Requirements for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery Applications

This article fully explores the UK immigration route for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery and is divided into three parts for easier navigation. This section is part three. You can continue reading with part one HERE and part two HERE.

Meeting the Validity Requirements when Extending Applications

To begin, it’s essential that you understand the validity requirements for extending your permission to stay. These requirements are your first step to securing an extension and continuing your journey towards recovery and stability in the UK.

Confirming Your Victim Status

Requirements for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery Applications
Requirements for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery Applications

Your journey starts with confirming your status as a victim. You should receive recognition as a modern slavery victim with a positive conclusive grounds decision. This acknowledgment is crucial as it forms the foundation of your application for an extension.

The Importance of Having Permission to Stay

Alongside confirming your victim status, you should already have been granted permission to stay in the UK, either as a victim of modern slavery or as a dependent child of a victim. This initial permission is a prerequisite for seeking an extension.

Filling Out the Right Form

When you’re ready to apply, you’ll need to ensure you’re using the correct application form. Look for the FLR (HRO) form on the website.

Paying the Required Fee

Part of the application process involves paying any necessary fees associated with your extension request. While discussing fees might seem upfront, it’s a standard part of ensuring that the UKVI processes your application smoothly. It is possible to get a fee waiver, if you meet the requirements.

The Importance of Being Present

Your presence in the UK is non-negotiable when applying for VTS. This rule ensures that decisions are made based on your current situation and needs while you’re within the safety of the UK’s jurisdiction.

What Defines a Child in VTS Applications?

When it comes to VTS applications, a “child” refers to someone under 18 years of age. If you’re a parent who’s either applying for VTS or already has permission to stay due to being a victim of modern slavery, your child may be eligible for VTS too. Here’s what you need to know:

Applying Together

If you’re applying for VTS, it’s possible to include your child in your application. The key is that you, as a confirmed victim of modern slavery, are the child’s parent. Your child needs to be under 18 at the time of application. Don’t worry if your child turns 18 while the application is being processed; they will still be considered under the child criteria.

Public Safety and Documentation

Your child’s application won’t be successful if they pose a threat to public order. Additionally, for children born in the UK, you’ll need to provide a full British birth certificate and ensure the child is in the UK when applying.

Including your UK-born child in your application before a VTS decision treats them as any dependent child, preventing limbo.

Regularising Stay for UK Born Children

For UK born children not included in the initial claim, or born after you’re granted VTS, there’s a straightforward process to regularise their stay. This involves requesting leave in line, with no charge involved. It’s crucial to provide a full British birth certificate with your request.

This process ensures that while the child’s presence in the UK isn’t unlawful, they are recognised and protected under UK immigration policies.

Considering Children of Different Nationalities

If only one parent has VTS and the child has a different nationality, individual consideration is given to the application. This ensures fairness and attention to the unique circumstances of each family.

Recovery Needs: Physical and Psychological Harm

When assessing your eligibility for VTS, the focus is on whether you have suffered physical harm that has caused trauma or psychological harm that has led to mental or emotional distress. The criteria also consider whether you need support through the National Referral Mechanism or other services to assist in your recovery. Importantly, the support doesn’t need to ensure full recovery but should aid in addressing the needs that have arisen due to exploitation.

Evidence and Treatment Considerations

If you’re seeking VTS based on your need for assistance with physical or psychological harm, you might need to provide evidence from a registered healthcare professional. This evidence should indicate that you need or are receiving treatment. However, the decision to grant VTS doesn’t solely rely on whether the treatment has started or the quality of care available in your home country. The key is whether continuing treatment in the UK is necessary for your recovery journey and whether similar support can be accessed elsewhere.

In essence, if the support you require for recovery is available in your home country or a country you can be safely returned to, staying in the UK may not be deemed necessary. The focus is on ensuring that the support you receive genuinely aids in your recovery process, without the expectation of identical treatment levels compared to the UK. It’s about finding the right environment to support your healing process, whether in the UK or elsewhere, ensuring you receive the care and support you need to move forward.

Seeking Treatment and Support Abroad

Assessing Treatment Availability

When you’re in the midst of seeking support for recovery, understanding where and how you can access treatment is paramount. In the guidance, the Home Office suggest that whether or not treatment has started, the applicants should consider the support available to their in their home country and any other relevant country. This becomes crucial, especially in cases involving agreements between the UK and other nations.

No Need for Comparable Treatment

According to the Immigration Rules, the key is not to seek out a mirror image of the treatment you’re receiving in the UK. Instead, focus on ensuring that any ongoing treatment isn’t interrupted to the point where it hinders your recovery. The goal is continuity and ensuring that the treatment you access contributes positively to your well-being.

