Navigating Asylum in the UK


The UK asylum system is designed to provide protection and support to individuals fleeing persecution, while also ensuring the integrity of the immigration process.

Claiming asylum in the United Kingdom involves various stages, from the initial application to potential appeals and beyond.

In this comprehensive guide, we explain the key aspects of the asylum process in the UK, from the initial screening and application to the decision-making process and beyond. We also explain what to expect after applying for asylum, including the waiting period, the appeal process, and opportunities for integration and community engagement.

Understanding how the UK asylum system works and the underlying eligibility requirements applicants must meet can help you navigate the system with greater insight and ease.

While DavidsonMorris does not provide legal advice on asylum matters, there is extensive support available to asylum seekers, which we set out in this guide.

 

Section A: Overview of the Asylum System in the UK

 

1. What is Asylum?

 

Asylum is a legal protection granted by a country to individuals who have fled their own country due to fear of persecution, violence, or oppression based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

It is a fundamental human right enshrined in international law and reflects the moral obligation of nations to provide refuge to those in need.

 

2. Difference between Asylum Seeker and Refugee Status

 

Asylum is the protection granted by a country to individuals who meet the criteria of a refugee and are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to fear of persecution. Refugee status is a legal designation given to individuals who have been recognised as refugees under international or national law. Refugees are entitled to certain rights and protections, including the right to seek asylum and the right to non-refoulement, which prohibits their return to a country where they may face persecution.

 

3. Legal Framework for Asylum in the UK

 

In the United Kingdom, the asylum system is governed by a combination of domestic legislation, international conventions, and European Union directives. Key components of the legal framework for asylum in the UK include:

 

a. The Refugee Convention: The UK is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, which define who is considered a refugee and outline the rights and obligations of signatory states towards refugees.

b. The Human Rights Act: The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law, providing legal protections for individuals, including asylum seekers and refugees, against violations of their human rights.

c. The Immigration Rules: The UK’s Immigration Rules set out the criteria and procedures for seeking asylum in the UK, including eligibility requirements, application procedures, and grounds for refusal.

d. Case Law: Decisions by UK courts and tribunals, as well as judgments by international human rights bodies, contribute to the interpretation and application of asylum law in the UK.

 

4. Asylum Seekers’ Rights in the UK

 

Asylum seekers in the United Kingdom have certain rights while their claim is being processed.

 

a. Right to Seek Asylum

Asylum seekers have the fundamental right to seek asylum in the UK if they fear persecution in their home countries due to factors such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

 

b. Right to Legal Representation

Asylum seekers can access legal advice and representation throughout the asylum process. This includes assistance from solicitors, legal advisors, and support organisations specialising in immigration and asylum law.

 

c. Right to Non-Refoulement

Asylum seekers have the right to protection against refoulement, which means they cannot be forcibly returned to a country where they may face persecution or serious harm.

 

d. Access to Healthcare and Education

Asylum seekers are entitled to access healthcare services provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as UK residents. Asylum-seeking children have the right to access education on the same basis as other children.

 

e. Protection from Discrimination

Asylum seekers are protected from discrimination on the basis of their asylum status under UK law. They have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to live free from harassment or discrimination.

 

5. Asylum Seekers’ Responsibilities During the Asylum Process

 

As well as rights, asylum seekers must also comply with certain responsibilities while they await the decision on their claim.

 

a. Cooperation with Authorities

Asylum seekers have a responsibility to cooperate with immigration authorities and provide truthful and accurate information about their asylum claims. This includes attending interviews, providing documentation, and complying with any requests for information or evidence.

 

b. Compliance with Legal Requirements

Asylum seekers must comply with the legal requirements of the asylum process, including deadlines for submitting documentation, attending appointments, and following instructions from immigration officials.

 

c. Maintaining Contact Information

Asylum seekers should ensure that their contact information, including their address and phone number, is up to date with the Home Office and any relevant support organisations. This facilitates communication and ensures asylum seekers receive important notifications and updates about their asylum claims.

 

Section B: Claiming Asylum in the UK

 

If you come to the UK as a refugee, you must apply for asylum to remain here lawfully. To qualify, you must have left your home country due to fear of persecution and be unable to return safely.

