The laws set forth by the United Kingdom regarding Asylum applications are defined in Parts 11 (11A, 11B) and Parts 14 of the Immigration Rules. While the relevant procedures and definitions of an asylum applicant is written in Part 11 of the Immigration Act, Part 14 goes more in depth regarding the status and definitions of Stateless persons in the eyes of the government. These laws also define the basis on which the United Kingdom considers asylum applicants eligible for settlement and on what grounds the application can become inadmissible and void of humanitarian protection. The following article goes in depth regarding every relevant detail of Asylum applications and Stateless persons, as defined under the laws of the United Kingdom.
What is Asylum?
As defined in international and UK law, any person who fears his/her life would be in danger if he/she returns to home country, and has crossed over to the UK from a different border is eligible to be granted permanent or temporary settlement, dependant on the applicant’s circumstances. Under the law, as long as the applicant’s lodged asylum request is still awaiting a decision, the asylum seeker has the right to stay in the country.
The Home Office grants asylum requests in the United Kingdom after the applicant goes through the relevant procedures, and if he/she fits the criteria and his/her case is genuine. If the Home office grants your request and declares you a refugee, you are allowed to stay for 5 years. Depending on the circumstances once the five years are completed, you can be allowed to settle in the United Kingdom on a permanent basis. Like other special categories for hearing special cases for entry such as to apply for the UK investment immigration program or Tier 1 immigration, an asylum request is considered a special case scenario.
The Home Office has the right to deny your application like in other normal visa cases such as with UK investment immigration program etc. If at any point of the application process it is discovered that the applicant has a criminal history or was in prison. No charges are asked for people applying on an asylum application.
Most applicants for Asylum in the United Kingdom come from Eritrea, Iran, Bangladesh, Sudan, Pakistan, Syria, and Afghanistan among other countries.
Can my family apply for asylum on my application?
If your family existed before you left your home country, they can apply on the same asylum request as you. Also, they must not be in the position to apply as your wife/husband or your children.
They can stay in the country for the same length of time as you.
Stateless persons and the UK Asylum application
Paragraph 401 of Part 14 of the UK Immigration laws define a stateless person as anyone who is no longer, or never was, recognized as a citizen of any country. He must be also be in the country to fit this definition.
Recent changes in the Immigration laws of the country have added the position of a stateless person to be granted permanent stay in the UK if the relevant criteria and definitions are fulfilled and the applicant falls within this criteria. If, under Paragraph 405, the requirements (of Paragraph 3) that include having made a genuine application to the Secretary of State for a temporary leave in the UK, falls under the definition of a stateless person as per the law, cannot enter country of where he/she has stayed most of his/her life and has provided all vital proof to the Secretary that will help him/her determine your case.
How to apply for Asylum?
The United Nations convention of 1951 has set forth a procedure in place to recognize the status of any refugee. The United Kingdom considers anyone a refugee who fits this definition of the United Nations. This includes giving all form of possible evidence that would help your case regarding any imminent danger or harm to your life from the government or any third-party within your home country that the government is unwilling or cannot defend you from.
The applicant can go the Home Office to file his/her asylum request if he/she is residing in the United Kingdom at the time of the application. And, if the application must be filed from outside of the country, your asylum request will be entertained from the port you enter the country from.
How does the United Kingdom assess my asylum claim?
Unlike normal visa requests made such as the work route to settlement e.g. business residence visa UK or entrepreneur visa UK, an asylum request takes more time and is treated more sympathetically. Representatives of the government from a division known as the ‘Asylum Screening Unit’ will interview the applicant after the application has been submitted to the Home Office. The applicant’s biometric information is taken and the division asks you your entire background.
The burden of proof falls on the applicant to establish case in front of the United Kingdom government through any means available. It is not necessary to provide any hard evidence as long as the applicant has made a genuine effort to prove that you have the right to humanitarian protection. But, if you fail to file any hard evidence such as any documents or footage, you must submit a reason for this along with making sure your story does not contradict itself or have any loopholes. If the Asylum Screening Unit considers your case as genuine, you will be granted Asylum in the United Kingdom.
The Secretary of State will consider several factors while investigating your application. These include investigating to every extent, the laws of the applicant’s home country and the documented or otherwise verbal statement given by the applicant, whether these circumstances put you in any serious harm while taking into account everything about you. The Secretary of State will also investigate whether the conditions under which the applicant’s life came under threat were artificially created or not and whether the applicant could apply and be expected to be given help in another country or not.
