Apply for Asylum & Humanitarian Protection

Refugee Children
Refugee children are the most vulnerable

This page is dedicated to information on Refugee status and Humanitarian Protection in the UK.

Who are Refugees and asylum seekers?

Under Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 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 the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country’

An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee.

In other words, in the UK an asylum seeker is someone who has asked the Government for refugee status and is waiting to hear the outcome of their application.

What is a bogus asylum seeker?  

There is no such thing as a bogus asylum seeker or an illegal asylum seeker. As an asylum seeker, a person has entered into a legal process of refugee status determination, and every country in the world, including the UK, is responsible to consider the claim for asylum and grant protection to a genuine refugee.

In other words, everybody has a right to seek asylum in another country. People who don’t qualify for protection as refugees will not receive refugee status and may be deported, but just because someone doesn’t receive refugee status doesn’t mean they are a bogus asylum seeker.

“Let us remember that a bogus asylum-seeker is not equivalent to a criminal; and that an unsuccessful asylum application is not equivalent to a bogus one Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan”

Does the UK have more asylum seekers than most countries?

No it does not. Pakistan hosts the highest number of refugees at 1.6million. With an estimated 109,600 asylum applications, Germany was the largest recipient of new asylum claims in 2013. The United States of America was second with 84,400 asylum applications, followed by South Africa (70,000), France (60,200), and Sweden (54,300). By comparison, the UK received 23,507 new applications for asylum by the end of 2013. (Source: UNHCR 2013 Global Trends Report)

Where do asylum seekers in the UK come from?

The top ten countries of origin are as follows:

Pakistan (3,343), Iran (2,417), Sri Lanka (1,808), Syria (1,669), Eritrea (1,377), Albania (1,326), Bangladesh (1,123), Afghanistan (1,040), India (965), Nigeria (915). (Source: Home Office Asylum Data Tables January to March 2014)

What benefits do asylum seekers receive in the UK?

The majority of asylum seekers do not have the right to work in the United Kingdom and so must rely on state support. Housing is provided, but asylum seekers cannot choose where it is, and it is often ‘hard to let’ properties which Council tenants do not want to live in. Cash support is available, and is currently set at £36.62 per person, per week, which makes it £5.23 a day for food, sanitation and clothing.

What is detention?

In the UK, thousands of asylum seekers are held in immigration detention centres each year. Under the Detained Fast Track (DFT), asylum seekers are detained for the duration of their application and appeal. As a principle, UNHCR opposes the detention of people seeking asylum, and calls for the use of alternatives wherever possible.

In 2012, of 21,843 main applicants for asylum, 11.4% (2,482) applicants were detained under DFT. In 2011, 10.7% of asylum claims were accepted onto DFT.

In 2013, 203 children were detained in immigration removal centres, with 155 being under the age of 11.

(Source: Home Office Asylum Data Tables January to March 2014)

Making a claim for asylum

If you fear return to your home country you might be entitled to claim asylum and humanitarian protection in the UK. An application for asylum can be made by going to the UKVI in Croydon where you will be interviewed. In order to get asylum, you must evidence that you have a well-founded fear of persecution in your country of origin due to which you cannot return because:

there is no state protection available to you; and  that you cannot relocate to another area within your country to avoid the persecution

The feared persecution must be for one of the following reasons:

Race;  Religion;  Nationality;  Membership of a particular social group;  Political belief

Citizen Lawyer are available to offer specialist advice and representation for your claim of asylum. We are also able to challenge the refusal in in an appeal hearing at the First and the Upper Tier Tribunals.

Can the family members of refugees join them?

If you are a family member of someone who has been granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, you might be able to apply to join them (family reunion).

The following relatives are eligible to apply for family reunion:  Spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners;  Children under 18; ♠ Parents, grandparents and other dependent relatives aged 18 or over.

What is subsidiary or humanitarian protection?

Humanitarian protection can be given to people who do not meet the 1951 Convention’s legal definition of a refugee but are still in need of international protection.

Across the EU, the Qualification Directive provides subsidiary protection for those facing the following threats if returned to their country:

 the death penalty or execution;  torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or  threats from an international or internal armed conflict.

The UK uses the legal term humanitarian protection to meet this Directive, and in 2013 granted 53 people humanitarian protection. A further 540 applicants were given ‘discretionary leave to remain’, a form of temporary permission which is unlikely to be more than three years.

Read our detailed post about understanding asylum and humanitarian protection in the UK.

Contact us

For specialist legal advice and representation for a claim for asylum and humanitarian protection or appeal, book an online, phone or office consultation at the following link: