WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 69829 [post_author] => 6452 [post_date] => 2018-05-14 16:45:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-14 15:45:47 [post_content] => This month I start on the Brexit outlook for EU citizens before turning to several immigration law issues affecting children that came to light in March. The Upper Tribunal reported a fresh batch of decisions, a couple on its jurisdiction and some more on other procedural bits and pieces. I end on a couple of cases and developments in the area of business immigration. [audio mp3="https://www.freemovement.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/FM-podcast-March-2018.mp3"][/audio] The material is all drawn from the March 2018 blog posts on Free Movement. The main content of the downloadable 20 minute audio podcast follows the (non chronological) order of content below:

Brexit

Brexit: settled status and citizens’ rights – what has been agreed? EU families to fall through Brexit cracks despite settled status agreement

Children

New guidance on family and private life applications: a harsher test for parents of British kids? “Powerful reasons” needed to remove a child from UK after seven years Challenging good character refusals in British citizenship applications Stateless child denied leave to remain Home Office has relapsed in treatment of refugee children, inspection finds

Tribunal: jurisdiction

Tribunal reclaims jurisdiction to review deprivation of citizenship discretion Tribunal slapped down on power to review trafficking decisions

Tribunal: procedure

Tribunal returns to issue of failed payments and invalid immigration applications President Lane takes fresh aim at flimsy judicial review grounds Half of all immigration appeals now succeed

Business immigration

Unprecedented Tier 2 skilled worker visa drought continues Running a business may amount to private life for the purposes of Article 8 Tier 2 chef tripped up by TripAdvisor review [post_title] => Immigration update March 2018 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => immigration-update-march-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-14 16:47:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-14 15:47:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=69829 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 69098 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2018-04-27 16:06:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:06:44 [post_content] => [post_title] => Making an application [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => making-an-application-4 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-27 16:06:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:06:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=69098 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 69097 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2018-04-27 16:06:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:06:22 [post_content] => [post_title] => Immigration categories [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => immigration-categories [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-27 16:06:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:06:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=69097 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 69096 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2018-04-27 16:04:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:04:12 [post_content] => [post_title] => Structure and sources of immigration law [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => structure-and-sources-of-immigration-law [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-27 16:04:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:04:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=69096 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 69095 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2018-04-27 16:03:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:03:47 [post_content] => [post_title] => Resources and links [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => resources-and-links [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-27 16:03:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:03:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=69095 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 69094 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2018-04-27 16:03:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:03:17 [post_content] => [post_title] => About the OISC scheme and why it is important [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => about-the-oisc-scheme-and-why-it-is-important [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-27 16:03:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-27 15:03:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=69094 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 68530 [post_author] => 6452 [post_date] => 2018-04-18 13:05:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-18 12:05:56 [post_content] => This month I look at some legal developments with Brexit and review no less than three Supreme Court decisions on immigration, nationality and detention. There have also been some case law on the Points Based System, which I look at alongside the worrying trend in Tier 2 visa applicants being turned away. There are a couple of new Court of Appeal and Upper Tribunal authorities touching on procedure that are worth being aware of, and a few other cases in a range of different areas, all important in their own way. [audio mp3="https://www.freemovement.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/FM-podcast-February-2018.mp3"][/audio] The material is all drawn from the February 2018 blog posts on Free Movement. The main content of the downloadable 30 minute audio podcast follows the (non chronological) order of content below:

Brexit

What does the EU’s draft Brexit agreement say about citizens’ rights? Blocking Brexit: Article 50 in the Scottish Court of Session

In the Supreme Court

Do unrecognised adoptions confer EU free movement rights? Maybe… (SM (Algeria) v Entry Clearance Officer [2018] UKSC 9) Landmark Supreme Court decision overrules historic gender discrimination in British citizenship (Advocate General for Scotland v Romein [2018] UKSC 6) Home Office could not impose bail on migrant who cannot lawfully be detained (B (Algeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] UKSC 5)

Points Based System

High Court gives useful steer on the Resident Labour Market Test (R (Khan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 105 (Admin)) No duty of fairness to student left in the lurch by college (R (Dharmeshkumar Bhupendrabhai Patel & Anor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 229) Visa cap for skilled non-EU workers hit for third month running

Procedure

Lawyers criticised for misleading court in bid to prevent high-profile removal (R (SB (Afghanistan)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 215) President Lane urges caution in making awards of costs against Home Office (Thapa & Ors (costs: general principles; s 9 review[2018] UKUT 54 (IAC)).

