Immigration and asylum for UK expats and UK resident families

Immigration can be very complicated and difficulties may arise if you don’t have the right advice from the outset. Expatriates.co.uk partner lawyers are expert in these types of matters and are always available to help you. If you are having difficulties with immigration matters then please simply complete the enquiry form as your first step in obtaining a solution.

Asylum

Asylum is the right to seek sanctuary in a safe country and is protected by the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Asylum is a complex area of law where early action and the correct preparation of the application can make a huge difference to the outcome. Claiming asylum is daunting and stressful and expatriates.co.uk partner lawyers will offer all the help you need to guide you through the process.

Three pieces of international law can be used to support an asylum application in the UK

  • 1951 Geneva Convention – under the 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 not always necessary to have been persecuted in the past for a future risk to exist as sometimes events that occur after a person’s arrival in the UK can give rise to a future risk of persecution in their own country.
  • 1950 European convention of human rights – it is possible for a person to apply to remain in the UK if removing them would be in breach of their rights laid down in the 1950 European convention on human rights (ECHR) which contains a number of articles of protected rights. Most human rights claims are based on article 3 (prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) or article 8 (right to respect for family life and private life). A human rights claim can be part of an asylum claim under the refugee convention or it can stand alone.
  • European Union asylum qualification directive – the UK is party to the European Union asylum qualification directive. This has been adopted by 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 the qualification directive. It is intended to ensure that common criteria for identifying people in need of international protection are applied, and that a minimum level of benefits is available for those granted status in EU member states.

Appeals Process

Asylum and human rights applicants usually have a right of appeal to the tribunal when their applications are refused. There are really three levels to the appeals which are:

  • First tier tribunal – Most asylum-seekers have a right of appeal to the first tier tribunal if their application has been refused and they will usually be allowed to remain in the UK while they wait for the outcome of their appeal. In some cases applicants will not automatically have a right to an appeal inside the UK if they come from countries that are presumed by the home office to produce clearly unfounded asylum claims or if they have already claimed asylum in a safe third country.

The UK border agency aims for all appeals to be heard within two months of the initial decision and an independent immigration judge who is not employed by the home office hears the appeal. The deadlines for making an appeal application after a refusal decision are very short and asylum seekers are only entitled to legal aid to pursue their appeal if it has a 50 per cent or more chance of success. Once the appeal has been heard the decision usually arrives within two weeks and it is only possible to make a further appeal on a point of law. Legal advice will be necessary to decide whether it is possible to appeal further and the timescale for making an application for a re-consideration is usually five working days.

  • Upper Tribunal – An application for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal can be made after a similar application has been refused by the first-tier tribunal. This is to challenge the determination of an Immigration Judge at first-tier tribunal. To do this the following should be considered.
  • First tier decision – consider the contents of the appeal determination in light of the first tier tribunal decision.
  • Grounds for challenge – consider carefully any possible grounds you have that may influence the decision of the upper tribunal to rule in your favour.
  • Appeals procedures – Seek legal advice on the relevant requirements, relevant laws and procedures applicable to your appeal.
  • Judicial review – decisions by the home office which do not give a right of appeal may be subject to a Judicial Review. An applicant will need to obtain permission from the upper tribunal for an application for judicial review to be heard. This process takes a long time and frequently the matter is settled before it proceeds to a full hearing. If it goes to a full hearing then the losing party is liable to meet the legal costs of the other side.

In considering whether to overturn a decision by the home office the upper tribunal would have regard to whether the decision was achieved fairly and would be reluctant to intervene in any disputes of fact which may arise. In essence the challenge is a review of all the information that went into a decision made on an application to assess whether the conclusion reached was reasonable. So a decision to remove a family with children may be reasonable if no evidence was submitted about the children’s assimilation to the UKVI. That same decision may be unreasonable if at the time of application a detailed social workers report commenting on the children’s circumstances has been ignored.

Detention and bail

The Home Office has extensive powers to detain those whose immigration status is irregular. If you are detained for immigration reasons then expatriates.co.uk partner lawyers will be able to advise you on the best way to try to get released. Applications for bail are heard in the first-tier tribunal but if it becomes apparent that you may have been unlawfully detained then you may have a claim for damages against the home office.

European (EEA) applications

The free movement rights of European citizens and their family members allow many people to come and work in the United Kingdom. It is possible to apply using European law to gain the right of residence in the United Kingdom. Expatriates.co.uk partner lawyer immigration team has extensive experience of European applications and will be able to advise and assist on the best use of European law for your circumstances.

British citizenship

There are a number of different routes to obtaining British citizenship and expatriates.co.uk partner lawyers can guide you through the process to ensure that the correct application is made. The home office is now refusing more and more applications for British citizenship on the basis of the complex and ever changing good character rules and we would always recommend taking legal advice before making any application to the home office. If your own application has been refused expatriates.co.uk partner lawyers immigration team is still able to advise and assist you and where justified challenge any Home Office refusal of British citizenship.

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