What is Asylum?
Asylum refers to a form of protection granted to individuals who have fled their home countries due to a fear of persecution based on factors such as their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
These individuals seek refuge in the UK and apply for asylum to seek protection from the harm they would face if they were to return to their home country.
The UK has a legal and humanitarian obligation to consider asylum applications and ensure that individuals who meet the criteria for refugee status are granted protection.
The process involves assessing the applicant’s situation, determining whether their fear of persecution is credible and well-founded, and evaluating whether they meet the legal definition of a refugee.
If an individual’s asylum application is successful, they are granted refugee status, which provides them with the right to remain in the UK and utilise the benefits available to refugees such as the right to work and access to public services.
If an application for asylum is rejected, the applicant may have the right to appeal the decision or pursue other forms of protection, depending on their circumstances.
Grounds to claim asylum in the UK
To claim asylum and receive a grant of protection from the UK, an asylum seeker must demonstrate that they have met the grounds for asylum UK.
There is a narrow definition of what constitutes grounds to apply for asylum, and it can be very difficult to prove that you meet the eligibility requirements.
To find out who can seek asylum in UK, an asylum seeker must prove that they are unable to live safely in any area of their home or country of origin, due to a well-founded fear of persecution.
The persecution must be as a result of:
- Your race/ ethnicity
- Your religious beliefs
- Your nationality
- Your political opinions
- Something that places you at risk based on the social, cultural, religious, or political situation in your country (e.g., your gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation)
The individual seeking asylum in UK must have tried and failed to receive protection asylum support from authorities in your home country.
Because you can only claim asylum once, if you are considering claiming asylum in the UK, it is strongly advised to seek support from a qualified immigration lawyer to assist with your claim.
Speak to one of our advisers today to see how we can help.
Suspension of Asylum Differentiation Policy
The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 introduced two groups of refugees in the UK: Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 refugees are granted permission to stay for five years and can apply for settlement, while Group 2 refugees are given temporary permission to stay for 30 months on a 10-year route to settlement. This differentiation aimed to discourage illegal migration.
To further deter illegal entry, the government introduced the Illegal Migration Bill, which makes asylum claims inadmissible for those who arrive illegally through safe countries, and imposes a duty to remove them. As a result of these changes, the differentiation policy was paused in July 2023, and all successful asylum applicants now receive the same conditions regardless of their group.
Additionally, a streamlined asylum processing model was announced for certain nationalities with high asylum grant rates, including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Sudan. Positive decisions for well-founded cases in these nationalities can be made without an additional interview, and no asylum application will be refused without an opportunity for an interview. Sudanese legacy claimants are being processed in line with established policies, with a commitment to clear the backlog of legacy asylum claims.
Transparency in Withdrawing Asylum Claims
The updated paragraph 333C clarifies the circumstances for withdrawing asylum claims and strengthens the process to promptly withdraw applications from non-compliant individuals. It specifies that withdrawn claims won’t be considered, allows flexibility for explicit withdrawals, and places the burden on claimants to keep the Home Office updated with their contact details. Failure to comply may lead to withdrawal of their asylum claim. These changes aim to focus decision-making resources on genuine asylum claimants in the UK. The changes to the Immigration Rules were implemented in July and August 2023:
- In July 2023, the changes regarding Asylum including the pause of the differentiation policy took effect.
All remaining changes were enforced on 7 August 2023.
Who can claim asylum in the UK?
According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, individuals are allowed to claim asylum in a safe country and should be allowed to remain until their claim international protection has been processed.
You may claim asylum or eligible to claim asylum and seek refugee status in the UK if you can prove the following:
- You are not from an EU country
- You did not pass through a ‘safe third country’ before arriving in the UK
- You have no connections to a safe third country
According to international law and to the UK government, a safe third country refers to a country that you are not a citizen of, where you will not be harmed, and which will not send you to another country where you would be harmed.
The most important aspect of an asylum claim is demonstrating how the asylum seeker was persecuted.