Other cases

Court of Appeal gives authoritative guidance on Article 3 medical cases(AM (Zimbabwe) & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 64) Immigration bail system failing mentally ill, Court of Appeal finds (R (VC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 57) Government stance on residence permits for trafficking victims declared unlawful (PK (Ghana) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 98) Marriages of convenience and immigration controls: a dangerous path (R (Seferi & Anor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 287 (Admin)) [post_title] => Immigration update February 2018 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => immigration-update-february-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-18 13:06:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-18 12:06:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=68530 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67047 [post_author] => 6452 [post_date] => 2018-03-22 13:54:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-22 13:54:29 [post_content] => After the screening interview, asylum claimants or their representatives will receive a letter with the date, time and place of the substantive interview. This is what the letter might look like. [pdfviewer]https://www.freemovement.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Anonymised-invitation-letter-asylum-interview.pdf[/pdfviewer] This is where the Home Office will assess the credibility of the claimant’s account, and whether they should be granted asylum. It may take place anywhere in the country, and not necessarily close to where the asylum claimant lives. For example, practitioners have seen asylum claimants living in London and being asked to attend an interview in Liverpool! Those who are in receipt of asylum support (see Module 4) will be provided with train or bus tickets to reach the place of the interview.

Evidence

It can be a good idea to submit documentary evidence in support of an asylum claim at this stage (although in theory it may be submitted at any stage before a decision has been made). Different practitioners have different opinions about this; the main thing is that evidence is not put forward before it can be presented without inconsistencies. Once one knows the place of the interview, copies of the evidence can be sent by post to that address, ideally to reach it two working days before the interview. Because the evidence submitted is not always linked to the case on time, though, it is advisable to attend the interview with an extra copy and the originals. The Home Office will sometimes take the originals and sometimes take copies only. Evidence to support an asylum claim can include, but is not limited to:
  • a statement from the claimant
  • letters of support
  • evidence on country of origin
  • medical evidence
  • evidence of identity
Details on the preparation and submission of evidence are beyond the scope of this course but will be explored in a forthcoming training course on Preparing and presenting asylum claims. It is a good idea to prepare the client for the interview. Some tips for a good interview are in the final unit of this module.

Having the interview recorded

When claimants are not represented or their legal representative does not attend for one reason or the other, they have the right to ask that the interview is recorded. Home Office guidance currently says:
The Home Office is required to allow claimants, with some exceptions, to have their asylum interviews audio recorded on request. The exceptions are those entitled to publicly funded legal representation at interview, or the resources to fund their own legal representation. Interviews should not normally be recorded where a legal representative is present, or where claimants with self-funded legal representation choose not to have their legal representative present.
Claimants should give the Home Office at least 24 hours' notice of their request (or three days if in detention). [su_box title="Example: David's evidence"] Three months after his screening interview, David receives a letter from the Home Office at his friend's address telling him to come back to Lunar House on 12 July for another interview. He posts his statement there a few days before the interview date. The letter inviting David will contain his Home Office reference number on the top right corner of the letter. David should include that reference number in his statement or in a covering letter accompanying his statement so that it can be easily linked to his case. It would also be a good idea to write on the envelope "for the urgent attention of caseworker - interview scheduled for 12 July". [/su_box] [post_title] => Before the substantive interview [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => before-the-substantive-interview [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-24 16:35:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-24 15:35:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=67047 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66803 [post_author] => 6452 [post_date] => 2018-03-16 15:48:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-16 15:48:57 [post_content] => This month I start with a follow-up to the Immigration Rules changes covered last month and discuss the commencement of the immigration bail provisions of the Immigration Act 2016. I go on to look at the application process for “settled status”, the legal situation on appeal rights against refusals of visit visas, return to the UK for those subjected to out-of-country appeals and discuss several CJEU cases including two on Dublin III processes. I round off with some domestic cases including on trafficking damages, costs and the Points Based System. [audio mp3="https://www.freemovement.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/FM-podcast-January-2018.mp3"][/audio] The material is all drawn from the January 2018 blog posts on Free Movement. The main content of the downloadable 25 minute audio podcast follows the (non chronological) order of content below:

