Asylum is often in the headlines and is a very emotive subject. When seeking asylum it helps to have a steady hand to steer through what is almost always a very trying and stressful time. The UK has a long history of accepting asylum seekers; however, laws continue to change and become increasingly complex, which is why it helps to secure the services of an immigration solicitor in London, such as Saracens Solicitors, who is experienced in dealing with cases of asylum.
What is asylum?
In the UK, asylum is defined as the protection of those fleeing persecution in their own country. As well as coming under the remit of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1951, the UK is also signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights. The latter makes it illegal for the UK Home Office to return an individual to their home country if they are at risk of being tortured or subjected to other inhumane treatment.
The asylum process
Claiming asylum in the UK should be done as soon as possible. Either as soon as the applicant arrives in the UK or as soon as they believe themselves to be in danger if they return to their home country.
The initial stage is a screening with an immigration officer. A photo of the applicant will be taken, along with their fingerprints. Questions will then be asked to ascertain the identity of the applicant, where they come from and why they are applying for asylum.
Next the applicant is assigned a case worker who will interview them and make a decision on their case. During the interview the applicant can bring along legal representation, such as an immigration solicitor in London. The decision on their case usually takes around six months, during which time the applicant will be instructed on what to do. This may involve regular meetings with their case worker.
If successful at obtaining asylum, applicants will be given leave to remain in the UK for five years. After this time they can apply to settle in the UK, when an immigration solicitor in London can again be of use.