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Pregnant Asylum Seekers in the UK: What to Know

Being a pregnant asylum seeker can be a very confusing time especially when you do not know what maternity care and support you have access to. Our lawyers at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can guide you in the right direction with every action you may need to take while empathising with any concerns for pregnant asylum seekers in the UK.

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    Maternity Rights and Benefits for Asylum Seekers in the UK

    There is a range of support available for pregnant asylum seekers in the UK. This includes:

    • Cash payments
    • Maternity grants
    • Maternity care
    • Accommodation under Section 95 support

    Section 95 support also includes the option of obtaining a maternity grant of £300 and £600 for twins.

    You can only claim this payment once, but available per baby you have.

    Asylum seekers can also gain a weekly cash payment of £47.39 per person, regardless of age.

    But here are a few categories that you might fall under that can fluctuate this cost:

     

    If you’re pregnant Receive an extra £3.00
    If you have a baby under 1  Receive an extra £5.00
    If you have children under 3 Receive an extra £3.00
    A single parent with one child Receive £94.78
    A couple with one child Receive £142.17

    If you have been working, you may also be entitled to Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay.

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      Immigration Status Affecting Access to Maternity Rights and Benefits

      Depending on what your current immigration status is, it may affect your access to maternity rights and benefits.

      To ensure you can receive the right help when you need it, it’s essential to know whether you’re classified as someone who is seeking asylum.

      You must have submitted an asylum claim but can also still be regarded as an asylum seeker while you await the outcome of the claim.

      Unfortunately, if it’s discovered that you have failed to apply for asylum within a reasonable time, you will not be entitled to asylum support.

      There are a few exceptions to this including:

      • People with special needs
      • Families
      • If your refusal was a breach of human rights

      If your asylum application is still in progress and you need help, you can request temporary ’emergency’ asylum support.

      If you are seeking asylum but are not an EEA national, you are defined as a ‘person subject to immigration control’.

      This means you’re not automatically entitled to the majority of benefits unless you are eligible under special circumstances.

      Alternatively, if you have family members who are not subject to immigration control.

      For example, if you’re an asylum seeker living with a partner not defined as a ‘person subject to immigration control’, your partner can still claim benefits they are entitled to.

      If your partner receives this, they may be entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant (SSMH) or Best Start Grant (in Scotland), if you’re having a baby.

      NHS Maternity care is entitled to you but payment for this is subject to your immigration status during the time you are receiving it.

      Depending on your nationality and whether you are lawfully working within the UK, you will not be excluded by your immigration status from benefits.

      Examples of these benefits include:

      • Sure Start Maternity Grant
      • Child Benefit
      • Child Tax Credit

      The nationalities that this applies to include:

      • Algeria
      • Morocco
      • San Marino
      • Tunisia
      • Turkey

      Those who have family members of an EEA or Swiss National are also not excluded due to their immigration status.

      If you’re from a country that is covered by reciprocal agreement, you can still gain child benefits and will not be excluded by your immigration status.

      • Barbados
      • Bosnia
      • Herzegovina
      • Canada
      • The Channel Islands
      • Croatia
      • Israel
      • Kosovo
      • Macedonia
      • Mauritius
      • Montenegro
      • Serbia
      • New Zealand

      Application Process and Eligibility Criteria

      There are a few applications you may need to proceed with to claim maternity care from healthcare professionals and the benefits that you need.

      For instance, pregnant women can access extra claims during their pregnancy, you must inform the Home Office by writing to them that you are pregnant.

      You must also provide an original copy of either your MAT B1 or maternity certificate. Both of these can be requested from your midwife or GP when you’re 20 weeks or more in.

      If you do not have access to this you can alternatively ask for a letter from your GP or midwife confirming your pregnancy.

      If you believe you’re a pregnant asylum seeker who isn’t eligible for asylum support, you may be able to request support under the Care Act 2014, from your local authority.

      To request a claim for your maternity grant, you have to claim this within eight weeks before the expected due date (EDD).

      If you’ve already given birth, then within no more than six weeks after.

      If you’re experiencing difficulties with submitting your maternity grant in time, it’s recommended that you still request one alongside an additional statement with the reason you were unable to apply in time.

      Depending on how far in you are, this can determine what evidence you may need to provide.

