The United Kingdom has a long history of welcoming those in need of sanctuary and offering a safe place in which it’s possible to rebuild a life in, but it is important to understand the complex legal process of the UK asylum system and when you may need help navigating through it.
The UK affords many rights to those seeking asylum from the danger they have been forced to flee and it is important you are made aware of the support you may be entitled to, as well as the limitations and recent rule changes to the asylum system in the UK.
Protection from Persecution
The most common reason people seek asylum is due to persecution in their home country. The UK offers protection and support for those who have made the decision to seek refuge, as well as legal protection against deportation, ensuring no one will be returned to a country they may face further persecution, violence, or other serious danger.
This legal protection is a fundamental safeguard in providing a secure sanctuary for those in search of an environment they can begin to rebuild a life in.
Regardless, it is important to be aware of the recent Illegal Migration Bill, which increases the likelihood of facing deportation for those entering the country unlawfully or via another safe nation in pursuit of asylum in the UK, potentially leading to repatriation to either their country of origin or another country deemed safe for those fleeing danger.
The espoused intention of this legislation is in deterrence for those crossing the English channel in unsafe boats and to rather seek legal means of coming to the UK to have their asylum claims processed. It grants stricter powers to detain and remove those who have been found to not be properly respecting the immigration system.
While the UK is a developed nation that has taken in, as of November 2022, 231,597 refugees along with a further 127,421 pending claims for asylum according to the UNHCR, you should be aware of these new rules and its ramifications for asylum seekers.
You may contact Newcastle Immigration Lawyers online or at 0191 303 8965 for assistance with if these updates to the law may affect your plans to seek asylum in the UK.
Another factor that will determine an asylum seeker’s quality of life is what level of healthcare they are entitled to. In the UK, people seeking asylum have the same full access to the National Health Service (NHS) as anyone else with ‘ordinary residency’ status, starting right from the application process.
This means being entitled to visits to a General Practitioner (GP), emergency hospital treatments, maternity services, and other essential means of care without having to pay any fees. Support providing free prescriptions, dental care, eye tests, and assistance paying for glasses is also available for asylum seekers and those with refugee status.
In order to receive care you must first register at your local GP surgery. You will still be able to receive primary, and possibly secondary, health care even if your application is rejected, though your level of access may not be as comprehensive as someone with refugee status.
Depending on certain circumstances, asylum seekers may also be able to receive support for mental health including psychological care for victims of trauma and torture.
If you need assistance with your application to your local GP including translation services or need extra information on what level of healthcare you may expect by seeking asylum in the UK, please contact us online or by phone on 0191 303 8965.
Potential for Refugee Status
Claiming asylum in the UK, if one is eligible through not being able to return to their home country due to fear of persecution, has the potential to gain refugee status for the person or family in need of protection. You must apply inside the UK and can claim along with your partner and any children under 18.
After attending a meeting as part of your claim for asylum along with providing the necessary documentation, the Home Office will decide whether to accept or refuse your application.
If you are refused you may appeal the decision or ‘humanitarian protection’ could rather be granted. There are also some benefits you may apply for while you figure out the next step of your process.
You will be granted refugee status upon your application being accepted, with this granting the ability to stay in the UK for at least 5 years where you may work, study, receive welfare benefits, and generally enjoy the life most people who live in the UK do. This may include bringing dependents through applying for a family reunion visa. After the 5 years you will have the possibility of permanent settlement or indefinite leave to remain.
Refugees are legally protected from deportation and generally have many of the same rights as any natural-born UK citizen including protection from discrimination and hate crime. They are also eligible to apply for a refugee travel document, permitting travel abroad from the UK.
There are various schemes in place to provide housing and financial support for those seeking asylum in the UK in order to satisfy essential living needs.
Those awaiting a decision for their asylum claim may apply for section 95 support, which obliges the Home Office to support with providing housing and a weekly subsistence allowance of £47.39 with extra being given to cover such things as maternity costs. Pregnant mothers can also claim a one-time £300 maternity grant per child.
