People usually move from one country to another in search of better economic opportunities. Some people, however, relocate because they feel their life is in danger in their current country of residence.
Areas plagued by political instability, war, frequent clashes, and crises are unsafe. In other instances, people face persecution because of their ethnicity, race, religious beliefs, political leanings, or sexuality. For these people, leaving the country may be the only solution.
People who seek to relocate to another country for security reasons are known as asylum seekers. Once they get accepted into their country of destination, they are called refugees. There are two ways through which people can enter the UK as refugees.
- Resettlement by the UK government through schemes in conjunction with the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR). People who come in through this means are usually from third world countries or regions that have been devastated by war, and they are particularly vulnerable.
- Conversely, some asylum seekers travel independently into the country and apply for asylum when they arrive. This is known as private asylum. The majority of refugees currently residing in the UK used this method.
This article provides concise information on all you need to know about private asylum in the UK. If you’re seeking private asylum, keep on reading.
Is It Easy to Get Asylum?
Some countries do not take kindly to their citizens seeking refuge in another country. In such cases, granting asylum can affect the diplomatic relationship between the host country and the native country of the asylum seeker. Hence, getting asylum is not always straightforward.
Moreover, getting asylum for yourself and your family requires some legal work. A recent publication indicated that the rate of denial of asylum seekers is continually on the rise. One of the ways to stand a chance of getting refugee status is by using the services of an asylum lawyer.
What Are the Grounds for Seeking Asylum?
The UK government only considers claims for private asylum on the grounds of persecution in the home country. More so, you should be able to show that the government of your country is either unable or unwilling to protect you. The valid reasons for persecution include the following:
- religious affiliation
- political opinion
- sexual orientation
The Home Office also considers claims of risk relating to the social and cultural situation in your home country. For example, you are also eligible to seek asylum if your gender, gender identity or sexuality puts you in danger in your country.
By whatever means you enter the country, you can apply for asylum as long as you can validate your claims.
You should also know that your asylum application may not be tenable if:
- you are coming from an EU country
- you are coming from a third country that is deemed safe
- you have a link to another safe country where you could claim asylum
How to Apply for Private Asylum
Application for private asylum is a delicate process. You’ll need an asylum lawyer to help you file the request for asylum. The process begins by registering your claim and documentation.
Afterwards, the Home Office will perform a screening. The screening involves taking your fingerprints, photograph and identification document. The immigration officer will assign you a date for an interview after confirming your documents.
At the interview, you will defend your claim that it is dangerous to return to your country. You need to bring any dependants (spouse or children) seeking asylum with you to the interview.
How Long Does It Take to Get Private Asylum?
The Home Office usually takes time to do a thorough investigation before your claim can be approved. Usually, it takes about six months after the interview to get a response from the immigration authorities.
While your claim is still in progress, you can lawfully reside in the country. However, you may not be allowed to work. Also, during this period, you may need to attend more interviews or provide more documents. If your claims are convincing enough, you will receive a ‘leave to remain’ from the Home Office. This will allow you to stay for five years, after which you can then apply to settle permanently.
You would think that the COVID-19 pandemic would have reduced the migration of people, but this isn’t the case. According to the UNHCR, the end of 2020 saw more people flee from their homeland for safer lands.
You are not alone in the quest for freedom. Being a refugee can also come with its stigmatization, but it won’t matter as long as you are safe.