Major changes

Big changes to continuous residence rule for ILR applicants New immigration bail and detention powers in force from 15 January How to apply for “settled status” and “temporary status”: a guessing game

Appeal rights

Court of Appeal stomps on human rights appeals for visitors Court of Appeal gets it badly wrong on out-of-country appeals

EU asylum

No psychological tests on gay asylum seekers, Court of Justice rules Court of Justice clarifies Dublin III transfer procedure Unaccompanied children and Dublin III: the latest instalment

Other cases

Internal relocation may not be “unduly harsh” on criminals Trafficking victim wins £260k damages, does not see a penny The Upper Tribunal’s costs appeal guidance has been overruled Home Office loses out on costs over “clear and inexcusable” litigation delay No High Court help for company stripped of Tier 2 sponsor licence Sponsor guidance protects college from unlawful Home Office sanctions [post_title] => Immigration update January 2018 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => immigration-update-january-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-18 13:01:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-18 12:01:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=66803 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65930 [post_author] => 1782 [post_date] => 2018-03-05 19:28:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-05 19:28:05 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_16799" align="alignnone" width="720"] Image credit: Dafne Cholet, on Flickr[/caption] [toc] Home Office policy on removals and applications for judicial review is set out at Chapter 60 of the Enforcement Instructions and Guidance.

Notice of removal

Notice must be given for removal in most cases. This can be done in three ways:
  1. by notice of removal directions, which allow the recipient to know the exact date of departure
  2. by notice of a removal window, which is a period during which an individual may be removed
  3. limited notice of removal, which is a more restricted version of the removal window form of notification

Notice of removal directions

Notice of removal directions for normal enforcement cases is minimum 72 hours. This must include at least two working days and the final 24 hours before removal must include a working day unless the notice period already includes three working days. Notice in third country and clearly unfounded certificate cases is five working days minimum. Detailed guidance on how to calculate timings of minimum notice are given in Chapter 60. For example:
If you wish to remove before 10am on a Monday, notice must be given by 10am on Wednesday. This is because the last 24 hours does not include a working day so the notice period must be extended to include three working days. Those you intend to remove between 10am and 5pm on a Monday will need sufficient time to access the courts on the Thursday and Friday of the preceding week so that they can challenge the decision to remove them if necessary. Those due to be removed after 5pm on a Monday will, however, have sufficient time to access the courts on the day of their removal, so removal directions can be set as late as 10am (when the courts open) on the Friday prior to removal.

Notice of a removal window

The notice period for removal windows is seven calendar days from the beginning of the notice period, which is when the notice, in the Home Office's language, is "given". The beginning of the notice period is defined as 00:01h the day after it is received. The date of receipt, if notice is sent by post, is deemed to be two working days after the date of postage unless shown otherwise. Notice of a removal window is suitable for:
  • Those removed under section 10 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 as amended by the Immigration Act 2014. The person will be given a “Notice of Liability for Removal”. The original policy under section 10 did not require notice to be given prior to removal. This was changed following a claim by Medical Justice, represented by the Public Law Project, that this constituted a breach of the right of access to the courts. While the Home Office’s change in policy is welcome, it would be more humane to avoid the uncertainty inherent in not knowing when you will be removed.
  • Those deported under sections 3(5) and (6) of the Immigration Act 1971 or section 32 UK Borders Act 2007. The person will be given a “Deportation Decision Letter”.
Removal windows may not be used to give notice of removal in:
  • Family cases
  • Asylum, human rights, or humanitarian protection claims or appeals which are pending
  • Where the Home Office has evidence (beyond a self-declaration) that a person is suffering from a condition listed as a risk factor in the Adults at risk in immigration detention policy or other condition that would result in the person being regarded as an adult at risk under that policy.