While the application for this type of support is pending, emergency support for those considered destitute can be given through section 98 support in order to provide some means of accommodation. A destitution test will usually be conducted to ensure the claimant does not in fact have access to adequate accommodation or the ability to provide essential living needs for themselves.
Section 4 support is also available for those who have had their asylum claims rejected with no further means of appeal and are demonstrably struggling to leave the country. This is usually the same amount as section 95 support.
Organisations such as The British Red Cross are also available to provide further financial and psychological help.
For further assistance with understanding which type of support may be the most useful for your situation, contact our experienced team online or by phone on 0191 303 8965.
In the UK, children seeking asylum are entitled to the same educational rights as any other child in the country, with full-time education being provided from the ages of 5-18, though university tuition fees may be charged at an international rate if refugee status has not yet been gained.
Despite this, there may still be grants and scholarships awarded to asylum seekers looking to study for a degree during their time in the UK.
The access to education is a fundamental component of rebuilding a fulfilling and sustainable life for a family, as well as developing a deeper proficiency of the language and culture in order to further integrate into the British community.
Child asylum seekers will be obliged to attend school and may receive free school meals as an extra form of support. The right to a chance of a fulfilling and successful life for all children is a key benefit to claiming asylum in the UK.
The United Kingdom has a rich history that attracts many other different cultures around the world to begin establishing a community of their own in various parts of the country. Amnesty International in fact regards the UK as one of the most welcoming populations for refugees in the world.
This not only provides easier access to a reliable support network for those who may have also fled persecution or be from a similar culture, but may expedite the process of integrating into British culture itself.
This inclusive environment facilitates a smoother transition, as individuals find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their pursuit of a new chapter in the UK.
If you require legal support with claiming asylum in the UK or need help with how to gain the financial support you may be entitled to as an asylum seeker, Newcastle Immigration Lawyers are here to serve your individual circumstances and help set you on the path to a safe residency in the UK.
We provide a vast range of support, including legal assistance with detained casework, family reunion applications, and the asylum application or appeals process. The rules surrounding seeking asylum are constantly changing and professional help is best advised to ensure you can navigate the delicate process safely and successfully.
Our experienced team will check all your documentation before applications are submitted and assist you with the general process of gaining refugee status and with it the chance to hopefully rebuild a better life somewhere new.
Contact us via Skype, on the phone on 0191 303 8965, or visit us in our office in Newcastle.
Last modified on November 21st, 2023 at 11:08 am
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You generally cannot switch directly from seeking asylum to gaining a UK Worker visa such as the Skilled Worker visa. You may only apply for this visa after you gain refugee status.
It is important to also note you may work as an asylum seeker after 12 months of waiting for a decision on your application.
Generally online those granted refugee status may bring their family over to the UK by applying for the family reunion process once the asylum claim has been accepted. Those still awaiting a decision may have more trouble bringing dependents to the UK.
Newcastle Immigration Lawyers will be able to assist with family reunion applications and appeals.
Asylum seekers do not typically have the right to rent, though you will be able to claim section 95 support to be able to assist with accommodation and support to help buy food and other living requirements.
Once refugee status has been granted, you will be given more freedom to choose where to live, but will no longer receive section 95 financial and housing support and as such will have to ask for further government help to assist with living costs.
This will vary hugely from one individual case to the next but it’s important to note that there have been reports of substandard or unsanitary accommodation provided by Home Office support, particularly in cases of initial emergency temporary housing given under section 98 or 95 support.
Often you will have no means of choosing another means of accommodation while your asylum claim is still being processed, though it is important to note this will not be the case for every asylum seeker.
Despite this you will still be guaranteed some form of protection from being left homeless, and once refugee status is granted you will be able to receive government support to assist with choosing wherever you and your family would affordably like to live.