The UK has always welcomed refugees and the current Government is seeking to challenge this position.  It is recognised in the 1951 Convention that people fleeing persecution may have to use irregular means in order to escape and claim asylum in another country and the 1951 Refugee Convention guarantees everyone the right to apply for asylum.  The UK asylum system is complex and many claims are rejected.  Asylum lawyers have complained that initial Home Office decisions remain poor and many refugees have to rely on Courts rather than the Home Office to provide them with the protection they need.  

Should you get a lawyer if you claim asylum?

The Home Office is currently planning sweeping changes to the way the UK will fulfil its international obligations to those seeking asylum, especially by proposing different treatment according to the way a refugee arrives in the UK.  This will have a significant impact on the life of asylum seekers who are seeking protection.  It will create a two tier asylum system in the UK with applicants treated differently depending on whether they enter the UK via a regular or irregular route.  At the moment the Government’s new plan for immigration does not provide any level of details or what considerations will be taken into account and it is advisable to obtain advice about any entitlement under the Human Rights Act 1998.  One possible scenario could see existing rules amended to allow people with temporary protection to apply for leave to remain under Article 8 grounds.

How can a lawyer assist women seeking asylum?

Women seeking asylum are more likely to have experienced gender based violence because of their experience of persecution and conflict.  The precariousness of their economic and social circumstances and their unique experience before and after arrival in the UK.  We specialise in representing women in a gender based way. 

Who is a refugee?

Refugee status is granted to a person who had a positive decision on their claim for asylum under the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the status of refugees and has been granted leave to remain in the UK.  

What is an ARC card?

This is an application registration card given to an asylum seeker and it will state employment permitted or work allowed.  

What is an asylum substantive interview?

This is the interview where the Home Office ask you to detail your reasons for claiming asylum.  The interview may last for many hours and you will be represented by a member of our team.  Before such an interview we will prepare you to give a very clear and detailed explanation as to your case. Due to Covid-19, substantive interviews are currently happening via video call.  Before the interview, it is important for you to have an asylum lawyer, and if you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer you should be able to get advice under the Legal Aid Scheme.  Making an asylum application is different from any other immigration application

What are Legacy Cases?

For those who made an application for asylum prior to 5th March 2007 and their case remained unresolved, their cases were allocated to “Legacy”. This involved the transfer of a backlog of 500,000 outstanding applications to a team of caseworkers at the Home Office called the Caseworker Resolution Directorate.  The purpose was to resolve all these outstanding cases by July 2011 and for the applicant to be granted indefinite leave to remain or to be removed from the UK.  Not surprisingly, by July 2011 many cases remained unresolved and those cases were referred to the Case Assurance and Audit Unit at the Home Office.  The delay by the Home Office was challenged as unreasonable and unlawful in the case of FH and Others v SSHD [2007].  The Judge held that only if the delay in question was “so excessive as to be regarded as manifestly unreasonable and to fall outside of any proper application of the policy, or if the claimant were suffering some particular detriment which the Home Office failed to alleviate, then a claim might be entertained by the Court”.

The main complaint against the scheme has always been that there was no clear published criteria the decision maker had in order to make their decision.  However, in the case of Hakemi, it was held by the High Court that there was indeed a full publication of the practice and policy of the Secretary of State.  Regrettably, by 2011 with the closure of the Legacy Programme many cases remained to be disposed of.  Naturally these matters affected real people and a lot of undocumented migrants in the UK did not benefit from the Legacy Scheme.

How to apply for a Home Office Travel Document?

In order to make the application you must be in the UK as a refugee, a stateless person or you have humanitarian protection and you obtained leave to remain in that capacity. The document will usually be valid for 10 years if you are settled in the UK or if you have permission to stay for five years, the document will be valid for five years. You can usually travel to other countries except the country of origin or the country you sought asylum for. The cost of the application for a travel document is £75.