The legal definition of persecution is serious and targeted mistreatment of an individual or social group based on their characteristics or identity.
Furthermore, to be eligible to claim asylum, you should demonstrate that you were persecuted in your own country in one of the following ways (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Physical, psychological, or sexual violence
- Legal, administrative, or judicial discrimination
- Discriminatory or disproportionate punishment
- Denial of judicial support which results in a disproportionate punishment
- Punishment for refusing to serve in the military where serving would result in the individual being forced to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity
How to claim asylum in the UK
It is likely that the asylum system in the UK will undergo some changes in the future, and this may impact how asylum seekers claim refugee status.
Your asylum claim may be refused if it can be shown that you passed through a safe third country and could have sought asylum there.
If you wish to seek asylum in the UK, you should notify immigration officials at the UK border when you enter the country.
After you notify an official, you will have a short screening interview where you will be asked questions about your background and reasons for claiming asylum.
You will be asked if you have somewhere to stay and if you are at risk of destitution, you may be offered temporary accommodation.
If you are deemed to be in the country illegally, you may be placed in immigration detention.
You will later be requested to attend the asylum substantive interview. This is a long interview (where you may be represented by your lawyer) and it can be very difficult.
You will also be given the opportunity to submit supporting documents to the Home Office to provide proof of your claims.
If your claim is refused, you may be given the opportunity to appeal or request a review. There are a number of ways that you can submit appeals, but in some cases, you will be required to be represented by an immigration lawyer.
Do I need an asylum lawyer?
Asylum cases are notoriously complex, and with individuals at risk of persecution or death, the stakes for asylum applicants are extremely high. Our immigration lawyers are experts in supporting our asylum seeker clients to successfully argue their cases and obtain the right to stay in the UK.
No matter what stage your claim is at, and no matter the complexity, we can work with you to ensure that you are given the strongest possible legal representation and support. We can assist with high-quality translation and document fact-checking services to ensure that your case proceeds as quickly as possible.
If you have been unsuccessful in your asylum claim and placed into immigration detention, contact our lawyers for emergency advice.
Because of the nature of asylum claims and people seeking asylum or refugee status, we understand that you may require urgent advice. Our lawyers are available to speak with you if you need urgent help.
Some of the services you can expect to receive from us include:
- Assessing your eligibility and the grounds on which you are claiming asylum in the UK
- Assisting you in making your interview appointment
- Advising on how to submit formal statements to the Home Office
- Preparing you for the asylum interview
- Submit an application to have you released from immigration detention
- Give in-depth support with gathering the documents required for your case
- Prepare and submit a letter of representation to outline why your claim should be accepted
- Engage with the Home Office while your claim is being processed
- Support with any asylum decision appeals or reviews as a result of any failed applications
Call us on 0121 667 6530 for an immediate discussion about how we can assist you with your case.
Last modified on January 30th, 2024 at 12:49 pm
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While having documentation is advantageous, the absence of such should not hinder your application. Any proof substantiating your identity, nationality, and grounds for seeking asylum should be provided. This might mean passports, ID cards, photographs, or pertinent items
Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll be scheduled for an interview with an immigration officer. This interview holds significant weight in evaluating the credibility of your claim. Following the interview, the Home Office will render a decision on your application.
The duration of the asylum process can differ. Depending on factors like the intricacy of your case and the overall workload of immigration authorities, it could span from several months to even a few years before a decision is reached.
In certain instances, you may be granted permission to work while your application is being reviewed. This possibility hinges on the application stage and the duration you’ve been awaiting a decision.
If your application is denied, you could potentially exercise your right to appeal the decision. The appeal procedure entails presenting your case before an impartial tribunal. It’s advisable to seek legal counsel if your application is turned down. Speak to one of our team today to find out how we can help you apply for asylum, or appeal your asylum application.
Asylum denotes the process wherein an individual seeks refuge in a foreign country due to a fear of persecution. Refugee status signifies the formal acknowledgment that an individual has been granted protection according to the criteria outlined in international refugee law.