Evaluating the Impact on Recovery

Furthermore, it’s essential to take a close look at how transitioning your care might affect your recovery. Ask yourself if the treatment you’ve begun is at such a critical phase that moving could disrupt your progress. Also, consider the prognosis and how vital the current treatment phase is to your overall recovery.

Making the Decision to Stay or Return

Requirements for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery Applications
Requirements for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery Applications

The decision to extend your stay in the UK hinges on a simple yet profound question: Is the support you need readily available upon your return? If your recovery needs can be adequately met back home, according to the Home Office, staying in the UK might not be necessary. It’s all about balancing your immediate health requirements with the broader picture of your recovery journey.

Seeking Compensation Claims

You also have the right to seek compensation for the exploitation you’ve endured. Pursuing a compensation claim abroad doesn’t guarantee that you will get a permission to stay in the UK, but in some cases you may successfully argue that you’ll need to stay in the UK to finalise such a claim.

When applying for permission to stay for the purpose of seeking compensation, it’s important to demonstrate that your presence in the UK is necessary for the legal proceedings. Factors such as the grounds of your claim, the likelihood of success, and the overall duration of the court process will play a crucial role in this assessment.

You can get up to 12 months of permission to stay for compensation claims, giving victims a clear timeframe to work within.

Determining the Length of Your Stay

When it comes to the length of your stay in the UK, several factors come into play, particularly if you’re recovering from psychological or physical harm, or if you’re assisting public authorities. Normally, you’ll get your permission to stay for up to 30 months. This period allows for necessary treatment and support during your recovery and to assist in any public investigations. Pursuing a compensation claim may grant you VTS for up to 12 months, depending on your case details.

What Influences Your Stay Duration?

Several critical considerations determine how long you can stay:

  • The treatment duration and the time it takes to access the necessary support, especially if you’re on a waiting list.
  • The availability and necessity of treatment in your country of origin versus the UK.
  • The requested period by public authorities or police to aid in investigations.
  • The expected timeframe for any compensation claims to be resolved.

It’s about balancing your need for treatment and assistance against the resources available in your home country or another country you might return to.

Special Considerations for Children

The UKVI handles children’s cases with extra care, prioritising their best interests. Consider factors such as the child’s UK residence length, birthplace, and the impact of their stay type on wellbeing. Generally, up to 30 months of VTS suits, but the child’s specific needs or circumstances may warrant exceptions.

When a Longer Stay Might Be Necessary

In exceptional cases, you might qualify for a stay longer than the standard 30 months. This could be due to compelling compassionate reasons or when it’s in a child’s best interest. These situations require a detailed review and approval by a senior caseworker. If your case involves a child, both you and the child may need to provide evidence showing why a longer stay is justified.

Rights and Conditions During Your Stay

VTS grants specific rights and conditions:

  • You get access to public funds and work rights, helping you rebuild your life in the UK.
  • You can also pursue higher education, though some restrictions apply. For instance, you might need approval for certain subjects under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS).

Understanding Cancellation of Stay in the UK

There are two main reasons why the Home Office might consider cancelling your permission to stay:

  1. Public Order: If there’s a belief that your presence in the UK could pose a threat to public order, your stay may be reviewed.
  2. Bad Faith Claims: If it’s determined that a claim of being a victim of slavery or human trafficking was made in bad faith—meaning it wasn’t genuine or was misleading—you might also face cancellation of your stay.

The Review Process

Should there be concerns regarding your stay, they’ll refer your to a competent authority. This authority is tasked with reviewing your situation based on the Modern Slavery Guidance, specifically focusing on disqualification for reasons of public order or bad faith. Their review is thorough and considers all available information before making a decision.

What Happens if Disqualified?

If a review disqualifies you for public order reasons or bad faith claims, the UKVI may cancel your permission to stay in the UK. This is a significant decision, underscoring the importance of honesty and the potential consequences of posing a threat to public safety.

Understanding the Process of Stay Cancellation in the UK

The Responsibility of Proof

The Home Office holds the responsibility to prove any grounds for cancellation. This means they need to demonstrate that you no longer meet the requirements set out when your permission was granted.

How Proof is Assessed

The proof must meet the “balance of probabilities” standard. In simpler terms, it must be more likely than not that the reasons for cancellation are valid. The Home Office have to clearly state why they made a decision to cancel your permission to stay. They’ll need to present evidence to support their claim.

