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Claiming asylum in the UK

April 15, 2018 223

To claim asylum a person must be in the UK. They could be in the UK either on a current visa or in a different way, and they may have just come to the UK or come to the UK some time previously. They may claim asylum on the basis that if they had to return to their home country they would be killed, tortured, mistreated or unfairly imprisoned. There could be different reasons for such feared persecution: for example ethnicity, politics, religion or sexual orientation.

In many (but not all) cases the feared persecution might come from the Government or Government agencies, the police or the courts.

The asylum claim must be made to the Home Office. The Home Office will interview the applicant and make a decision on their claim. If the claim is granted the applicant will become a refugee and they will be given five years leave in this capacity. Eventually they may qualify for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) and ultimately British citizenship.

If the Home Office believes that the applicant does not exactly meet the requirements for refugee status but that their case is nevertheless compelling they may instead be granted Humanitarian Protection, under human rights principles. A grant of Humanitarian Protection works in a similar way to a grant of refugee leave and can similarly lead to settlement and ultimately British citizenship.

However, if the application is refused by the Home Office the applicant will in many cases have an in-country right of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal. The Tribunal has the power to overturn the Home Office’s refusal decision and direct the Home Office to grant leave to the applicant.

Asylum claims are complex and they require a professional approach.

Family Reunion

If an applicant is successful in their asylum application and becomes a refugee their close family members (spouse or partner, children under the age of 18) may apply to join them in the UK under the Family Reunion rules. The family member must have been a family member of the applicant before the applicant left the home country.

However, if the applicant acquires British citizenship then the Family Reunion route is no longer possible.

Fresh Claims

If an applicant’s asylum application has been refused and no appeal is pending there is the possibility that the applicant can submit a “fresh claim”, which is like a new asylum claim.

However, a fresh claim must be significantly different from the previous claim. It might, for example, be based on different facts, facts that have only recently happened or new evidence.

If the Home Office accept that it is a new claim then they will treat it as a new asylum claim, and make a new decision about the fresh claim.

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