The UK has long been a safe haven for refugees seeking asylum. However, the UK Border Agency will not hesitate to refuse protection if they form the view that a refugee is not genuine or that protection is not needed, and they will take steps to remove those who they perceive to have no valid grounds to stay. At IAS, we are sure to have a specialist asylum lawyer close to you in one of our UK-wide office locations.
CLAIMING ASYLUM – to be recognised as a refugee and given asylum in the UK you must have left your country of origin/residence and be unable to return due to a well-founded fear of persecution because of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.
FAMILY REUNION PROGRAMME – people who flee to the UK can include any dependants in their asylum application where they have travelled with them. If, however, your family has been left behind and you have been recognised as a refugee or given humanitarian protection in the UK, pre-existing family (husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried/same-sex partner, plus any children under 18) can apply to enter the UK for asylum under the Family Reunion Programme. Other family members may be considered for compassionate reasons.
HUMAN RIGHTS ASYLUM APPLICATIONS – if you do not qualify for refugee status you may still be permitted to stay temporarily in the UK for humanitarian reasons under a human rights application. Under the European Convention on Human Rights a person should not be returned to a country where there is a real risk that they will be exposed to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
If your application for asylum is successful or you are granted leave for humanitarian reasons, you will be given permission to stay in the UK for an initial period of 5 years. You can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
GATEWAY PROTECTION PROGRAMME – in addition to the normal procedure for claiming asylum, the Gateway Protection Programme, operated by the UK Border Agency in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is designed to resettle especially vulnerable refugees.
The programme allows for up to 750 refugees to settle in the UK each year. Applications for resettlement under this programme are made via the UNHCR who then refer the matter to the UK Border Agency. Each application will be assessed on its own individual merits including refugee status, need for resettlement, security risks, family status, health and the health of dependants. Under the Gateway Protection Programme refugees are granted permanent residence immediately.
DISCRETIONARY LEAVE TO REMAIN – if you do not qualify as a refugee or for humanitarian protection, you may be eligible for Discretionary Leave to Remain although this is only given in limited circumstances.
UNSUCCESSFUL APPLICATIONS – if your asylum application is unsuccessful and you are not recognised or granted protection as a refugee in the UK, you may have a right of appeal or judicial review to the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. At the end of any appeals process you will be expected to voluntarily return to your country of origin/residence otherwise you risk an order for enforced removal. This may involve your arrest and detention in a secure centre, also known as Immigration Removal Centres, until you are required to leave. If your appeal rights have been exhausted you may have a final right to make a further submission to the UK Border Agency.
Here at IAS we can assist with all claims for asylum and humanitarian protection in the UK including help completing an asylum application, visits for detainees and representation for appeals and reviews in the event of a refusal. Get in touch today to get access to a specialist asylum lawyer who can help you with expert advice and guidance.