THE HUMAN AND ECONOMIC COST OF A NEW WAR IN EUROPE
Russia ratified, and thereby became bound by, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in 1998 which makes its recent military incursion into neighbouring Ukraine even more disturbing.
The United Kingdom has made the following immigration law changes since 17 February 2022 in light of the worsening crisis in Ukraine:
- The Home Office closed the Tier 1 Investor Visa category to new entrants with immediate effect at 4pm on 17 February 2022 on national security grounds and in light of Russia's growing antagonism towards Ukraine and NATO (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tier-1-investor-visa-route-closes-over-security-concerns).
- The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued new travel advice for Ukraine on 24 February 2022 aimed at British citizens and their family members in Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the eastern part of the country that morning (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ukraine).
- On 24 February 2022 the Home Office announced temporary visa concessions to enable Ukrainian nationals in the UK to extend their current leave and to be able to switch in country to another immigration category in the rules as a result of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-announces-visa-concessions-for-ukrainians).
- On 1 March 2022 the Home Office announced further support for Ukrainians fleeing the Russia invasion. British nationals and people settled in the UK will be able to bring extended family members to the UK and sponsored humanitarian visa route will be established. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-support-for-ukrainians-fleeing-russia-invasion
- On 4 March 2022 the Home Office updated its published guidance regarding the application process and the waiving of immigration application fees for Ukrainian nationals to include extended family members of British citizens in Ukraine.
Ukraine Family Scheme
From 3 March Extended family members can apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme.
All applicants to the Ukraine Family Scheme should follow these steps:
- Complete an online application form.
- Book an appointment at any Visa Application Centre throughout Europe.
- Attend a Visa Application Centre appointment, for accelerated security checks.
- Remain in the location where you have submitted your application until we contact you."
International law was extensively developed following the Second World War to address the issues of large scale international refugee crisis, including the management of such crisis through the infrastructure of the United Nations.
A refugee is defined in international law as a person who "owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country" (Article 1A.(2) of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as amended by Article I(2) of the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees).
Where a person is facing persecution in their country of nationality by a State or non-State actor, and while they are still present in their country of nationality, the United Nations sometimes provides assistance within the borders of the country to refugees and internally displaced people as required.
Would Ukrainian nationals with visas in the UK be able to apply for asylum in the UK now?
A refugee is usually required to apply for asylum at the earliest time when they arrive in the UK, but there is a provision in the immigration rules for a person to apply for asylum as a refugee "sur place".
The requirements in paragraph 339P of the rules for a refugee to be eligible to submit a Sur place claim in the UK are:
It is therefore arguably possible for Ukrainian nationals already in the UK with leave in the rules to submit an application immediately to the Home Office for limited leave to remain as a refugee on the basis of the current crisis in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian national refugee would have to follow the prescribed Home Office application process to register and complete their asylum claim in the UK, showing how they meet all of the requirements in international law and the Immigration Rules to be granted up to 5 years' leave to remain as a refugee. There is currently no Home Office application fee to apply for asylum in the UK.
There are certain instances where a person may not be recognised as a refugee by the Home Office, for example, where it would be possible for them to relocate safely internally within their country of nationality or where they have committed an international war crime or crime against humanity.
Where a person is not recognised by the Home Office as a refugee, they may still be eligible to be granted humanitarian protection in the UK for up to 5 years in the rules.
Refugees and people with humanitarian protection in the UK are allowed to work in the UK. Their partner and minor children can also join them in the UK in line with the rules.
A person who has lived in the UK continuously for 5 years with leave as a refugee or with humanitarian protection may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK.
Apart from the extensive and far-reaching human cost of war, there is also the serious and far-reaching damage that it does to international markets, businesses, retirement savings and livelihoods.
Chattertons offers Immigration advice and assistance in personal and business immigration matters, including asylum and humanitarian protection. It also has an experienced team of Wealth Management specialists who can advise and assist individuals and businesses on the potential impact that the current crisis in Ukraine could have on their financial affairs, including ways in which they can mitigate and manage the effects of this new war in Europe on their financial interests.
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