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Asylum Seekers In The UK: How Long Can They Stay

There is a great deal of misinformation out there on asylum seekers in the UK, what support they’re entitled to from the state, and how long they’re able to stay in the country. Here, we dispel some of the myths and clarify exactly what people seeking asylum in Great Britain can expect.

Newcastle Lawyers offer bespoke specialist immigration legal services to those seeking asylum in the UK. Contact our expert team today on 0191 303 8965 to discuss your case.

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    How Long Can Asylum Seekers Stay In The UK?

    The asylum claim process in the UK takes on average six months from application to decision, although the exact duration of the process depends on the individual circumstances involved for the individual and (where applicable) their family.

    Once an asylum claim has been filed, all named applicants on the claim are entitled to stay in the UK during the processing period, as well as during the processing period for any appeals.

    This includes the ‘fresh asylum claim’ process, where new information pertaining to a previously declined claim has come to light and so the asylum claim will be reconsidered.

    It is imperative that those seeking asylum file their claim as quickly as they can once they have arrived in the UK. Most asylum seekers initiate the legal process at the border with relevant immigration authorities, but if the individual is already in the country they must file as soon as they are able.

    Where an asylum decision has been made negatively and the applicant has no further rights to appeal, they may face removal from the UK.

    Where this is the case, the Home Office must provide notice of their intention for removal.

    In most instances, the period between formal notification and the intended date of removal is seven calendar days for those not in detention. Where an applicant has been detained, the notice period is usually 72 hours – but this must include two working days, with at least the last 24 hours including a working day.

    In asylum cases where non-suspensive appeals are taking place, a minimum of five working days notice must be given before administration removal of the declined applicant.

    The same period applies in cases of charter flight removals. In both of these instances, legal support will be required for the asylum applicant. Contact Newcastle Lawyers as early as possible to discuss your circumstances on 0191 303 8965.

    There is a common misconception that administrative removal from the country is the same as deportation, but it is in fact a separate process.

    Where an asylum decision has been reached and the applicant has been granted refugee status or is eligible for humanitarian protection, they will be permitted to remain in the UK for a period of at least five years.

    If the asylum seeker is granted leave to remain for other reasons, the duration of their permitted stay will be dependent on the circumstances of their individual case.

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      Overview of the initial decision-making process

      During the processing period of an asylum claim, the applicant is entitled to remain in the country. This includes the processing period for any appeals or the ‘fresh asylum claim’ process thereafter.

      Every case is different and will be judged on its merits, but on average the Home Office say they take around six months on this initial decision-making process.

      First, the asylum seeker must file their claim at an ‘asylum screening’. Most asylum seekers do this at the border as they enter the UK, but if already present in the country it must be done as soon as possible.

      At this screening, the reasons for asylum and/or filing for humanitarian protection must be explained, and all relevant documentation presented. The Home Office may choose to detain applicants at this point, but if not, they will be issued with an ARC (Asylum Registration Card) to demonstrate their status.

      A decision will be made on where the case for asylum will be heard at the initial screening – it may be in the UK or in a designated ‘safe country’ (this is a territory in which the applicant is not a citizen, not at risk of harm and not likely to be removed to another state where they would be at harm).

      If the case for asylum is to be heard in the UK, an asylum interview with a Home Office caseworker will be arranged as soon as possible. The asylum seeker should take with them as much proof as possible to this interview and will usually be expected to attend it alone or only with a legal advisor. This interview can be quite distressing in some cases as the persecution faced by the applicant in their home country will have to be discussed at length.

      The caseworker will take thorough notes throughout to form a record of the interview, which will be passed on to decision makers within the Home Office. A copy of this record will be provided to the asylum seeker.

      The Home Office decision-making process takes on average six months after the asylum interview; but may be quicker or longer dependent on the personal circumstances of the person applying for asylum.

      The applicant will be notified of the decision made by letter and/or by phone call, and in some cases the decision will be delivered directly to their legal representative.

      If asylum is declined, the seeker may hold appeal rights and will be able to stay in the UK while such appeals are being filed and worked through.

      Asylum Is Denied: How Long Can Asylum Seekers Stay?

      Refused asylum seekers will be asked to leave the UK. Where not granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or other reason to remain, the applicant will be given a notice period within which time they must file an appeal (if applicable).

      Where there is no appeal to be made or an asylum appeal is unsuccessful, the applicant will have to leave the UK.