How long does it take to give a decision on an asylum application in the UK?
It takes around 6 months to come to a final decision regarding the applicant’s asylum request. The interview the applicant gives, the evidence he/she provides and the information the government has make up the factors of the decision making process. A form known as the FORM SET (Protection Route) must be filled during the initial period of stay that has a maximum length of 5 years, if the applicant wishes to continue living in the United Kingdom.
Can I make an appeal if my asylum request is rejected?
Although the option to appeal the decision given on your asylum request exists, the number of times that can be done so is limited. When the decision of your asylum request comes through, and the decision to refuse your asylum request has been taken, you can apply again within ten business days of the rejection date. Note that the number comes down to five days if the applicant is currently held under detention. The process of making an appeal is explained to you after you are refused asylum, along with other rights that are explained to you as part of the standard process.
The appeal making process goes through the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
What if I am currently in a safe third country and I am trying to make my way into the United Kingdom?
Under Paragraph 345 of the Immigration Rules of the United Kingdom, if the Secretary of State can send the applicant to a third country that is also safe, he/she can refuse to investigate the asylum application.
This can happen if the applicant did not arrive within the country through the country from which he/she fears threat to his life. If you were in another country and it also offered you protection that you refused, so that you could enter the UK or whether you had the opportunity to seek protection from the third country and you did not.
In these instances, a certificate is issued by the Secretary of State afterward issued from parts taken from Asylum and Immigration Act of 2004. But, this decision can also be appealed if the applicant possesses the certification issued by the other country along with the document of the asylum refusal decision. This can be done in twenty eight business days if you have currently been taken out to the third country already or ten business days if you are currently residing within the United Kingdom. If an appeal has been officially filed, the government has no right to deport you to the third country until the decision of the appeal comes through.
Can I travel outside the United Kingdom after my asylum request has been granted?
If your asylum request and those of your family members has been granted, then you have the right to apply for travel documents to travel outside of the country excluding the country that you fled from. This is only done if you are unable to obtain these documents from another country. If, for instance, you have not made any attempts to obtain travel documents or a passport from another country, you might be denied from obtaining the UK’s travel documents. The travel documents that you obtain on this occasion are referred to as ‘convention travel documents’. However, if your travelling outside of the country poses any form of national threat to the security of the country, then you can be refused exit or the right to travel, unless under special circumstances.
You can also be given travel documents if you can show that the purpose of your travel to be for humanitarian purposes.
What is a ‘convention travel document’?
These are documents given to any person who has been granted refugee status. While being valid for 10 years, it is granted to applicants who have been allowed indefinite leave into the United Kingdom.
A child might be given a shorter period of time to stay on a convention travel document.
What is a ‘certificate of travel’?
A certificate of travel is given to an individual that has been refused asylum into the United Kingdom, but allowed to stay temporarily because his/her country refused to grant them a passport. It is always valid for the same period for which you have been allowed to remain in the United Kingdom.
An applicant cannot include his/her children when applying for a certificate of travel.
What is the travel document issued to stateless persons?
If you fall under the definition of the stateless person, as per United Nations law, you are given a travel document for residency inside the United Kingdom for a limited period of time. This document is only given to individuals who are currently in the United Kingdom on permission and have been since the last 6 months.
The validity of this document usually lasts for 10 years if the individual in question has indefinite stay inside the United Kingdom. But, if you are residing in the country on a temporary basis, you will be given the travel document for the same amount of time of your permission of stay.
As per the previous two types of documents, children are not allowed to be issued travel documents of their parents. The travel documents that will be issued to the children are given for up to 5 years.
Other than appeal, can I make a fresh claim regarding my asylum?
Such as other claims can be made on normal visas that are rejected such as the entrepreneur visa UK or the business residence visa UK, a new application can be filed for asylum also under the right circumstances.
Before you are given the opportunity to make a new asylum claim, the UKBA will investigate the previous claims made and whether the applicant deserves the grounds to a new appeal. Mostly, a new asylum application is only given to applicants who have different concerns and there is some weight in the concerns put forth.
If the fresh concern put forward relies on the previously made concern, but adds a prospect of a stronger and more realistic case, then the asylum application can be reviewed.