How to Claim Asylum in the UK
What is Asylum?
According to Oxford Dictionary definition asylum is ‘protection that a government gives to people who have left their own country, usually because they were in danger for political reasons’.
If someone is at risk of being persecuted in their own country, they may ask for asylum in the UK. When someone is ‘granted asylum’ it means they were given permission to remain in the UK because of that risk of persecution.
If you are waiting for a decision on your asylum claim you are an ‘asylum seeker’. When the Home Office grants your application – you become a ‘refugee’.
Sometimes the application for asylum may be refused but a person may be granted what is known as ‘humanitarian protection’ or ‘discretionary leave’.
How to Qualify for Asylum?
To succeed in your asylum application, you will need to prove 4 elements of their claim. In particular, you need to show that:
- owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted;
- for reasons of:
- membership of a particular social group or
- political opinion
- you areoutside the country of your nationality; and
- you are unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country;
Well-founded Fear of Persecution
To prove this element, a person will need to meet subjective and objective tests.
The subjective test: you can meet it if you show that you have a genuine fear of being persecuted. This can be done by
the way of testimony. You can also support your claim by providing various documents. For example, you can provide your passport or identity cards, political party membership cards, arrest warrants, photographs, and medical reports etc. Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture is an organisation providing medical and social care, practical assistance and therapy to survivors of torture. If the applicant is already seeing a doctor or consultant, he may be able to provide a report.
The objective test is about the current situation in asylum seeker’s country. You can obtain this information from independent sources, from organisations such as Amnesty International and the US Department of State, newspaper or Internet articles.
Reasons for Claiming Asylum
Claiming asylum for reasons of race includes colour, descent, or membership of a particular ethnic group. However, belonging to a certain racial group is not normally enough to succeed in an asylum claim.
The concept of religion includes holding of theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs. It also includes the participation in, or abstention from, formal worship in private or in public, either alone or in community with others. The definition includes other religious acts or expressions of views or forms of personal or communal conduct based on or mandated by any religious belief.
The term “nationality” includes citizenship, membership of an ethnic or linguistic group. The co-existence of two or more national (ethnic, linguistic) groups may create situations of conflict and also situations of persecution or danger of persecution. For this reason, persecution for reasons of nationality may overlap.
membership of a particular social group
A ‘particular social group’ normally comprises persons of similar background, habits or social status. In the majority of cases, membership of a particular social group will not normally be enough for a successful asylum claim. Very often, a claimant can succeed when combining at least two reasons for claiming asylum.
If a person’s political opinion is different from those of the Government, it is not in itself a ground for claiming refugee status. A claimant needs to show that because of holding his political opinion he has a fear of persecution.
The Procedure for Claiming Asylum
- APPOINTMENT: You can book an appointment either when you arrive or when you are already in the UK. If a person wants to apply when already in the UK, they need to call to book an appointment.
- SCREENING INTERVIEW: Then the Home Office will invite you for a screening interview. At this interview the Home Office will gather personal information of an applicant. Also, they will make a decision as to whether to detain this person.
- Asylum Interview. After the screening interview, they’ll invite you for an asylum interview. At this interview they will need to provide full details of their asylum claim, supporting it by documents, where possible.
- The decision. The decision usually arrives by post within 6 months. If the application is not successful, the applicant has a right to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal within 14 days (7 days if detained).
Can Refugees Work, Study or Claim Benefits in the UK?
Finally, if the asylum claim is successful, the asylum seeker will officially change their status to refugees. You can work, study and claim benefits in the UK.
A refugee will get a Biometric Residence Permit. This document will confirm their refugee status and the fact that they can work in the UK. Employers, landlords, banks and local authorities should also accept this document.
Can Refugees’ Family Members Join Them in the UK?
Yes, they can. Refugees may apply for a family reunion for family members. However, if they got married after the Home Office granted the application, standard rules for spouses of British citizens will apply.
You can learn how to make a visa application yourself by attending one of the UKVisaSuccess.com online courses. Get more information HERE.
You can get more information about various UK Immigration Routes HERE.