Your Opportunity to Respond

Normally, you can present your case before a final decision to argue against cancelling your permission to stay in the UK. If you provide your reasons, the Home Office must take these into account, along with any evidence you offer, before making their decision.

The Process of Cancelling Your Stay

If the Home Office makes the decision to cancel your Temporary Permission to Stay, they’ll send you the decision letter will the reasons. It will explain why you no longer meet the conditions of your stay and provide specific reasons based on the evidence reviewed.

Timing of Cancellation

Deciding when your permission is cancelled is another crucial step. The cancellation might not always take effect immediately. Sometimes, cancellation is delayed to let ongoing cooperation with Public Authorities finish. This approach ensures fairness and consideration of your circumstances.

Requesting a Reconsideration

You can request a reconsideration of your stay permission decision if you believe the initial judgment was not in line with immigration rules or policies.  It’s essential to be in the UK when making this request. This opportunity also applies if your application was successful but you believe there’s a mistake with the type or expiry date of your granted permission.

How to Request Reconsideration

Should you disagree with the refusal of your VTS application or find the length of the leave granted unsatisfactory, you can request a reconsideration within 14 days of receiving the decision. This process involves contacting the Competent Authorities, typically through an email to the decision-making unit. The decision-maker will include the details in your refusal letter, providing a straightforward way to initiate your reconsideration.

Submitting New Evidence

If new evidence emerges that could impact your VTS application, you can request reconsideration each time this new information is presented. This step is crucial for ensuring that the decision-maker considers all relevant facts of your case.

What Happens Next?

Upon receiving your reconsideration request, the reviewing body may ask for additional supporting evidence to better understand your situation. Once the Home Office reviews your case, they’ll inform you of the outcome. If the decision changes in your favour, the UKVI will process your permission to stay anew, just like a first-time application or an extension, depending on what’s applicable.

Deciding to Withdraw Your Application

Sometimes, after starting the process for Temporary Permission to Stay in the UK, you might decide it’s not the path you wish to continue on. Whether it’s a change of circumstances or a different decision about your future, withdrawing your application is a step you can take. You can do this at any point after you’ve received the current circumstance questionnaire from the Competent Authorities or if you choose to step back from the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) process entirely.

How to Withdraw Your Application

To formally withdraw your application, you’ll need to complete a specific form provided by the authorities. Once you’ve signed and returned this form, the Home Office will officially recognise your withdrawal.

Implications of Withdrawing Your Application

It’s crucial to understand the consequences of withdrawing your application. If you don’t have another form of legal right to remain in the UK, such as a separate ongoing application for leave to remain, you may be liable for removal from the country. It’s important to consider all your options and the status of any other applications you may have before deciding to withdraw.

Financial Considerations

If you’ve paid an application fee for your VTS application and decide to withdraw, you might not be eligible for a refund. The policies around immigration and nationality refunds provide further guidance on this matter.

Implicit Withdrawals

An implicit withdrawal occurs if you leave the UK without having secured VTS and without official permission to do so. Leaving before a final decision withdraws your case, requiring no further decisions. Obtain written permission for CTA travel to keep VTS eligibility.

Applying for Further Grants of Temporary Permission to Stay

Starting Your Application

Applying for an extension of your Temporary Permission to Stay (VTS) is a step you might consider if you’re recovering from the effects of modern slavery. Fortunately, if you’re looking to extend your stay for up to a total of 30 months, and you haven’t reached this limit yet, you won’t have to pay any fees for this application. This applies whether you’re still within your initial VTS period or applying for an additional grant to reach the 30-month threshold.

Completing the Application Form

If you’re applying for an extension based on recovery from physical or psychological harm, or if you’re in the process of pursuing compensation, you’ll need to fill out the form FLR(HRO). Additionally, if you’re assisting with a public authority’s investigation or criminal proceedings related to your exploitation, either you or the police can request an extension on your behalf.

Extension Criteria

The UKV usually grants extensions for no more than 30 months at a time, focusing on aiding your recovery or assisting public authorities. If you’re seeking compensation, the extension can be for up to 12 months. Remember, you should submit your application before your current permission expires, to avoid any complications with your stay.

Timing Your Extension Application

It’s best to apply for your extension no more than 28 days before your current VTS is due to expire. This helps ensure a smooth transition without any gaps in your permission to stay.

Fee Waiver Requests

If you’re in a position where paying the application fee would cause financial hardship, you can request a fee waiver online. This request should demonstrate that you’re either destitute or at imminent risk of destitution. The welfare of any children involved will also be a key consideration in the fee waiver process.

Requirements for Victims of Human Trafficking and Slavery Applications