      For instance, if you’re a pregnant woman who is 34 weeks in or over, you do not need a copy of the MAT B1 form for a Section 4 application. These grants are not given out earlier than 34 weeks.

      There may be an exception if there are any complications or your unborn baby may be at risk.

      If you’re a woman with a newborn of under 6 weeks, it’s important to apply to the Home Office with a copy of the child’s birth certificate or equivalent professional medical document that confirms this.

      Importance of Seeking Legal Advice

      There are a lot of benefits that could be beneficial for you but it can be hard to understand where and what to begin.

      Gaining professional, legal advice will give you the support, help and understanding you deserve and will help you gain what you need for every step of the way of your pregnancy while seeking asylum.

      Our specialists at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can supply you with the correct up-to-date information and evidence you need to gain maternity care in the UK. Call 0121 667 6530 today to discover more.

      How to Access Maternity Care as an Asylum Seeker

      There are many benefits you can access, one of the most important things to note is your entitlement to NHS maternity care.

      All women within the UK are entitled to this regardless of what their immigration status is.

      It should be noted that pregnant women are also entitled to healthcare costs aid.

      If you’re not registered with a GP you can access maternity services directly.

      This may include drop-in maternity clinics. You can obtain all this information from your local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)

      Does a Baby Born in the UK From Asylum-seeking Parents Get Citizenship?

      Overview

      Simply put, if your child is born within the UK, they will not automatically become a British Citizen.

      For a child to receive British Citizenship while their parents are not British, it’s necessary to first ensure that at least one parent has the ‘settled status’.

      This particular registration can be pursued after your baby’s birth.

      A ‘settled status’ can be defined as Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA Permanent Residence.

      It’s important to have evidence of this status such as a Permanent Residence Card or proof that you have successfully passed the Life in the UK test.

      If you have yet to have gained this particular status, be aware that it usually requires 5 consecutive years of living in the UK before eligibility.

      The alternative and more common way of getting British citizenship at birth is if one or more parents have British Citizenship at the baby’s birth.

      Another route to consider is for the child specifically. After they are born, they must reside within the UK for at least the first 10 years of their life.

      They should not spend no more than 90 days out of the country per year.

      If this has been done successfully with each year of the child living in the UK being documented as proof, they will be eligible to register as a British Citizen.

      Failed Asylum Seekers

      If you’re concerned about being a failed asylum seeker and are pregnant several conditions can help you remain within the UK for at least until your baby is delivered.

      There may be an occasion as a failed asylum seeker that you’re unable to travel safely this may be because:

      • Being 34 weeks or more pregnant
      • High-risk pregnancy
      • Have given birth within the last 6 weeks

      The Home Office acknowledges if you’re unable to undertake international travel due to any of the above reasons. You can claim Section 4 support to help you forward.

      Although, you may be entitled to Section 4 support earlier if you’re experiencing complications.

      To gain this, provide evidence from your GP, midwife or consultant that explains the complications you’re experiencing.

      If you do believe you qualify for Section 4 support, you can apply by providing your MATB1, birth certificate or any other relevant documents associated with the recording of the birth.

      Our Immigration Solicitors Can Help You

      Understanding what services can help you as a pregnant asylum seeker such as your rights and care, can be a very complex process to understand and know where to begin.

      The best first step is hiring a lawyer who understands the ins and outs and who can guide you through this stressful process.

      Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we have a myriad of helpful services including, but not limited to:

      • Asylum Application
      • Asylum Appeal
      • Permission to Work Application
      • Family Reunion Application (per applicant)
      • Error of Law Preparation and Hearing

      Call us today at 0121 677 6530, where we can provide further details and answers to any of your enquiries.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                You will typically not be deported, but if your asylum claim is rejected you may be able to claim Section 4 support.

                Support includes financial aid, housing, and the maternity care you need until you’re able to leave the country safely if you’re a failed asylum seeker.

                No matter your status, you have the right to maternity services within the UK throughout your pregnancy.

                You’ll have access to NHS maternity care and interpreters to ensure you understand all that you’re receiving.

                Much like others who are seeking asylum, you can apply for housing support from the Home Office if you have no accommodation available to you.

                This may be a room in a hotel, hostel, bed and breakfast, flat or shared house.

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