PROCEDURE FOR CLAIMING ASYLUM IN THE UK
1. Making the application
- Apply either “at port” on arrival, or “in country” at an Asylum Screening
Unit (ASU) or to an Immigration Officer if arrested/detained.
- Ensure prior to applying that you have all the information you will
require, both subjective (your personal experience) and objective (published
information about treatment of lesbian & gay people in your country) e.g. a
detailed witness statement giving an account of why you fear persecution and
the reasons for applying now and not earlier, evidence to support this e.g.
human rights reports, press articles, expert evidence, medical evidence,
country guidance cases. Arguments for release in case detained.
2. How the application is considered
- Option 1: given a Statement of Evidence Form (SEF) to complete and return
within 2 weeks.
- Option 2: interviewed about asylum claim and then released or detained (SEF-less
procedure). Note: if you claim asylum after March 2007, you will
be subject to the New Asylum Model. This means you will
not have a SEF to complete and you will be allocated a Case
Owner who is a Home Office Official responsible for your case
throughout the process.
- Option 3: detained for the claim to be processed in the Fast
days to decision, then released/detained pending appeal [Oakington].
- Option 4: detained for the claim to be processed in the Super Fast Track *
– 2 days to decision, about 6 days to appeal hearing [Harmondsworth/Yarls Wood].
3. Possible Outcomes
- Outcome 1: granted Refugee Status for 5 years.
- Outcome 2: granted Humanitarian Protection for 5 years.
- Outcome 3: granted Discretionary Leave for 3 + 3 years.
- Outcome 4: refused – with a right of appeal in the UK.
- Outcome 5: refused – no right of appeal until after removal, i.e.
certified cases [remedy is Judical Review, i.e. application to the High Court].
- Appeal Outcome 1: appeal allowed.
- Appeal Outcome 2: appeal dismissed – no material error of law made by judge.
- Appeal Outcome 3: appeal dismissed – can apply for a review if there is a material error of law. If this is granted will have a Reconsideration Appeal Hearing.
- Appeal Outcome 4: Reconsideration Appeal dismissed – can appeal to Court of Appeal on a material point of law only.
5. Legal Aid
- This is available if a person does not have sufficient
funds to pay for a solicitor privately.
- Legal Aid solicitors have very strict limits to Legal Aid spending.
- They will only agree to continue if they think there is more
than a 50% chance of success, as there is a merits test to satisfy.
- Client has a right to appeal a solicitors decision to stop
funding a case via legal aid (using CW4 form).
- Client must tell Appeal Court that he/she is not ready if they have been unable to get representation, but must show that they have tried.
6. Survivors of Torture
- Must not be detained and should always be referred to the Medical Foundation (for the care of victims of torture).
- If MF agrees to assess, then case is automatically taken out of Fast Track.
[There are several routes by which a torture survivor
might arrive at the MF. Those who have recently fled to Britain are
likely to be referred by one of three main front-line agencies that try
to smooth the path for new asylum seekers - the Refugee Council, the
Refugee Arrivals Project or Migrant Helpline, each of which liaises
closely with members of the MF's Early Intervention Team, which identifies those
needing dedicated help. The team also sees those who refer themselves. Doctors,
community mental health teams and refugee community organisations also refer
cases. Immigration lawyers send asylum applicants who, to support their claim,
need documentation, by way of an official medico-legal report, of the torture
they have suffered, and its lasting effects.
- Home Office figures for 2006 showed that 99% of initial decisions in the
Super Fast Track* at Harmondsworth were refused.
- You or your solicitor should ask the judge to adjourn and/or have your
case taken out of the fast track/super fast track if there are “exeptional
- See 'Working against the clock: inadequacy and injustice in the fast track
system' published by BID, July 2006.