Limited notice of a removal window

A limited notice of a removal window provides the following time-frame:
  • A minimum of five working days' notice of removal
  • The individual will be informed that they will be removed no sooner than five working days and no less than 21 days from the date where notice of removal is given (same definition as in the ordinary notice of a removal window as described in the above section).
A small number of exceptions exist.

Exceptions

Exceptions to the normal policy on notice include:
  • Port cases where removal occurs within seven days of refusal. 72 hours notice of removal does not need to be given (i.e. removal can be immediate)
  • Third country and NSA (non suspensive appeal, i.e. clearly unfounded certificate under section 94 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002) family cases subject to Ensured Return.
  • Where removal is deferred or fails and a second removal is attempted within 10 days, Home Office policy is that further notice does not need to be given.
If the route of return is changed to insert or amend a place of transit then a new standard notice period must be given unless the new place of transit is in a listed safe country. This does not apply where the route is adjusted simply to remove a place of transit. There is more detail on this in the next section. [post_title] => Policy on notice periods [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => policy-notice-periods [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-05 19:33:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-05 19:33:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=65930 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65748 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2018-02-26 18:54:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-26 18:54:02 [post_content] => An urgent injunction does what it says on the proverbial tin: it is a mandatory order which is sought on an urgent basis. In the context of immigration law and practice, urgent injunctions most commonly arise where an applicant wishes to prevent his or her removal from the United Kingdom. Unhelpfully, the modern use of "removal windows" means that it is hard to predict when a removal may take place and therefore how much time is available to put together a fresh claim. This increases the risk of having to make urgent applications. This is a fraught and potentially dangerous area of law, as we shall see. Many immigration lawyers have been criticised by judges for very poor professional conduct. Some have been investigated by their regulators on referrals from judges and some have even been disbarred for dishonest behaviour. Others have made innocent mistakes but still been publicly criticised. Several potential pitfalls loom in this area of work. For example:
  1. It is an inherently stressful areas of work and it is easier to make mistakes when under stress.
  2. The Home Office both as an institution and through some of its individual officers acts in ways calculated to maximise the chance of removal, such as simply ignoring correspondence.
  3. Urgent applications are usually made ex parte, meaning that only one party to the proceedings is represented. There is an enhanced duty of disclosure to the court in such circumstances.
  4. Clients are desperate to avoid removal and are not always entirely truthful.
  5. Taking on a new case risks taking on an incomplete set of papers and then making submissions to a judge which are not in fact true.
  6. Some judges are willing to assume the worst about immigration lawyers.
For all these reasons, there are some who say that it is not merely unwise to take on new clients who need an urgent injunction to be lodged on their behalf but in fact a breach of one's professional obligations. Immigration lawyers sometimes suffer from a "saviour mentality". There are times when there is nothing more to be done. In this course we look at the ethical and professional standards that come into play, look at previous cases in which lawyers have been criticised and urge that a dispassionate assessment is made of what the underlying prospects of success actually are in a case. It is, after all, only when there is an underlying immigration case for leave to be granted that an urgent injunction to prevent removal can be justified. [post_title] => Introduction to urgent injunctions [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => introduction-urgent-injunctions [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-29 22:29:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-29 21:29:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=65748 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64906 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 17:10:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 17:10:38 [post_content] => Depending on the claim, evidence in addition to the claimant's statement might support their claim.