If your reason for coming to the UK is different, such as for work, study, or joining family members, you should apply for the appropriate visa.

If you’re already in the UK and want to stay with family members who live here, you should apply for a family visa.

It’s important to apply for asylum promptly when you arrive in the UK or as soon as you believe it’s unsafe to return to your country. Delaying your application may increase the likelihood of refusal.

Children who do not have an adult relative also claiming asylum can apply independently.

When you make your initial asylum claim, you will undergo a screening process with an immigration officer. Following the screening, the Home Office will determine whether your claim can be considered in the UK. If deemed eligible, you’ll have an asylum interview with a caseworker.

Providing false information on your application can result in up to two years in prison or deportation from the UK.

You’ll be notified once a decision regarding your application is reached.

While awaiting a decision on your asylum claim, you’ll receive instructions on what to do, such as reporting events to a caseworker regularly. It’s important to inform authorities of any changes to your situation.

Typically, you won’t be permitted to work while your asylum claim is under consideration.

You may receive assistance with obtaining legal representation for your asylum claim and support for living in the UK while awaiting a decision.

 

Section C: Eligibility

 

1. Who Qualifies for Asylum in the UK?

 

While the decision to grant asylum is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the individual circumstances of each applicant and the relevant legal and procedural rules, there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met.

To qualify for asylum in the UK, an individual must meet the definition of a refugee as outlined in the Refugee Convention and demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country. Persecution may be based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Additionally, asylum seekers must meet certain eligibility criteria and provide evidence to support their claim for asylum.

 

2. Who Does Not Qualify for Asylum

 

Your claim might not be considered if you‚Äôre from an EU country, travelled to the UK through a ‚Äėsafe third country‚Äô, or have a connection to a safe third country where you could seek asylum. Generally, a safe third country refers to one where you‚Äôre not a citizen, where you wouldn‚Äôt face harm, and where you wouldn‚Äôt be sent to another country where you could face harm.

 

3. Family Members

 

You can include your partner and children under 18 as ‚Äėdependants‚Äô in your application if they‚Äôre residing with you in the UK. If your application is approved, these dependants typically receive permission to stay for the same duration as you. However, they won‚Äôt automatically obtain refugee status unless they submit their own asylum claim.

Refugee status offers protection under the Refugee Convention, enabling individuals to apply for indefinite leave to remain under the family reunion provisions for refugees or seek a refugee integration loan, among other benefits.

 

Section D: Evidence and Documentation

 

For your asylum screening, you’ll need to gather documents for yourself and any dependants applying with you.

These documents should include passports, travel documents, identification papers such as identity cards, birth and marriage certificates, or school records, and any other documents you believe will support your application. Additionally, you should bring documents to verify your UK address.

If you’re already residing in the UK, both you and your dependants must provide documents confirming your UK address. The specific documents required depend on whether you’re living in your own accommodation or staying with someone else.

If you have your own accommodation, you’ll need to present documents that display your full name and address, such as a bank statement, housing benefit book, council tax notice, tenancy agreement, or household bill.
If you are living with someone else, you’ll need to provide a recent letter (dated less than 3 months ago) from the individual you’re residing with, confirming that you have their permission to stay. You will also need to provide documents demonstrating the full name and address of the person you’re staying with, such as a council tax notice, tenancy agreement, or household bill, will be required.

 

Section E: Asylum Application Process

 

The asylum process in the United Kingdom is designed to provide protection and support to individuals who have fled persecution in their home countries and are seeking refuge on UK soil. It involves several stages, from the initial screening and application to the final decision on asylum claims.

 

1. Step-by-step Guide to the Asylum Application Process

 

Step 1: Initial Screening and Application

After arriving in the UK, individuals who wish to claim asylum must inform immigration authorities of their intention to seek asylum. This can be done at a port of entry, such as an airport, seaport, or train station, or at an immigration reporting centre if already in the country.

Individuals then undergo an initial screening interview conducted by immigration officials. This interview aims to gather basic information about the individual’s identity, nationality, reasons for seeking asylum, and any immediate protection needs.

