Claiming Asylum and the Asylum application process
The definition of refugee for the purpose of the Refugee Convention is contained in Article 1(A)(2), as applied by the 1967 protocol.
A Refugee is a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside his country of nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear is unwilling, to avail himself of the protection of that country.
An asylum seeker is a person who claims to be a refugee but whose claim hasn’t been evaluated yet. This person would apply for asylum on the grounds that returning to his or her country of origin will lead to persecution on account of race, religion, nationality or political belief. Someone is an asylum seeker as long as the application is pending. Given that not every asylum seeker will be recognized as a refugee, it is important to note the distinction between refugee and asylum seeker. A vital part of being recognized as a refugee is the legal process through which the UK Government will determine whether the application is successful or not. The process can be lengthy and complicated and we aim to help our clients through this journey.
The UK asylum seeker system is complex and one of the challenges is to provide the evidence required to be granted protection. Many people’s claims are rejected. The initial Home Office decision making is still poor and on many occasions asylum seeker cases are allowed by the courts rather than by the Government.
Most asylum seekers are not allowed to work and are forced to rely on state support or the support of family and friends.
We draw your attention to the Home Office website which describes who may be granted asylum in the UK and how their asylum application is processed. When you go to the screening asylum interview you should bring your passport and any other document that can support your application. You must provide four unseparated passport sized photographs and print your name and date of birth on the back of each photograph.
Claiming asylum in the UK
A person who asks for asylum in the UK and is waiting for a decision is called an asylum seeker. Someone who has received a positive decision on his or her claim is a refugee. There are three types of legislation that can be used to support your asylum application in the UK.
Under the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees asylum seekers must show that they have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and are unable or unwilling to seek protection from the authorities in their own country.
It is also possible for a person to apply to remain in the UK because removing them would be in breach of their rights laid down in the 1950 European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).
The UK is also party to the European Union Asylum Qualification Directive. This has been adopted by the EU member states as part of the process of establishing a common European asylum system.
All asylum or human rights claims must be considered in light of the provisions of this Directive. When you instruct us we will assist you from the initial screening interview, in which the Home Office will ask for personal details and information on your journey to the UK, to the substantive interview, where you will be given an opportunity to describe your case and provide supporting evidence. We will also submit a Statement of Additional Grounds, instruct experts and draft representations before and after the substantive interview. The representations will explain why you satisfy the UK Immigration Rules. In the unlikely event that your application is refused, you are allowed to remain in the UK while you are waiting for your appeal. We will assist you in making an in-country appeal and Counsel will represent you in Court.