Evidence of previous persecution

Not everyone who claims asylum will have been persecuted in the past. And as we've said, refugee status determination is a forward-looking process. Asylum seekers do not have to have been persecuted before to be granted asylum. That said, those who have been victims of persecution or other incidents which led to them fleeing their country of origin, or being afraid of returning there, should absolutely provide evidence if available. For example, if their photograph was published in a newspaper, and they can get hold of that newspaper, that should be provided. It is, as always, important to keep in mind the Home Office's cynical attitude. It will often say that a piece of evidence has been fabricated, especially if it comes from a certain country (the Home Office is, for example, very suspicious of fatwas issued in Pakistan). Therefore, if submitting evidence which arrived from abroad, it is important that the claimant is able to explain how exactly they got hold of it, who sent it, why these people would have helped etc. If the evidence was sent by courier, a claimant should also submit the courier envelope. The person who helped may also write a short letter confirming this and explaining why they are helping, and enclosing a copy of their identity document. For some documents, one may also want to have their authenticity confirmed by an "expert".

Medical evidence

Medical evidence may be anything: a GP's letter, hospital records, a psychiatrist's report, a report commenting on the consistency of some scars with torture or other ill treatment. Medical evidence may go to the core of the claim. For example, a claimant having suffered female genital mutilation or being HIV-positive, where that is the basis of their fear of persecution. In the alternative, and perhaps more frequently, the medical expert will comment on the consistency of the claimant's mental health presentation with, for example, PTSD which would have followed past ill treatment, or their physical presentation with torture or other ill treatment. Evidence that a claim suffers from PTSD, on the other hand, can be used not only to confirm past ill treatment, but also to explain, for example, eventual inconsistencies during the interview. On the other hand, this "technique" might have been over-used in the past, resulting in further cynicism with medical evidence from the Home Office. The Home Office guidance says
A GP may also provide a letter detailing, for example, concerns about the health of their patient. Although the relevance or probative value of such letters may vary in relation to the asylum claim, letters from GPs and other medical professionals should be accorded due weight and must not be ignored.
[su_box title="Example: medical evidence for Barbara"] Barbara is a Burundian woman who claimed asylum on the basis of her political activities. She participated in the 2015 protests against the government, and was sought by the authorities. On her way to cross the border to Rwanda, she was raped by a man. Barbara now suffers from PTSD and struggles to recall the exact sequence of events from when she decided to flee up until her arrival in the UK. Barbara could submit medical evidence to support both the fact that she was the victim of rape, and the fact that she now suffers from PTSD. The former would need a physical examination, while the second would need a psychological examination. Of course, the medical professional doing the psychological examination could also comment on the consistency of her mental health presentation with the fact that she was the victim of rape. Medical evidence is not compulsory but would no doubt strengthen Barbara's claim, and explain any inconsistencies or lack of details during the interview. A detailed psychological report, redacted by an expert psychologist after having had one or more sessions with Barbara aimed at drafting that report, and with an explanation of how the diagnosis of PTSD was reached, would be given more weight by the Home Office than a two-paragraph letter from Barbara's GP simply stating that she suffers from PTSD. [/su_box]

