Chattertons Solicitors Banner Image
News and Events


  • Posted

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:

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:

  1. Complete an online application form.
  2. Book an appointment at any Visa Application Centre throughout Europe.
  3. Attend a Visa Application Centre appointment, for accelerated security checks.
  4. Remain in the location where you have submitted your application until we contact you."

Refugee Status

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:

"A person may have a well-founded fear of being persecuted or a real risk of suffering serious harm based on events which have taken place since the person left the country of origin or country of return and/or activities which have been engaged in by a person since they left the country of origin or country of return, in particular where it is established that the activities relied upon constitute the expression and continuation of convictions or orientations held in the country of origin or country of return." (emphasis added)

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.

Contact us

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.

Need Immigration Law Advice?

Please contact Catherine Maclay on (0)1205 315337, or email

Need Wealth Management Advice?

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of specialists.

Local Chattertons Office

Online Enquiry Form

Request a Callback