- Seeking Asylum In The UK As An Albanian: Overview
- Can You Seek Asylum In The UK As An Albanian?
- What Happens When You Arrive In The UK
- How To Apply For Asylum In The UK As An Albanian
- What Does My Asylum Decision Mean?
- What Asylum Support Can I Access As An Albanian?
- How Birmingham Lawyers Can Help You
- Frequently Asked Questions
Seeking Asylum In The UK As An Albanian: Overview
Throughout 2022, press attention grew concerning Albanian asylum seekers. With 16,000 applicants, this group made up 10% of overall asylum claims in the UK. This is because many were claiming asylum after having crossed in small boats, despite this going against the UK’s asylum rules. Unfortunately, Albanian asylum seekers are more marginalised than other asylum seekers and are more likely to be subject to modern slavery.
However, as of April 2023, 1,000 Albanians have been sent back because they arrived in the UK via illegal means. This makes it even more important that you ensure that you are travelling to the UK through a ‘safe legal route’ to ensure your asylum claim is heard.
If you are looking to claim asylum in the UK having come from Albania then there are many things to take into consideration. For example, you will need to collate a vast amount of documents, make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria, and be prepared to attend interviews to tell your story. You may also want to think about how asylum support could assist you while you wait for a decision on your application.
Can You Seek Asylum In The UK As An Albanian?
In theory, anybody can claim asylum in the UK. When you claim asylum all this means is that you are asking the government to grant you ‘refugee status’ which means you can stay in the country for 5 years with their protection. It also means you can access vital services like the NHS and free state education and have permission to work in the UK.
While anybody can claim asylum in the UK, whether they are Albanian or not, this does not necessarily mean your claim will be accepted. This is because the UK Home Office has several criteria you must meet to be classed as a ‘refugee’ which are as follows:
You must be fleeing your home country because you fear persecution based on your nationality, race, religious beliefs, or political opinion. This fear of persecution can also be from factors that put you at risk due to the political situation in your country. For example, you could have faced persecution due to your gender identity or sexual orientation and, therefore, fear returning. You also need to make it clear that you tried to obtain protection from the authorities within your home country and that it was unsuccessful.
The Home Office will not consider your asylum application if you have a connection to, or travelled to the UK through, a ‘safe third country’ where you could have already claimed asylum rather than turning to the UK.
The Home Office classes a ‘safe third country’ as one where:
- You are not a citizen
- You would not be harmed
- You would not be sent on to another country where you could be harmed
Only if you meet the above criteria will the government hear your claim, which is why it is important to make sure you are diligent when applying.
What Happens When You Arrive In The UK
When you arrive in the UK through one of its many ports of entry, you must make it clear to the border force that you want to claim asylum. They will then take your basic details and put you in contact with an immigration officer who will conduct an immigration screening which is the first step in the asylum process.
If you are unable to speak or understand English then you can ask for an interpreter to be present. If you are already living in the UK at the time of your claim then this screening will usually happen over the phone.
How To Apply For Asylum In The UK As An Albanian
The asylum screening is where you will register your claim. The immigration officer will take your photographs and your fingerprints after checking who you are and where you have come from.
During this asylum screening, you will need to hand over a series of documents that confirm who you are and where you live. You will need any travel documents like your passport as well as identification records such as a birth certificate and any relevant school records.
Then you will need to show where you live in the UK through a document with your name and address, like a household bill or a tenancy agreement. If you are staying with somebody else then you will need a document with their name and address on it and you will also need a letter from within the last 3 months stating that you have their permission to stay.
You should also include any other documents that you think might help with your claim, such as medical records. It is important to start organising these documents before you register your claim because some documents can take a while to obtain which will only further delay a decision.
After your screening is complete, you will be given an Application Registration Card (ARC card) which is used to show who you are, if you have permission to work, and if you are getting any medical help. It is important to bring this to any interviews or contact with immigration officers or caseworkers. You can get in touch with the Home Office if it gets lost, stolen, broken, or if it expires.
You will likely need to attend an interview after your screening. In some cases, people’s claims are so strong or urgent that this is unnecessary, but this is only for a small minority of cases. This interview will be your chance to explain how you were persecuted in your country, why you fear returning, and why you want to claim asylum as a result of this persecution. Even though you will be asked difficult questions about personal topics, you must be as clear and honest as possible because any information you withhold can work against your asylum claim in the long run.
There are some key things to remember regarding your interview, which are as follows:
- You must bring any dependents to this interview
- You should bring your passport, national ID card, birth certificate, driving license, and any other identity documents (if you have them)
- Most of these interviews take place via video call
What Does My Asylum Decision Mean?
There are generally three types of decisions.
The first is that the Home Office needs further documentation or more interviews to come to a decision.
The second is that your asylum claim has been accepted and you are now granted refugee status. It is important to note, however, that whilst dependents will be allowed to stay, they will not have the same status so they will need to make their own application.
The third decision is that your asylum claim has been denied by the Home Office. If this happens then you will need to make arrangements to leave the country. If the Home Office decides to remove you then they will notify you by mail first and then you will be taken to an immigrant removal centre. If you wish to appeal against your decision then you will not need to leave until a decision has been made.
What Asylum Support Can I Access As An Albanian?
While you wait for your asylum claim to be processed, you are not allowed to work in the UK. This puts a lot of asylum seekers in a difficult position but thankfully the government has some asylum support available under these circumstances.
If you are classed as being ‘destitute’ you will be eligible for Section 95 asylum support. You will be offered accommodation somewhere in the country which will be free of cost. Depending on whether this accommodation is catered or self-catered, you will also receive a weekly stipend with extras for pregnant women, babies, and children aged 1 to 3. This will be put on a government-issued ‘ASPEN’ card which will be monitored to ensure you are staying in the area you live. If you have accommodation but need financial assistance then you will be able to apply for a ‘subsistence-only’ version of this support.
If you are granted asylum, this assistance will end after 28 days from this decision. If your claim has been denied, this support will stop after 21 days.
If you need more immediate help while you wait for your Section 95 support to be approved, you can access Section 98 support. This provides the same help as Section 95 but on a short-term basis as decisions can take a while to be made.
Lastly, if your asylum claim has been denied then you can access Section 4 support for accommodation and financial assistance while you plan your departure from the UK.
If you are looking to claim asylum in the UK it can be a long and complicated process, especially with the current backlog. You will need to make sure you have all the correct documents, that you meet all the eligibility criteria, and that you fill your forms out correctly. Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers we can help with your asylum claim, appeal, and documents.
We also have expertise in several additional areas. We can help with work and business visas and we can help with any permission to work or citizenship issues you are facing. If you want to learn more then call 0121 667 6530 or get in touch with us online.
Last modified on November 15th, 2023 at 10:24 am
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Over the past year, most asylum seekers in the UK have been from Afghanistan, Albania, Iran, Iraq, and India. Albanian citizens make up 10% of the UK’s asylum-seeking population.
Germany has always been particularly open to asylum seekers so it has the most asylum applications in the EU each year.
In most cases, asylum seekers are not permitted to work in the UK but there are some asylum support packages available to help whilst you wait for a decision.
Asylum seekers are people who have applied for refugee status which would allow them to live in the UK for five years with UK protection, and they would be able to access the NHS, free state education, and benefits.