Evidence of identity

When a claimant entered the UK using their own passport, containing a valid visa, the Home Office will usually have record of their identity. In fact, the claimant will have submitted their passport with their visa application, and will also have given their biometric information (i.e. their photograph and fingerprints). When going to the screening interview, asylum claimants will again give their biometric information, which should match with that given when they made their initial visa application. For those claimants, establishing their identity (and in particular their name, age and country of origin) will usually not be an issue. However, sometimes claimants will need to prove their identity, for example if they entered the UK using a fake identity, or if they entered without passing border controls (for example, if they entered via Calais and managed to escape border officers). Evidence of identity can take the form of birth certificates, passports, or sometimes one will need to resort again to "experts", including "language analysis" testing. As the Home Office guidance says, "language analysis involves language experts talking and listening to individuals speak in their own language and dialect, analysing significant features in the speech, and producing written, reasoned conclusions as to their place of linguistic origin". [su_box title="Example: birth certificate from Eritrea"] Abdul is an Eritrean man, who fled his country to avoid the compulsory military service. He exited Eritrea illegally, and then obtained a fake Italian national identity card, with which he arrived at the British border. At the airport, he claimed asylum. The Home Office did not believe that Abdul is an Eritrean man. To confirm his identity, Abdul managed to obtain a birth certificate from his brother. To strengthen his claim, it would be a good idea for Abdul to submit as much as possible of the following:
  • original birth certificate
  • courier envelope where the birth certificate was contained, showing where the package came from
  • signed and dated letter from his brother stating
    • (1) who he is and how he knows Abdul;
    • (2) how he obtained the certificate (for example, they had it at home);
    • (3) why he took the risk of sending the birth certificate (the Home Office could argue that it is not credible that Abdul's brother would assist him as, if he were caught by the Eritrean authorities, he would risk being persecuted himself);
    • (4) what precautions he took not to be caught by the Eritrean authorities. He should also send a copy (ideally certified as a true copy of the original) of an identity document.
  • an expert from Eritrea (for example, an academic) who can look at the birth certificate and verify its authenticity.
[/su_box] [post_title] => Other evidence [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => other-evidence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-06 14:05:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-06 14:05:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64906 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64905 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 17:10:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 17:10:12 [post_content] => The written statement of the asylum claimant -- that is their account of what has happened to them and what they fear will happen to them should they be returned to their country of origin -- is often the most important, and sometimes the only available, piece of evidence in support of their claim. Before writing a statement, it is fundamental to recall what we are trying to prove:
  1. That there is a Convention reason, real or imputed. For example, those applying on the basis that they are gay and in danger in their country of origin will need to set out in detail how they came to the realisation that they are gay. Those who are applying on the basis of their political opinion will need to set out in detail what that opinion is, how they came to believe that, why it is important to them etc.
  2. That they have a well-founded fear. If something happened in the past, whether to them or to someone in the same social group, the asylum claimant will need to explain what happened. The "objective" part of well-founded fear is more dealt with by country of origin information, but the asylum claimant may of course have inside information on what happens to people of his group, and they must set that out too.
  3. That they fear treatment which amounts to being persecuted. Again, it is important that the asylum claimant explains what they fear will happen to them if returned. Setting out a fear of discrimination, for example a fear of not having access to employment, will not in and of itself constitute persecution.
  4. That they are unable or unwilling to obtain protection from the state, anywhere in the country. If they previously tried to seek the protection of the state and were not offered it, or indeed if they were persecuted by the state, the claimant should say so. The claimant should also be able to explain why they could not relocate to a different part of the country to escape the fear of persecution.
This is, of course, a very general description, and every statement will be different and very case specific. In fact, this might be the first tip: make sure that the statement is tailored and not a copy-and-paste from an asylum claimant with a similar story. No story is the same and it is essential that the statement is in the words of the claimant. It is also important to have in mind the Home Office attitude. They are looking for inconsistencies! You should not leave any issues open to challenge.

Dos

  • Make sure that the statement answers all of the questions above:
    • what is the "Convention reason"?
    • what does the claimant fear? Why do they fear it?
    • What does the claimant think will happen to them if they return? Why do they think that?
    • Why does the claimant think that the state will not protect them?
  • Use a chronological order
  • Write the statement in the claimant’s own words, even when not perfect grammar
  • Add details where the claimant remembers them vividly only
  • Ensure there are no inconsistencies within the statement or between the statement and other evidence submitted
  • Write what you know only, not what you guess. If you are making educated guesses, make sure you explain those are guesses.
[su_box title="Example"] If the claimant received an anonymous threat, and believes it was from his neighbour but he cannot be sure, he should say "I received an anonymous threat. I believe it was from my neighbour because he had previously threatened me orally, he knew of my political activities, and he knew where I lived", rather than "I received an anonymous threat from my neighbour. I know it was him because he had previously threatened me orally, he knew of my political activities, and he knew where I lived". [/su_box]
  • Leave it a couple of days and re-read it with a "fresh" mind. Ideally, have someone else read it too. Do any questions arise? Are any things unclear? Make sure the statement is "bullet-proof".

Donts

  • Write details, including dates, names or places, which the claimant might not remember at a later stage
  • Have someone else write it
  • Use a template
  • "Rehash" a previous statement - it is often tempting to use a statement from a successful refugee who claimed asylum on the same basis (for example, because they were Iranian political activists), in particular the parts about why the state would not protect them and what could happen on return. This is never a good idea, as those parts will inevitably not be in the claimant's own words. Start the statement with a blank page!
  • "Embellish" your claim to make it more credible or more convincing. Stick to the truth and nothing but the truth!
[post_title] => Statement - dos and donts [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => statement-dos-donts [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-22 13:01:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-22 13:01:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64905 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64904 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 17:09:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 17:09:37 [post_content] => immigration tribunal york house If an asylum claim has been refused, a claimant will often have a right of appeal, and the first hearing will take place at the First-Tier Tribunal.

Preparing the hearing

After the claimants have sent their form IAFT-5 to the Tribunal, they will be sent back a "Notice of Hearing" and a "Reply Notice" by the Tribunal. Nowadays, the Notice of Hearing document will in fact contain both a "Notice of pre-hearing" and a "Notice of Hearing". See here for examples. Appellants should complete and return the Reply Notice to reach the Tribunal before the deadline they will have specified on the Notice. This would usually be 2 working days before the date of the "pre-hearing". The Reply Notice contains details of the witnesses which will come to the hearing, the evidence that the appellant is intending to submit, whether an interpreter is needed, and how long the appellant needs the hearing to last for. Appellants do not need to attend the pre-hearing, as that is simply a time for the judge to consider whether a hearing is needed and to give directions to the Appellant and the Respondent. After the Reply Notice has been sent, the Tribunal will send back "directions" to the Appellant and the Respondent (that is the Home Office). Directions will tell the Appellant and the Respondent when and where to send the evidence in support of their position. However, an Appellant may also use the Reply Notice to ask the Tribunal to make further directions to the Respondent. [su_box title="Example"] David is an Iranian national who claimed asylum on the basis that he converted to Christianity. His asylum claim was refused. One of the reasons which the Home Office gave to refuse the claim was that, in an application for leave to remain submitted by David three years earlier, he had submitted a letter he "went to mosque with". This raised doubts as to David's conversion to Christianity. In his previous application, David was represented by different solicitors, who claim not to have records of the letter. David also does not recall submitting this letter. David's current solicitors could, in the Reply Notice, ask the Tribunal to direct the Home Office (that is the Respondent), to send them a copy of the letter in advance of the hearing. The Tribunal has discretion as to whether they will make those directions, but they usually will. The Reply Notice can, therefore, be a good tool to get from the Home Office documents they would not usually provide. [/su_box] Typically the Appellant and the Respondent must submit the evidence in support of the appeal within 5 working days of the date of the hearing. The Appellant's evidence should contain witness statements to be relied on at the appeal (see below), a chronology of the facts relevant to the asylum claim, and any other evidence relied upon. The Respondent should submit their evidence "as soon as possible". Respondents would usually put in their bundle all of the evidence relied on by the Appellant for the initial asylum claim, and any other evidence they relied upon to refuse the asylum claim. Both the Appellant and the Respondent must send their evidence to the Tribunal and to each other.

