As the Russian invasion unfolds, a free advice service has been launched by Immigration lawyers to offer help and support to Ukrainians needing refuge in the UK. In excess of one hundred lawyers have registered so far this week with the Ukraine Advice Project UK since it was set up.
It was created by barristers Jennifer Blair, of No 5 Chambers, Miranda Butler, at Landmark Chambers, Simon Cox, at Doughty Street Chambers, and solicitors Alex Piletska at Turpin Miller in Oxford and John Vassiliou, at Scottish law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn.
Supported by CJ McKinney of Free Movement, the project is encouraging more lawyers to assist. Over 100 requests for advice have already been received. It tweeted: ‘We are working hard to allocate as many as possible. Please bear with us as we are currently facing high demand.’
The group noted that its help is a ‘short-term response’, which will possibly be passed onto another organisation better suited to dealing with pro bono help in the medium term.
In contrast to other EU countries, the Home Office has not waived visa requirements for Ukrainians wishing to flee to the UK, however it recently introduced concessions to enable a wider range of people to enter the country who have UK relatives.
At the weekend, the lawyers’ group began following a tweet which stated: ‘Calling Ukrainians arriving at UK borders without a long-term UK visa! If you have any problems at immigration control, and you don’t have/ can’t get a lawyer, my DMs are open this weekend. Me & colleagues will find you a lawyer to help you stay in the UK til it’s safe to leave.’