What happens after asylum is granted in the UK?
Applying for asylum in the UK is a long process. Currently, there are over 50,000 people in the asylum system waiting for the outcome of a claim. What’s often not talked about is what happens if you do receive a grant of asylum and get refugee status.
In this blog post, we explain what happens at each stage of the process and what you can expect if your asylum claim is granted.
Making an Asylum Claim
To be eligible to make an asylum claim, you must be able to prove you are fleeing the threat of persecution and will not receive protection within their home country. The threat can be individualised and could be for many reasons:
- Environmental factors like war or political turmoil
- Personal factors, such as gender identity, political beliefs, religion, race etc
There is no hard and fast rule for who can and cannot apply for asylum. The fear of persecution must however be ‘well-founded’.
Upon arrival in the UK, the asylum claim must be put in as soon as possible by speaking to staff at ports or airports or by calling the asylum intake unit, if you become eligible after you arrive in the country. After your application is made, an initial ‘screening’ will be held with an immigration officer.
After this, you will be invited to an asylum interview.
Attending an Asylum Interview
Your interview will usually take place soon after your first screening. You will receive a letter in the post to the address you gave detailing where and when you should attend. You will have to attend alone but you can ask for an interpreter to accompany you.
You can also get legal representation beforehand, but the interview will go ahead if you do not have any representation present.
The interview is extremely important as its the time to detail as much as possible of events that happened to you and why you do not feel safe to return to your country, to the caseworker present. It is also important to have other things with you, if you can, such as:
- Birth certificate
- Medical records
- Evidence of your persecution/torture/things that happened to you
After the Asylum Interview
The applicant has five working days after their interview to check the records to make any comments and corrections. For example, certain answers may not have been interpreted or transcribed accurately. During this time, more supporting evidence can also be submitted for your claim, which could really help your application.
The Home Office states that generally decisions on asylum claims take up to six months. However currently, the majority of people will wait longer than this for their claim to be processed. The six-month timescale is usually counted from the date of your screening interview, rather than the date the claim was first raised.
Sometimes, it can take longer for your claim to process if there are any complications, for example verifying documents and evidence provided. The Home Office may ask you to attend another interview to check your personal circumstances again.
During the time you are waiting for a decision, you could be detained. Otherwise, you will be placed in temporary accommodation and continue to receive your allowance of £37.75 a week.
Receiving Refugee Status
You will either receive a positive or negative decision on your claim. If your claim is positive, you will be granted leave to stay in the UK in one of the following ways:
Leave to remain as a refugee
Being granted ‘leave to remain’ as a refugee means your claim has been found to be supported. The Home Office have agreed that you would face persecution and danger if you returned to your country and have granted you refugee status in the UK. Leave to remain grants you and any children or dependants five years of leave in the UK.
You will be usually notified by post. You will also receive a Biometric Residence Permit, an identity document that will allow you to:
- Work in the UK
- Access public funds
- Find a more permanent place to live
To travel, it is incredibly important a refugee does not use their passport from their country of origin. This could be used as grounds to revoke status. Instead, you must apply for a specific travel document.
Other Types of Leave
Leave to remain or enter for humanitarian reasons
Decisions on a humanitarian basis are slightly different to being given refugee status. International protection will still be granted, but persecution was not found to be covered by the Refugee Convention, meaning refugee status was not given. You will still be given five years of leave in the UK.
Leave on ‘human rights grounds’
There are provisions in the Immigration Rules to grant leave on ‘ human rights grounds’, for example if the person would find ‘very significant difficulty with reintegration in their home country’. You may be given five years or less leave in the UK; how long you can stay will depend on your personal circumstances.
Other types of leave you could be granted are:
- Discretionary leave if you are found to be a victim of trafficking
- Limited leave to remain if you are under 17 and a half years old, usually for unaccompanied minors
- Leave to receive treatment for a medical condition that you would not be able to receive if you were in your home country
After five years of living lawfully in the UK, you can then apply for settlement or indefinite leave to remain for you and your family members if they are inside the UK.
If Your Claim is Refused
The Home Office could refuse your claim for asylum for numerous reasons. In most instances, you will have a right to appeal the decision. You will have 14 days to lodge your appeal. You will usually receive your refusal in the post and it will include the IAFT5 form you must fill out to make your appeal.
Your appeal in the first instance will be made to the First-tier Tribunal. Usually, they will be made on the grounds that removing you from the UK would be a breach of the Refugee Convention.
If your appeal is refused at the First-tier Tribunal, you can continue to make appeals at the Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal, and finally the Supreme Court. However, the appeal will only be allowed if there has been an ‘error of law’ made in your case, meaning an error made by the judge.
If your claim is refused and you exhaust all appeal avenues, you will be told to leave the UK either voluntarily or you may be detained and removed by immigration enforcement. You may be eligible to get help and financial support from the voluntary returns service. You cannot apply however if you are being detained by the Home Office or are under criminal investigation by the police.
Making a 'Fresh Claim'
If you have further evidence and information you are able to submit to the Home Office, this may constitute a ‘fresh claim’. The information may be decided as a ‘fresh claim’ if it is substantially different from any of the information already given, and has a relatively good chance of success.
On this basis, the Home Office may decide to grant you refugee status or another type of leave. However, they may decide it is not a fresh claim, and not give any form of leave. You then have a right to appeal as above. Unfortunately, they do hold the right to dismiss your claim and refuse you any grounds of appeal.
If you have made an asylum claim in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for Legal Aid to have legal representation. Our team at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers have years of experience in supporting people seeking asylum.
Our services can include advice sessions, legal representation and ensuring that you present the most accurate and strong documentary evidence to the Home Office to give your claim the best chance of success.
To find out more about how we can help you with your asylum claim, please call us now on 0121 667 6530.