Anyone who fears persecution in their country of nationality can make a claim for asylum in the U.K. Claims for asylum and humanitarian protection are referred to under an umbrella term, ‘International Protection’.
In order to succeed with an asylum claim, an asylum claimant must be able to show that there is a real risk that they would be persecuted in their home country, either by the government, or non-government agents, and that the government would not offer them protection against persecution. Asylum claims must demonstrate persecution for reasons for one of more of the following reasons: either their race, religion, political opinion, nationality or membership of a particular social group.
An asylum claim can only be considered after someone has entered the UK. An asylum seeker is expected to claim at the earliest opportunity. Some people are able to claim asylum on entry to the UK, others claim later, because of their individual situation, or because of a change in the circumstances in their home country. Family members can either be included as dependents on an asylum claim, or can make their own individual claims.
Humanitarian Protection and Human Rights
A claim for Humanitarian Protection is considered alongside an asylum claim. Where an asylum claim cannot succeed, an asylum seeker may be granted Humanitarian Protection. This must be granted where there are still substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk of serious harm but an individual cannot be recognised as a refugee.
Consideration will also be given to potential breaches of human rights usually, whether there will be a breach of Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), though other articles of the ECHR may apply. Article 3 requires consideration as to whether removal from the UK would result in torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. Article 8 requires consideration as to whether removal would breach the asylum applicant’s right to their family and private life.
Decisions on asylum, humanitarian protection and human rights claims made in the UK are made by the UKVI which is an agency of the Home Office.
Asylum applicants should seek legal representation as soon as possible before or after making a claim for international protection. Legal Aid funding is generally available for asylum claims.
There will be an initial screening interview in which the Home Office takes the personal details of the applicant and their journey to the UK, checks if they have claimed asylum in the UK or Europe before, and gives them a reference number for their application.
The asylum interview is the next stage of the asylum process and is when the applicant gets an opportunity to describe to the case owner what has happened to them and what it is they fear in their own country.
If an asylum claim is successful the person claiming asylum will be recognised as a refugee, or they may be granted humanitarian protection. In both cases, an individual is given permission to live in the UK for 5 years before they can settle. In some cases, where there are potential human rights breaches, permission to remain may be granted on the 10-year route to settlement. A right of appeal should be given if not recognised as a refugee, or granted any other form of permission to stay in the UK.
Most asylum-seekers have a right of appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal if their claim is refused. Strict time limits apply to immigration appeals. Asylum seekers are allowed to remain in the UK while they wait for their appeal. However, some applicants do not automatically have a right to an appeal inside the UK, for example if they come from the countries that are presumed by the Home Office to produce clearly unfounded asylum claims, or if they have already claimed asylum in a safe third country. These applicants may only be allowed to make an appeal after they have been removed from the UK. It is possible to challenge decision to remove to a third country, or a clearly unfounded certificate.
Our Immigration solicitors, accredited by the Law Society, have the experience you need to support you with your asylum claim or appeal. We are always happy to discuss your individual needs when it comes to representation. If you need help with you claim for asylum and humanitarian protection, contact our expert immigration solicitors today.