raza Husain QC, Alasdair Mackenzie and Sarah Dobbie, instructed by Leigh Day Solicitors.
The Joint Opinion sets out the following conclusions in relation to the legal routes Ukrainian refugees can claim asylum in the UK.
The Joint Opinion also sets out the impact the Nationality and Borders Bill would have on prospective Ukrainian refugees.
We encourage you to read the full legal advice here.
Good Law Project will continue to look for ways in which we can do more in response to the crisis in Ukraine, including through providing financial support to the charity Asylum Aid.
Good Law Project only exists thanks to donations from people across the UK. If you’re in a position to support our work, you can do so here.