Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > The UK’s ‘Safe and Legal (Humanitarian) Routes’

Electronic data


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

The UK’s ‘Safe and Legal (Humanitarian) Routes’: From Colonial Ties to Privatising Protection

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>The Political Quarterly
Issue number2
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)263-271
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/06/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this article, the UK's ‘safe and legal (humanitarian) routes’ are evaluated by examining how they are positioned in the post-Brexit migration regime, and how these domestic provisions compare to those underwritten by international protections. The Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas)—HK BN(O)s—and Ukraine visa schemes are an area of focus which, combined, account for the vast majority of those arriving in the UK for the purposes of humanitarian protections since Brexit. Despite being formally presented under the same banner, the schemes have significant differences in terms of eligibility criteria, costs, rights and entitlements. Moreover, on closer inspection, while they share an overarching policy vision informed by foreign policy priorities, these new provisions are underpinned by different genealogies and policy logics. While the HK BN(O) scheme is rooted in the tradition of ancestry visas and colonial entanglements and requires that potential beneficiaries pay for protections, the Ukrainian schemes are more closely aligned with recent refugee resettlement schemes and share with them the push towards greater involvement of private and community stakeholders in humanitarian protection.