Is Obtaining Asylum In The UK a Lengthy Process?
The main reason for the UK’s lengthy asylum process is the huge backlog of asylum applications that the government is sorting through. Since 2010, the government has consistently made decisions at below 10,000 per year, but the amount of applications has risen significantly in recent years.
At the end of 2021, the UK already had the second-largest backlog in Europe and by the end of 2022, there were 132,000 outstanding applications. This has only increased over the last year due to an increase in asylum claims from Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul.
As a direct result, the backlog of asylum claims is now vastly higher than the government’s ability to make decisions.
Putting this backlog to one side, though, the government has also indicated some primary factors that tend to slow down the asylum process on an individual basis, and these include:
- If you have additional supporting documents and if any of your documents require further verification
- If you need to attend additional interviews
- If your circumstances require extra considerations, such as if you are a convicted criminal or are currently involved in legal proceedings
Make sure you are open with the immigration officer who handles your claim to ease the process as best you can.
How Long Does the Asylum Process Take In the UK?
There is no set timeline for the asylum process so it is difficult to give a specific figure. In 2010, the number of people waiting for over a year for a decision on their asylum claim was 3,588 which was considerably lower than the 33,016 people in 2020.
Due to this huge increase, compared to funding and resources, it is estimated that the current wait for an asylum decision is between one and three years. The amount of documents that need to be verified, the amount of interviews that need to be conducted, and any relevant personal circumstances will put you toward the higher end of this scale.
If you are making an asylum claim and think you do not have the means to support yourself for this length of time then there are some short-term asylum support measures in place. The following support measures apply to those whom the government class as ‘destitute’:
- Section 95 support is where the government steps in and provides accommodation to asylum seekers who are unable to house themselves whilst they wait for a decision on their asylum claim. There is also a subsistence-only version for those who have accommodation in place.
- Section 98 support, or ‘initial accommodation’, provides immediate accommodation at a Home Office hotel or hostel whilst an asylum applicant is waiting for their Section 95 support to be approved.
- Section 4 support is also for accommodation but it is solely for those whose asylum claims have been rejected and who are waiting to leave the UK.
Ways To Speed Up The Asylum Claim Process
In some cases your asylum application may be able to be ‘streamlined’ but this is only where an interview is not needed.
This usually applies to certain types of applicants such as children, victims of torture, or people with serious medical requirements that are not currently being met.
Apart from this streamlining process, there is little you can do to speed up your asylum claim process, apart from being highly organised.
For example, when you claim asylum, you will need to submit a lot of documents as part of your application. Some of these documents can take a while to obtain, such as a passport or a copy of a birth certificate, so it is best to prepare these at the earliest opportunity.
This will help speed up your application by avoiding a long wait. The documents you will need are as follows:
- Passports and travel documents
- Identification documents like birth certificates or school records
- Any other documents that may support your application like employment records
If you are living in your own accommodation you will need a bank statement, housing benefit book, council tax notice, tenancy agreement, and a household bill.
If you are staying with somebody else, you will need a letter from the person you are staying with confirming that you have permission to stay as well as a document showing their full name and address like a tenancy agreement or household bill.
It is also vital that you only give accurate information when making your asylum claim, not just because this will slow the process down, but also because you could face a 2-year prison sentence or forced removal for giving false information.
What Happens To Asylum Seekers If They Are Denied Asylum?
Many asylum seekers whose applications have been denied will leave the country voluntarily after the government asks them to leave.
Before being forced to leave the country, you will first be sent a letter from the government declaring their intention to remove you. Then you will temporarily be placed in an immigration removal centre whilst preparations are made for your departure.
The only situation where you will not be forcibly removed is if you have appealed your asylum decision. In this instance, you are allowed to stay until your appeal has been processed and a decision is made.
Claiming asylum is a lengthy and complicated process, even without the backlog that has grown over recent years. In 2023, decisions can take a long time to be made but there is support available and you may be eligible for a streamlined asylum claim.
The best thing you can do to help with this process is to get in touch with us here Birmingham Immigration Lawyers. Our team of immigration experts will be able to assist you at every stage and we will help prepare you for your interview, appeal, and documentation.
Our services also range from personal, business, and work visas to residency, citizenship, and asylum issues. If you need help with any of these areas then all you need to do is call 0121 667 6530 or get in touch online.
Last modified on November 8th, 2023 at 9:05 am
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Applications made between 2018 and 2021 had a success rate of 59% which was an increase on the 44% rate from 2017 to 2019.
The UK government will accept the following grounds for asylum: race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, nationality, political opinion, and anything else that puts you at risk because the political situation in your country is intolerant to factors such as gender identity or sexual orientation.
Whilst you do not need a lawyer to apply for asylum in the UK, having one on board will help you make the strongest application possible which will increase your chances of asylum being granted.
The Home Office usually does not permit people to undertake work while they are waiting for an asylum decision.