Under the terms of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the UK has a legal responsibility to grant sanctuary to those fleeing persecution due to their religion, race, nationality, or political affiliation that is enshrined within international law.
This along with its 1967 protocol outlined the rights that must be provided to asylum seekers and refugees, namely not deporting anyone who may be returning to an unsafe country they will face further persecution in.
During this tumultuous period, it becomes especially difficult to navigate a notoriously complex process aimed at establishing long-term stability in a foreign land, which is why it’s crucial to learn in advance about the responsibilities you must uphold in order to ensure your journey through the system to gain refugee status is as efficient and seamless as possible.
Aside from the right to claim for asylum from fear of persecution, anyone attempting to gain refugee status in the UK is also typically entitled to a number of other important services and asylum benefits.
The most important for many may well be access to section 95 support as an asylum seeker, which will provide £47.39 per week as a subsistence allowance in order to afford essential living needs (with extra available in cases such as pregnancy), as well as housing. This must be applied for upon claiming for asylum and could take up to a number of months regarding hearing a response.
Though asylum seekers are not ordinarily entitled to find work, you will be granted permission should you not hear a response on your asylum claim for more than 12 months.
This emphasises the importance of section 95 support for so many asylum seekers, as well as other related forms of support, such as section 98 emergency housing support for those deemed too destitute to be able to wait for a response regarding section 95 support, and section 4 support which provides assistance for those who are as of yet unable to leave the country.
In the UK, people claiming for asylum have the same full access to primary and secondary health care services as any ‘ordinary resident’, the mere exception being restricted access to secondary health care for refused asylum seekers in England who do not receive section 4 support.
This will include access to General Practitioner (GP) appointments, emergency hospital visits, maternity care, as well as prescriptions for medicine, eye tests, and dental care.
The NHS, as well as several other non government organisations as The British Red Cross, provides mental health support for asylum seekers and refugees.
Every child in the UK, regardless of their immigration status, has the right to receive full-time education between the ages of 5 and 18. This comprehensive inclusion reflects the critical role an open and accessible education system plays in creating fulfilling opportunities for any individual.
This access not only facilitates a deeper understanding of British culture and language but also promotes smoother integration into society. While attending full-time school is mandatory, there are supplementary benefits such as eligibility for free school meals and extra support, including translation assistance for struggling families.
Language classes may be offered as additional support for asylum seekers of all ages.
Asylum seekers who wish to pursue a degree should be aware that they are typically charged at an international rate, whereas those with refugee status are entitled to be charged at a domestic rate of no higher than £9,250 per year and may be able to apply for access for a government loan, grant, or scholarship.
Protection From Discrimination
Such aforementioned international legislation as well as the 2010 Equality Act provide legal protection for asylum seekers from discrimination on the basis of such characteristics as race, religion, and nationality, namely in the workplace and when finding a new job.
Though this protection is enshrined in law, you should understand it does not necessarily extend culturally in all parts of the UK. Though discrimination is an issue continuously being addressed in the UK through such laws, like many other places worldwide it is not perfect in this regard.
While this is something to take into consideration, Amnesty International still regards the UK as having one of the most welcoming populations in the world for refugees.
Asylum Seekers Responsibilities
Reporting Changes in Circumstance
To make the process of hearing a response as quick as possible regarding your claim for asylum, it is important all your information on government records is kept as up to date as possible, including informing the Home Office of any changes in your circumstances such as health or employment status.
Complying with the legal process as closely as possible is an important part of navigating through the asylum seeking process as efficiently as possible, and potential complications with law authorities may impede or even jeopardise your chances of being granted asylum.
If you are going through any legal problems or issues regarding your application that you need assistance with from professional immigration specialists, contact Manchester Immigration Lawyers today by phone at 0161 826 9783 or online.
Despite this important system being established in international law for decades, there are frequent reports of asylum seekers in the UK not experiencing the expected standard of legal protection that other signatory nations have also been obliged to offer.
Such reports and updates regarding UK legislation is information that anyone considering the responsibilities involved in making a claim for asylum should be aware of.
It is important to note the quality of housing provided by Home Office support may vary significantly between cases, and there have been cases of substandard or unsanitary conditions in some accommodations.
Though asylum seekers may not choose another means of living, they may privately rent upon their asylum claim being accepted and refugee status being granted.
Illegal Migration Bill
It is important to be aware of the recent Illegal Migration Bill which may increase the likelihood of facing deportation even if you claim for asylum if you entered the UK illegally or through a safe third country.
Despite organisations like Amnesty International claiming this legislation contravenes international regulations regarding the protection of asylum seekers, it may be an obstacle in finding sanctuary in the UK.
The importance of being up to date with your rights as an asylum seeker are emphasised here, and that such factors as this new bill are taken into consideration regarding the responsibility of making an asylum claim, especially if accompanied with family or young children.
While asylum seekers are afforded a spectrum of rights and entitlements, in practice there may be situations where these are poorly implemented, which is why the importance of seeking professional legal guidance to navigate through such complexities is emphasised to ensure you are receiving all you are entitled to as an asylum seeker.
It is also important to ensure you remain as legally compliant during the process as possible as to minimise the amount of impediments to your asylum claim.
Manchester Immigration Lawyers offer a range of services including assistance with asylum appeals, family reunion applications, and detained casework. Professional translation services are available to assist you with the process of gaining refugee status and rebuilding a life somewhere safer.
Contact us via Skype, by telephone at 0161 826 9783, or online.
Last modified on November 9th, 2023 at 10:45 am
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No laws prevent an asylum seeker from getting married in the UK, though it is important to update the Home Office regarding your marital status.
Additionally, depending on your circumstances it may grant you the ability to apply for a fiance or spouse visa if you are marrying a UK citizen.
Humanitarian protection is a type of immigration status granted to those who are not accepted for asylum due to a failure to meet the eligibility criteria, but cannot be returned to their home country due to being at risk of significant physical harm.
This is usually only a temporary means of protection, though it may be extended to permanent residency after a certain amount of time, should returning to your home country prove long-term untenable.
Though you would be entitled to many of the same rights as those with refugee status such as full access to NHS care and education between the ages of 5 and 18, access to such things as family reunion rights, travel outside the UK, and voting will be restricted.