Following the screening interview, individuals are registered with the Home Office and issued an asylum registration card. This card serves as proof of their asylum application and provides access to certain support services while their claim is being processed.

 

Step 2: Asylum Interview

After the initial screening, asylum seekers are scheduled for a substantive asylum interview with a caseworker from the Home Office. During this interview, asylum seekers are given the opportunity to provide detailed information about their asylum claim, including their personal history, reasons for fleeing their home country, and any evidence supporting their claim.

Asylum seekers have the right to request an interpreter if they require language assistance during the interview. They also have the right to be represented by a legal advisor or solicitor throughout the asylum process, although legal aid may be required to access this representation.

 

Step 3: Decision-Making Process

Following the asylum interview, the Home Office considers all available evidence, including the asylum seeker’s testimony, supporting documentation, country of origin information, and any relevant background information.

The asylum case is then referred to a decision maker within the Home Office, who assesses the credibility of the asylum claim and determines whether the individual qualifies for refugee status or other forms of protection under UK law.

Once a decision has been reached, the asylum seeker is informed of the outcome in writing. If the asylum claim is successful, the individual is granted refugee status and provided with a residence permit allowing them to remain in the UK.

 

2. Timeline for the Asylum Application Process

 

The length of time it takes to process an asylum application can vary depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the availability of supporting evidence, and the caseload of the Home Office.

Asylum seekers may be required to wait several months or even years for a decision on their asylum claim. During this time, they may be provided with accommodation and financial support by the Home Office or may rely on other forms of assistance.

 

Section F: After Applying

 

After submitting an asylum application in the UK, there are several important steps and considerations for asylum seekers to be aware of.

 

1. While your Claim is being Processed

 

The asylum process can be lengthy and complex. There may be a significant waiting period between submitting an asylum application and receiving a decision on the application.

Be prepared for the possibility of a prolonged wait for a decision on their asylum claim. It’s essential to manage expectations and remain patient during this time.

While your asylum claim is being processed, you will have certain rights, including the right to seek asylum, the right to legal representation, and the right to access healthcare and education. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect throughout the asylum process.

Asylum seekers have a responsibility to cooperate with immigration authorities and provide truthful and accurate information about their asylum claim. Failure to cooperate or provide false information may have consequences for their asylum application.

You should also stay informed about the progress of your asylum application and any updates or developments in their case. This may involve attending appointments, responding to correspondence from the Home Office, and keeping in touch with legal representatives or support organisations.

 

2. Understanding the Appeal Process

 

If an asylum application is refused by the Home Office, asylum seekers have the right to appeal the decision to an independent tribunal known as the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). The appeal process allows asylum seekers to challenge the decision and present additional evidence in support of their claim.

Asylum seekers should seek legal advice and representation if their asylum application is refused and they wish to appeal the decision. Legal advisors can provide guidance on the appeal process, help prepare the necessary documentation, and represent asylum seekers at appeal hearings.

It’s important for asylum seekers to be aware of the timelines and deadlines associated with the appeal process. This may include deadlines for submitting appeal grounds and evidence, as well as dates for attending appeal hearings.

 

3. Accessing Additional Support Services

 

Asylum seekers can access additional support services from a range of organisations, including NGOs, charities, and community groups. These organisations may offer practical assistance, emotional support, and advice on a variety of issues, including housing, healthcare, and legal matters.

Some organisations offer refugee integration programs designed to help asylum seekers adjust to life in the UK and build connections within their local communities. These programs may include language classes, employment support, and cultural orientation sessions.

 

4. Opportunities for Integration and Community Engagement

 

Asylum seekers can explore opportunities to engage with their local communities and participate in social, cultural, and recreational activities. This may include volunteering, joining community groups or clubs, and attending events and workshops.

Learning English is essential for asylum seekers who wish to integrate into UK society and access employment, education, and social services. Asylum seekers can enrol in English language classes provided by local colleges, community centres, or language schools.

Asylum seekers may be eligible to work and study in the UK, depending on their immigration status and individual circumstances. Exploring opportunities for employment and education can help asylum seekers build skills, gain independence, and contribute to their new communities.

