Immigration Law – Advice & Casework
Claiming asylum is a human right supported by the Geneva Convention and recognised by countries around the world including the UK. The system that the UK has set up to claim asylum is as follows:
A person can claim asylum at the airport or port of entry once they have already entered the UK. To do that the person needs to inform an Immigration Officer of their intention to seek asylum.
When a person claims asylum at the airport or port of entry, they will normally be asked questions about the claim in what is known as “screening interview”. In some occasions the screening interview does not take place on the same day but takes place within five days.
A person who is already in the UK and wishes to claim asylum but did not do it at the airport or port of entry, can still claim asylum. This is done by calling the Asylum Screening Unit on 0300 123 4193 in order to book an appointment for a screening interview. The screening interview will usually be set for between five and 15 days after the claimant made the telephone call.
Screening interviews usually take place in Croydon, London. For those who claim asylum in Northern Ireland they will be invited to do so in Belfast.
Claimants should attend their screening interview with their passport and evidence of their accommodation in the UK. In some occasions claimants are asked to attend the screening interview with evidence to support their asylum claim.
At the screening interview, the Home Office will take claimants’ “biometric information” (this is fingerprints and photograph) and ask for the person details, how he/she arrived to the UK and to explain briefly the reason why he/she is claiming asylum.
After the screening interview has taken place, asylum claimants or their representatives will receive a letter with the date, time and place of the substantive interview.
It is at the substantive interview when claimants need to explain in detail the reason why they cannot go back to their country of origin. They will need to explain what happened to them in the past, where, when etc.
If the claim is accepted, an asylum seeker will generally be granted five years’ refugee status and issued with a Biometric Residence Permit confirming their refugee status and their right to work in the UK.
An asylum claimant may be granted some leave which is not refugee status such as humanitarian protection, leave under the Immigration Rules on human rights grounds on the basis that they have a partner/child in the UK , discretionary leave for those who are recognised victims of trafficking, discretionary leave for those who have a very serious medical condition which could not be treated in their country of origin, etc
Refused - Appealing to the First-tier Tribunal
If the asylum claim is refused there is usually a right of appeal and the appeal can usually be pursued from within the UK.
The only exceptions to this might be if the asylum seeker has previously made an asylum claim which has already been rejected or is being put through the “Dublin” process because before coming to the UK he or she was fingerprinted in another EU Member state.
The time limit for lodging an appeal is 14 days from the date of the decision.
If an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal is dismissed, a further appeal to the Upper Tribunal can be attempted but permission to appeal is required.
If you are in the UK and considering applying for asylum please feel free to come to one of our drop ins on Wednesdays (10:30am - 6:30pm) or Thursdays (10:30- 4:30) or attend our seminar on how to claim asylum in the UK which will take place on 20th February at 5pm.
If you are in the UK with leave to remain as a spouse/partner of a British national or person who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain and you suffer Domestic Violence you could request to be granted the right to live indefinite in the UK by completing form SET (DV) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-to-settle-in-uk-form-setdv. If you do not have the fees of £2389 for the application you could ask for a fee exemption.
Before submitting the SET (DV) application we advise you to request a temporary visa valid for 3 months under the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-benefits-for-visa-holder-domestic-violence. This is a temporary visa that allows you to access public funds. The SET (DV) form has to be submitted before the temporary visa expires.
Si no tienes los £2389 que cuesta la aplicación puedes solicitar que te exenten del pago.
Antes de realizar la solicitud SET (DV), te aconsejamos que solicites una visa temporal de 3 meses bajo la “Destitution Domestic Violence Concession” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-benefits-for-visa-holder-domestic-violence. Esta es una visa temporal que te permite acceder a fondos públicos. Tendrás que enviar la solicitud SET (DV) antes de que la visa temporal venza.
Statement from the Home Office regarding coronavirus (COVID-19)
On 24 March the Home Office released a statement regarding immigration and the coronavirus. Most importantly, if you are in the UK and your right of residence expires between January 24 and May 31 2020 your permission to stay here will automatically be extended until 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave from the United Kingdom due to travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
- • Your full name (including any middle name)
- • Date of birth
- • Nationality
- • Reference number of previous visa
- • Reason why you cannot return to your country of origin, for example, if the border has been closed
See the Home Office statement here
LAH free Immigration Advice
supported more than 800 people in 2018-19
In 2018 we provided free legal advice to more than 800 people in connection with their immigration matters. Our Immigration Law Advice and Casework Service was funded by Trust for London and provided by our in-house solicitor.
The majority of the advice provided was about residence for EU nationals and their family members. We also advised people regarding acquisition of British citizenship, extension of leave to remain, visas for spouses of British nationals, appeals, Judicial reviews, etc.
Our challenges for 2019 are a few and complex. From 30 March 2019 all Europeans and their family members will need to register under the new settlement scheme and therefore we will spend a great part of our time and resources advising people on that subject. We will do this without forgetting those who contact us regarding other immigration matters and prioritising vulnerable people.
Our Immigration Law Advice and Casework Service is funded by Trust for London and is provided by our in-house solicitor.