      They can either choose to leave by themselves, with some help available including financial support toward the purchase of travel tickets and support through a passport application service, or be forced to leave.

      If refused asylum seekers have not left voluntarily after the notice period expires, they may be detained at an immigration removal centre, with no warning made or notice given.

      Once an individual has been detained, the notice period for removal is usually 72 hours, including a period of two working days for any legal intervention to be allowed to take place.

      If refused asylum seekers have not been detained, they will be served notice of their intended removal from the country. This formal notification usually forms a notice period of seven days.

      Asylum Granted: Options To Stay Longer In The UK

      Where an applicant has successfully claimed asylum, they will be granted an immigration status that permits them at least temporary residence in the UK.

      Asylum applicants granted either refugee status or humanitarian protection rights will be given permission to stay in the country for a minimum period of five years, with the exact duration dependent on the individual’s circumstances.

      The definition of a refugee is set under the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention and applies worldwide.

      After the five-year period, the applicant can apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain. Leave to remain is also known as settlement and allows the holder to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

      If the Home Office decides to grant permission to stay for other reasons that do not qualify under the definition for refugee or humanitarian protection, the duration the individual will be able to stay in the country depends on the individual case and can vary. After this period ends, the applicant may be able to apply for an extension of their immigration status, or, in some cases, apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain in the UK.

      Indefinite Leave To Remain

      An asylum seeker who has been granted a stay in the UK for a fixed time period usually has this done so with the intention of being able to return to their home country once their situation has settled and been made safe. However, should they wish to, and they meet the eligibility criteria, they may apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain in the UK.

      Those holding refugee status, those who are settled under humanitarian protection rights and those in the UK on Discretionary Leave are usually eligible to apply, along with their immediate family members. If successful, they all may live, work and study in the country, claim benefits where appropriate and apply for British citizenship.

      Applying for Indefinite Leave To Remain is free for those present in the UK under a protective status (as well as their partner and child/ren), or £2,885 for each applicant present under Discretionary Leave.

      The application processing usually takes around 6 months. Often the application is simply an administrative process, but in some cases an asylum seeker will be required to provide further information or attend a screening interview.

      Indefinite Leave To Remain status will be revoked if the holder ever travels back to the country they sought asylum from in their initial claim.

      If the application for Indefinite Leave To Remain is refused, the asylum seeker may still be able to stay in the country under a protective status. In this case, the letter sent to the applicant will explain which status they’ve been offered in place of standard Indefinite Leave To Remain.

      How Our Immigration Solicitors Can Help You

      Newcastle Lawyers are a leading immigration specialists who work to find justice for those seeking safety in the UK. No matter how complex your case, our team will be able to offer support. Give our office a call today for a free chat with no obligation to proceed on 0191 303 8965.

      The Newcastle Lawyers team can offer support, guidance and advice at any stage of the asylum application or appeals process. As the UK’s leading team of immigration solicitors, we are OISC Accredited and have had over 5,000 asylum applications approved thus far. Our expertise spans both the asylum application process and processing bail for those detained in an immigration centre. We understand how time critical such actions can be and how stressful the situations are – and that’s why we work quickly and keep all of our communication in plain English without jargon (or via an interpreter) at all times

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                Related pages for your continued reading.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                The definition of refugee is set as a ‘person who has fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and has crossed an international border to find safety in another country’.

                Deportation is the process used to remove those convicted of a serious criminal offence from the country. Administrative removal is the removal of those who have intended to claim asylum in the UK but have been unsuccessful in doing so.

                Those claiming asylum or undergoing an asylum appeals process are not allowed to claim mainstream welfare benefits in the UK – and are usually banned from working to generate an income while here. Some asylum support is available through the provision of temporary accommodation and basic living expenses, but these are not vast. There is a misconception that those undergoing asylum claims are able to claim benefits, but this is untrue.

                The Illegal Migration Act 2023 came into force in 2023 and brings about changes to the asylum system for arrivals on or after 20th July 2023. If you’re unsure whether or not such changes apply to you, specialist legal advice should be sought.

                Newcastle Lawyers can give support and advice on all immigration law – as well as how the new Illegal Migration Act may impact you. Give our team a call on 0191 303 8965 to discuss your circumstances.

                No. Asylum seekers are not permitted to work or generate any income while in the UK undergoing the asylum claims process.

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