 

Section G: Help and Support for Asylum Seekers

 

Asylum seekers in the United Kingdom are entitled to certain forms of support and assistance to meet their basic needs and navigate the asylum process. This support is provided by various government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and community groups.

 

1. Support Available for Asylum Seekers in the UK

 

Asylum seekers are eligible for the following support services while in the UK awaiting a decision on their claim:

 

a. Accommodation

Asylum seekers may be provided with accommodation by the Home Office while their asylum claims are being processed. This may be in the form of accommodation at asylum accommodation centres or dispersed housing in the community in shared houses, flats, or other types of housing, depending on availability and individual circumstances.

 

b. Financial Support

Asylum seekers who are destitute and have no other means of support may be eligible for financial support from the Home Office.

Asylum support is provided to asylum seekers who are destitute and have no other means of support. This support, known as asylum support, provides a weekly allowance to cover essential living expenses such as food, clothing, and toiletries. The amount of asylum support varies depending on factors such as the asylum seeker’s age, family composition, and housing arrangements.

 

c. Healthcare Access

Asylum seekers are entitled to access healthcare services provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as UK residents. This includes access to general practitioners (GPs), hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Asylum seekers do not have to pay for NHS healthcare services.

 

d. Legal Aid and Advice

Asylum seekers have the right to access legal advice and representation throughout the asylum process. Legal aid is available to help asylum seekers obtain legal advice and representation from qualified solicitors or legal advisors who specialise in immigration and asylum law.

Legal aid is means-tested, meaning that eligibility is based on the asylum seeker’s financial circumstances.

In addition to legal aid, asylum seekers can seek assistance from NGOs and charitable organisations that provide free or low-cost legal advice and representation to individuals seeking asylum in the UK.

 

e. Education

Asylum-seeking children in the UK have the right to access education on the same basis as other children. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring that asylum-seeking children are enrolled in schools and provided with the support they need to succeed academically.

 

2. Organisations Providing Support to Asylum Seekers

 

The following organisations offers specific services and support to asylum seekers:

 

a. Refugee Council

The Refugee Council is a UK-based charity that provides practical and emotional support to refugees and asylum seekers. They offer services such as advice and information, casework support, and community integration programs.

 

b. British Red Cross

The British Red Cross provides support to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, including assistance with accessing healthcare, emergency provisions, and support with asylum claims and appeals.

 

c. Asylum Aid

Asylum Aid is a charity that provides legal representation and advice to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. They specialise in complex asylum and immigration cases and work to ensure that individuals receive fair treatment and protection under the law.

 

Section H: Applying for Asylum Independently as a Child

 

For children under 18 applying for asylum in the UK on their own, specific procedures and considerations apply.

 

1. If You Have an Adult Relative Claiming Asylum

If you have an adult relative who is already applying for asylum, it’s generally best to be included as part of their application rather than applying separately. This ensures that your case is considered alongside your relative’s.

 

2. If You’re Not in the Care of Social Services

If you’re not under the care of social services, you should visit the walk-in service at the asylum intake unit, where you will begin the process of applying for asylum.

 

3. If You Have an Adult Legally Responsible for You

If there is an adult who is legally responsible for your care, they must accompany you to the walk-in service at the asylum intake unit. This adult will need to provide proof of address and photo ID, such as a passport or driving license.

 

4. If You’re Living with Several Relatives 

If you’re living with multiple relatives, the closest blood relative who is willing to take responsibility for you should attend the walk-in service at the asylum intake unit with you.

 

5. If You Do Not Have an Adult Legally Responsible for You

If you don’t have an adult who is legally responsible for you, you have a few options. You can go to the police or social services for assistance, or you can directly visit the asylum intake unit.

 

6. If You’re in the Care of Social Services

If you’re under the care of social services, you’ll need to book an appointment at the asylum intake unit by calling the appointment booking line.

When booking your appointment, you’ll need to provide your name, date of birth, nationality, passport or national identity document number (or birth certificate number if you don’t have these documents), your foster carer’s name and contact details, and details of any medical conditions you have.

For further assistance or to book an appointment at the asylum intake unit, you can contact the Asylum Intake Unit Appointments Line at 0300 123 4193, available Monday to Thursday from 9am to 4:45pm and Friday from 9am to 4:30pm.