Hearing

At the hearing, the first to be called to give evidence will be the appellant, i.e. the asylum claimant. Claimants may have witnesses at the interview, including people who know what has happened. Witnesses will all be outside of the room so that they may not hear the appellant's evidence and change their own accordingly. Similarly, witnesses will then be called one by one. When the first witness is giving evidence, the others will be outside and will not hear. However, after having given evidence, a witness may sit at the back of the room and watch the rest of the hearing. Hearings are generally open to the public, and it is therefore important to ask for a closed hearing should there be any reason why a claimant does not want to be identified and does not want members of the public to be able to attend. Legal representatives should have talked to the witnesses before the hearing to ensure they understand what will happen at the hearing, but also to ensure that they are able to answer questions under pressure. Witnesses should also be reminded of the importance of being truthful and only saying what they know. In many respects, witnesses may "save the day". The starting point at a hearing is that the Home Office believes the claimant to be a liar and they will try to prove this. It is much harder for a judge to find that many witnesses are liars rather than one person. Witnesses are sometimes friends and think they are helping by exaggerating the claimant's account. This is never a good idea and can only further taint the credibility of the claimant. It is OK for witnesses not to be able to comment on every aspect of the claim. For example, a claimant may be claiming asylum on the basis of their political opinion, as a result of which they were detained in prison for a month. One of the witnesses may be aware of the claimant's political opinion, for example because they used to go to meetings together, but might not have known about the detention. It is important to stress to witnesses that, like asylum claimants in the interview, they are allowed to answer "I don't know", and should absolutely say so if that is the case. Witnesses should provide statements in advance of the hearing, to be included in the bundle. This will be their evidence in chief but they may be asked further questions, usually by the Home Office and sometimes by the judge. The claimant's representative may end with some questions if they think some things have been misunderstood during the questioning by the Home Office or judges. Witnesses should also come to the hearing with their identity documents and, if they are not British, evidence of their leave to remain in the UK. [post_title] => Hearing and witnesses [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => hearing-and-witnesses [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-06 14:30:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-06 14:30:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64904 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64903 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 17:09:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 17:09:09 [post_content] => Asylum seekers may also be able to get housing and money from the government during the processing of their asylum claim. Asylum seekers may apply for housing only, cash allowance only, or both. If applying for housing, it is very likely the claimant and their family will be relocated outside of London or south-east England. They do not have any choice on the location. Cash support consists, at time of writing, of £37.75 a week for each person in a household. In practice, the money is loaded onto a debit card (ASPEN card) each week. Pregnant women or mothers of children under three years of age get £3 extra per week. Mothers of children under one year of age get £5 extra per week. There is also a one-off £300 maternity payment if a baby is due in eight weeks or less or is under six weeks old.

Eligibility

Asylum seekers will be eligible to receive Asylum Support if they can show that they are destitute at the time of the application, or are likely to become so within 14 days. Destitution is defined at section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Essentially, an applicant is deemed destitute if:
They and their dependants do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it, even if other essential living needs are met, or they and their dependants have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet essential living needs.
Essential living needs are not defined in the Act, but are generally understood to include food, clothing, toiletries and medication.

Applying for asylum support

An application for asylum support is made using form ASF1. The completed form must be emailed to:
ASCorrespondence@migranthelpuk.org or sent by post to:
Asylum Support Casework Team PO Box 471 Dover CT16 9FN
If an asylum claim needs additional support, they can make an application completing form ASF2 and explaining why the "standard" asylum support will not cover their needs.

Asylum support after a refusal

Those who have been refused asylum may still receive some asylum support. This is called Section 4 support. Claimants will be eligible if they are homeless, destitute and can show that there is a reason why they cannot leave the UK. Reasons for being unable to leave include a "physical impediment to travel", a medical condition or lack of a viable route. A pending application for judicial review of the decision to refuse asylum will also count, depending on the stage the case is at, and the person can also apply on the basis that their human rights would be breached otherwise. Claimants will be eligible if they are homeless, destitute and can show that there is a reason why they cannot leave the UK. They will receive short-term housing, help with prescriptions for medicine, dental care for your teeth, eyesight tests and glasses, and a payment card for food and toiletries. [post_title] => Asylum support [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => asylum-support-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-12 16:41:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-12 15:41:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64903 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )