Asylum is the term given to the protection given by one country to a person who has been forced to flee their country because of persecution. This right to apply for asylum is given by the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951.

In the UK further protections have been afforded under the European Convention of Human Rights, which prevents member states deporting someone if ‘there is a real risk that they will be exposed to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.

Call us if you are seeking asylum in the UK and you wish you instruct a specialist immigration lawyer to help you through the application process.

What does it mean to ‘seek asylum’?

A person who flees their country of origin because of persecution in that country and seeks the protection of the UK government is known as a refugee or a person seeking asylum. The reason for the persecution must come within one of five reasons set out in international law. The reasons are:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership of a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Furthermore, the asylum seeker must:

  • Not be able to seek protection in the country where they are from
  • Not be able to live safely in the country where they are from
  • Not have come to the UK via another safe country where they could have sought asylum

People also have Human Rights in the UK and can claim that their removal from the UK would mean that these Human Rights are breached. Examples of these legal rights are:

  • A right to life
  • A right to freedom from torture

How do I make an application?

If you would like to claim asylum you should contact the UK Border Agency to arrange an appointment at their asylum screening unit. You will also be able to make an application for any dependants at the same time as your application.

It is important to note that whilst your application for asylum is being processed you have certain rights and responsibilities. For example, you will not normally be allowed to work, although you may be entitled to help with housing and living costs.

You will however have free access to the National Health Service. In return you will be required to stay in constant contact with the UK Border Agency and obey the laws of the UK.

An application for asylum is free, however much of a claim for asylum is based on the Home Office or an Immigration Judge's opinion that you are telling the truth. If you are not believed it is often because of discrepancies in your version of events. It is only possible to make one claim for asylum unless there have been significant changes in your circumstances. It is therefore paramount that you get it right first time.

What if my application is refused?

Following your application there are two possible outcomes:

  • You are granted asylum; if this is the case you and your dependants will be allowed to remain in the UK for an initial period of five years.
  • Your application is refused; if this is the case you and your dependants will be expected to leave subject to your right of appeal or any other humanitarian reasons.

Using an Immigration Solicitor will mean that the proper documentation is submitted to the Home Office within the strict time limit set by the Home Office. They will also be able to give you advice on what will happen in interviews with the Home Office and whether you can appeal against decisions. This will reduce the chance of your application being refused by the Home Office.

For more information see our FAQ page for asylum seekers.

Do you need to make an application for asylum in the UK, or has your initial application been refused and you wish to use a solicitor to file an appeal? Contact Law works with immigration lawyers who are specialised in asylum cases and can increase your chances of a successful application. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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