 

Section I: Challenges and Considerations

 

Asylum seekers in the United Kingdom face a range of challenges and considerations as they navigate the asylum process and adjust to life in a new country. These challenges can have significant implications for their well-being, integration, and ability to rebuild their lives.

 

1. Mental Health Support for Asylum Seekers

 

Many asylum seekers have experienced traumatic events, persecution, and violence in their home countries or during their journey to the UK. These experiences can have profound effects on their mental health and well-being.

Asylum seekers may face barriers to accessing mental health support, including limited availability of services, language barriers, and stigma surrounding mental illness.

There is a need for specialised mental health support services tailored to the unique needs of asylum seekers, including culturally sensitive care, trauma-informed therapy, and interpreters trained in mental health terminology.

 

2. Language Barriers and Access to Interpretation Services

 

Many asylum seekers have limited English proficiency, which can hinder their ability to communicate effectively with immigration authorities, access services, and navigate daily life in the UK.

Language barriers can be addressed through the provision of interpretation services during interviews, appointments, and interactions with service providers. However, there may be challenges in accessing qualified interpreters who are proficient in the asylum seeker’s native language and dialect.

Clear communication is essential for ensuring that asylum seekers understand their rights, responsibilities, and the asylum process. Providing information in multiple languages and formats can help overcome language barriers and ensure that asylum seekers receive accurate and accessible information.

 

3. Addressing Stigma and Discrimination

 

Asylum seekers may face stigma and discrimination based on their immigration status, nationality, or cultural background. This can manifest in various forms, including prejudice, stereotypes, and negative attitudes.

Stigma and discrimination can contribute to social exclusion and marginalisation, making it difficult for asylum seekers to build relationships, access services, and participate fully in community life.

Addressing stigma and discrimination requires community education and awareness-raising initiatives to challenge misconceptions, promote empathy, and foster inclusive attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees.

Asylum seekers are protected from discrimination under UK law, including the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics such as race, nationality, and immigration status. However, there is a need for continued efforts to enforce these legal protections and address instances of discrimination.

 

Section J: Asylum Decision

The outcome of your asylum application is that you will either be granted or refused permission to stay in the UK.

 

1. Asylum Claim Successful

 

If granted, there are two possible outcomes:

 

a. Permission to Stay with Refugee Status or Humanitarian Protection

Refugee status is conferred upon individuals who are recognised as refugees under the Refugee Convention. Alternatively, humanitarian protection may be granted if refugee status is not met but returning to one’s home country is deemed unsafe. Those granted refugee status or humanitarian protection are permitted to stay in the UK for a minimum of 5 years. Additionally, they may apply for a refugee integration loan. After 5 years, they can apply to settle in the UK permanently.

 

b. Dependants

If you included a partner or children under 18 as dependants in your application, they will typically receive permission to stay in the UK for 5 years. After this period, dependants can apply to settle in the UK as a family.

However, it’s important to note that dependants are not automatically granted refugee status or humanitarian protection unless they make their own asylum claim. Nevertheless, they may still apply for a refugee integration loan if the primary applicant has refugee status or humanitarian protection.

 

2. Asylum Application Refused

 

If your application does not qualify for refugee status or humanitarian protection, you may still be granted permission to stay in the UK for other reasons, depending on your circumstances. The duration of stay will vary based on individual situations. Towards the end of your permitted stay, you may have the option to apply for an extension or settle in the UK permanently.

However, if your application is refused and there are no grounds for you to stay, you will be required to leave the UK. You may have the opportunity to appeal against the decision, but if unsuccessful, you must leave within the specified timeframe. Assistance is available for voluntary return, or you may face detention and removal from the UK if necessary.

 

Section K: Myths

 

Several myths surround asylum seekers, but most are false. Myths create barriers to promoting an understanding of the asylum rules and the support available for those seeking safety and protection in the UK. The following are common myths and the reality behind these misconceptions.

 

Myth 1: Asylum seekers are primarily economic migrants looking for better opportunities.

Asylum seekers are individuals who have fled their home countries due to fear of persecution, violence, or human rights abuses. They are seeking protection and safety, not simply economic advancement. Asylum seekers undergo rigorous screening processes to determine the validity of their claims for protection.

 

Myth 2: Asylum seekers are a burden on society and drain public resources.

While asylum seekers may require support from government and community resources, they also contribute to society in various ways. Many asylum seekers are skilled individuals who, given the opportunity, can make valuable contributions to their host communities through work, volunteering, and cultural exchange.

 

Myth 3: Asylum seekers are more likely to engage in criminal behaviour.

There is no evidence to support the notion that asylum seekers are more likely to commit crimes than the general population. In fact, studies have shown that immigrants, including asylum seekers and refugees, are often less likely to engage in criminal activity than native-born individuals. Asylum seekers undergo thorough background checks and vetting processes.

 

Myth 4: Asylum seekers are not genuine refugees and are abusing the system.

Asylum seekers undergo a rigorous process to determine the validity of their claims for protection. They must provide evidence and demonstrate a credible fear of persecution in their home countries based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Those who do not meet the criteria for refugee status are not granted asylum.

 

Myth 5: Asylum seekers receive preferential treatment and are given housing and benefits ahead of others in need.

Asylum seekers are provided with accommodation and financial support by the government while their asylum applications are being processed, but this is not preferential treatment. Asylum seekers are entitled to these support services under UK and international law to ensure their basic needs are met while they await a decision on their asylum claims.

 

Myth 6: Asylum seekers are a security threat and pose a risk to national security.

Asylum seekers undergo thorough security checks and screening processes to assess any potential security risks before being granted asylum or refugee status. The majority of asylum seekers are fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries and pose no threat to national security.

 

Section L: Summary

 

Asylum seekers are individuals who have fled their countries due to fear of persecution based on factors like their race, religion, politics, or identity. In the UK, they can request protection under international and UK laws. The opportunity to seek asylum in the UK is life-changing for individuals escaping danger in their home countries.

The asylum process in the UK involves several steps. It begins with making an application, when you will be screened and required to attend an interview. Your asylum claim will then be processed when there is typically a waiting period.

During this time, it’s crucial to remain composed and informed about what might happen next. Strict rules also apply on what you can and cannot do while your application is pending.

 

a. Refugee Council: https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/

b. British Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/get-help-as-a-refugee

c. Asylum Aid: https://asylumaid.org.uk/

d. Migrant Help: https://www.migranthelpuk.org/

e. AVID (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees): https://aviddetention.org.uk/

f. Citizens Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

g. The Children’s Society: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/helping-children/young-refugees

h. Refugee Action: https://www.refugee-action.org.uk/

i. Praxis Community Projects: https://www.praxis.org.uk/

j. Freedom from Torture: https://www.freedomfromtorture.org/

 

Section M: Frequently Asked Questions on UK Asylum

 

How long does the asylum process take?

The length of the asylum process can vary widely depending on individual circumstances and factors such as the complexity of the case, the availability of evidence, and the caseload of the Home Office. In some cases, decisions may be made relatively quickly, while in others, the process may take several months or even years.

 

What happens if my asylum application is refused?

If your asylum application is refused by the Home Office, you have the right to appeal the decision to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). The appeal process allows you to present additional evidence and arguments in support of your case.

 

Can I work or study while my asylum application is being processed?

Asylum seekers are generally not permitted to work in the UK while their asylum applications are being processed. However, there are some exceptions and opportunities for asylum seekers to apply for permission to work in certain circumstances. Asylum-seeking children have the right to access education in the UK.

 

What support is available to asylum seekers in the UK?

Asylum seekers in the UK may be eligible for accommodation, financial support, healthcare access, and legal aid from the Home Office and other support organisations. Additionally, there are NGOs and charities that provide practical assistance, advice, and advocacy for asylum seekers.

 

Can I travel outside of the UK while my asylum application is pending?

Asylum seekers are generally advised against travelling outside of the UK while their asylum applications are pending, as it may impact their immigration status and ability to return to the UK. Travelling outside of the UK without permission from the Home Office could result in difficulties re-entering the country or jeopardising the asylum application.

 

How can I access legal representation for my asylum claim?

Asylum seekers can access legal representation through legal aid, which provides government-funded assistance for individuals who cannot afford legal services. Additionally, there are NGOs, charities, and legal clinics that offer free or low-cost legal advice and representation to asylum seekers.

 

What rights do asylum seekers have in the UK?

Asylum seekers in the UK have rights protected under UK and international law, including the right to seek asylum, the right to non-refoulement (protection from being returned to a country where they may face persecution), the right to access healthcare and education, and the right to legal representation.

 

How can I find accommodation as an asylum seeker?

The Home Office provides accommodation to asylum seekers through its contracted housing providers. Asylum seekers may be placed in shared houses, flats, or other types of accommodation while their asylum applications are being processed. Additionally, there are support organisations that may assist asylum seekers in finding accommodation or accessing housing support services.

 

Can I apply for asylum if I have already been refused asylum in another country?

Asylum seekers who have been refused asylum in another country may still be eligible to apply for asylum in the UK. However, previous asylum claims and decisions in other countries may be taken into consideration during the assessment of the asylum claim in the UK.

 

How can I stay informed about updates and changes to the asylum process?

Asylum seekers can stay informed about updates and changes to the asylum process by accessing official government websites, attending information sessions or workshops provided by support organisations, and staying in touch with legal representatives or advisors specialising in immigration and asylum law.

 

Section N: Glossary of UK Asylum Terms

 

Asylum: Asylum is a legal protection granted by a country to individuals who have fled their own country due to fear of persecution, violence, or oppression based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Refugee: A refugee is a person who has been forced to flee their home country due to persecution, war, or violence. Refugees are entitled to protection under international law and may seek asylum in another country.

Asylum Seeker: An asylum seeker is a person who has applied for asylum in another country and is awaiting a decision on their application. Asylum seekers are typically individuals who have fled persecution in their home countries and are seeking refuge and protection elsewhere.

Asylum Process: The asylum process refers to the series of steps involved in applying for and obtaining asylum in a country. This process may include initial screening, interviews, evidence gathering, decision-making, and, if necessary, appeals.

Home Office: The Home Office is a UK government department responsible for immigration, security, and law enforcement. It oversees the asylum process and makes decisions on asylum applications.

Immigration and Asylum Chamber: The Immigration and Asylum Chamber is a tribunal system in the UK responsible for hearing appeals against immigration and asylum decisions made by the Home Office. It provides an independent review of asylum cases.

Non-Refoulement: Non-refoulement is a principle of international law that prohibits the forced return of individuals to a country where they may face persecution or serious harm. It is a fundamental component of refugee protection.

Legal Aid: Legal aid is government-funded assistance provided to individuals who cannot afford legal representation. It allows asylum seekers to access legal advice and representation during the asylum process.

Dispersal System: The dispersal system is a UK government policy that disperses asylum seekers across different regions of the country while their asylum applications are being processed. It aims to alleviate pressure on areas with high concentrations of asylum seekers.

Destitution: Destitution refers to extreme poverty and lack of basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing. Many asylum seekers experience destitution due to limited access to employment and welfare support during the asylum process.

Human Rights: Human rights are fundamental rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, or other characteristics. Asylum seekers have human rights that must be respected and protected.

Integration: Integration refers to the process of asylum seekers and refugees becoming active and participating members of their host society. It involves accessing education, employment, healthcare, and social services, as well as building social connections and cultural understanding.

 

Section O: Additional Resources

 

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration

The UKVI website provides information on asylum procedures, eligibility criteria, and guidance for asylum seekers. It also offers downloadable application forms and guidance notes.

 

Home Office
https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/asylum

The Home Office website provides information on asylum policy, statistics, and guidance for asylum seekers. It also offers information on refugee resettlement programmes and support services.

 

Refugee Council
https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/

The Refugee Council offers practical advice, information, and support to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. They provide assistance with asylum applications, housing, healthcare, and integration. Phone: 0808 808 2255 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm)

 

British Red Cross
https://www.redcross.org.uk/

The British Red Cross provides support to asylum seekers and refugees, including assistance with accessing healthcare, housing, and emergency provisions. They also offer support with asylum claims and appeals. Phone: 0808 196 3651 (Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 5 pm)

 



Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals



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