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.
One should not slack in a medical report at anytime as it might do more harm than good. [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] => 2018-02-19 18:01:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 18:01:51 [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

  • 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

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
[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] => 2018-02-19 17:53:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 17:53:18 [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] => If a claim has been refused, a claimant will often be given a right of appeal, and the first hearing will take place at the First-Tier Tribunal. 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 assist during 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] => 2018-02-20 15:30:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:30:24 [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 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.

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 and 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] => 2018-02-20 15:34:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:34:25 [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 ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64902 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 16:59:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 16:59:42 [post_content] => Asylum is one of the very few areas of immigration law where legal aid is still available. At the stage of making an initial claim, an asylum claim will only need to pass the “means assessment” to qualify for legal aid. To pass the "means test", asylum claimants must, generally speaking
  1. earn a gross income of no more than £2,657 per month; and
  2. have a disposable income of no more than £733 per month; and
  3. have a disposable capital of no more than £8,000 - or £3,000 if their case is a controlled work immigration matter described in regulation 8(3).
Note that claimants who receive certain benefits, such as income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, universal credit, guarantee credit element of pension credit or income-related employment and support allowance  are "passported" through the income means test. They automatically qualify within the income limits but one must still assess their capital. More likely to be relevant to asylum claimants, those who receive asylum support (see next unit) are "passported" through both income and capital tests. In addition, it is important to remember that if a claimant has a partner (defined as a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner), their income must also be considered. If the asylum claim is refused, to qualify for legal aid, asylum seekers will need to pass the means test but also the merits test. Their legal adviser will need to make an assessment of the likelihood of the case succeeding. Legal representatives will be able to take the case on a legal aid basis only if the claim has more than 50% chances of succeeding. Legal representatives tend to have more issues with the means than the merits test. While one can argue that many cases have 50% chances of succeeding, what legal representatives struggle with is ensuring that they have the correct documentation to prove to the Legal Aid Agency that their clients meet the "means test". Where clients do not have any bank statements, or have been paid in cash and cannot show their income, legal representatives may decide not to take them on and run the risk of the Legal Aid Agency not paying them for the work done. [post_title] => Legal aid [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => legal-aid [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-20 15:36:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:36:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64902 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64882 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 09:06:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 09:06:50 [post_content] => Evidence on the condition in a claimant’s country of origin serves to:
  • Show that there is a “well-founded fear” of persecution, i.e. that there is a sufficient, objective, likelihood of persecution taking place on return
  • Show that the state is unable or unwilling to protect the claimant
  • Show that the claimant’s account is plausible
[copy-paste Module 2, Unit 8 of “Refugee law in the UK” - Future risk: country situation]

Country expert report

It is sometimes difficult to find evidence about risks to a specific group in a specific country, in which case claimants might want to instruct an expert on the country to write a report. The report would usually assess the future risk but may also be used to corroborate a claimant’s own account, by commenting whether their account of past events is consistent with known conditions in the country. That said, experts should be “objective”. It is advisable to remind experts that they should not comment on the credibility of a claimant being, for example, LGBT, but rather on the credibility of a claimant, if LGBT (which it is not for them to comment on), having been beaten because of being LGBT. As with the remaining evidence, the “objectivity” of country experts will also be assessed. For example, are they “activists” or academic (the latter being judged more “objective” than the former). [post_title] => Evidence on country of origin [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => evidence-country-origin [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 18:07:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 18:07:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64882 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64881 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 08:54:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 08:54:04 [post_content] =>   In the UK, the standard of proof for both past and future aspects of well-founded fear is that of "a reasonable degree of likelihood", which is lower than and different to the civil standard of the balance of probabilities. It has also been expressed as "substantial grounds for believing" or "real risk". Importantly, this low standard of proof is “because of what is potentially at stake – the individual’s life or liberty”. In addition, refugees should be given the “benefit of the doubt”. In theory that should make it easier for a claimant to win their case. The reality is that minor inconsistencies are often used by the Home Office to reject an account, and caseworkers must routinely be reminded of the low standard of proof and the benefit of doubt. Once one part of an account is not accepted, the rest of the account is often also rejected. Decision-makers also routinely use their own assumptions about how a person would react to a specific event to find a claimant’s account implausible, or decide that a past “bad” immigration history must mean that a person is a liar and therefore dismiss their entire account. The importance of making sure that there are no inconsistencies to start with, and that any inconsistencies are or at least can be explained, cannot be overestimated. In the same way that claimants should not give answers they are not sure of at the interview, they should not say things they are unsure of in their statement, nor submit false evidence. By claiming asylum, an individual is entering a minefield. The Home Office seems to be trying to catch people out in a lie rather than give them the benefit of the doubt and assess, with a low standard of proof, whether they will be at risk of persecution if returned to their country.

When to submit the evidence

Whenever possible, evidence should be submitted in advance of the substantive interview. This will allow Home Office caseworkers to review it before seeing the claimant, and should make the interview more focused and effective (assuming they do read the evidence in advance, which is often not the case!). There are instances where claimants may decide to submit evidence after the interview. For example, some evidence may not be essential unless a particular matter is raised during the interview, which one may not necessarily want to bring up voluntarily. In those instances, one may decide to wait to see if it is raised at the interview. If it is not, the evidence relating to that aspect will not be raised. If it is, the evidence will be submitted. [add example] Similarly, some claimants have particular difficulties telling their stories and remembering facts, including dates, names, locations etc. In those circumstances, one may decide that it is better not to submit a statement, or submit a very short statement, to lower the chances of the claimant then stating different things at the interview and having their claim refused on the basis of those inconsistencies. That said, it is also important to bear in mind that evidence submitted at a later stage, in particular a statement, might be seen as "convenient" and further undermine a claimant's credibility. As said above, this is a minefield, and every case will need to be assessed individually before deciding on a strategy of when and which evidence to submit. [post_title] => Warning about the Home Office attitude [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => warning-home-office-attitude [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 17:44:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 17:44:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64881 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64880 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-08 08:53:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-08 08:53:21 [post_content] => To succeed in their bid for asylum, claimants must prove that they meet the definition of “refugee” under the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. That is:
Owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it.
Being outside of their country of nationality is never an issue, as one can only claim asylum once in the UK (or at the port). What needs to be proven, therefore, is
  1. That they have a well-founded fear – this is both a “subjective” test (is the claimant telling the truth about what happened to them or about what they fear will happen to them) and an “objective” test (is there a sufficient, objective, likelihood of those fears being realised)?
  2. That they fear treatment which amounts to being persecuted, where persecution is generally intended as severe violation of basic human rights.
  3. That they will be persecuted for one of five reasons, referred to as "Convention reasons": race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. All the reasons are relatively straightforward but for “membership of a particular social group”. The particular social group must exist independently of the persecution suffered. To constitute a group, the people in it must have an innate shared characteristic, or a shared characteristic that the person cannot or should not be expected to change. Examples of particular social groups, depending on the country context, can be: LGBT, people women, women fearing female genital mutilation, former victims of trafficking etc. It is also important to remember that a Convention reason may be imputed or attributed: that is, the person might not actually have the relevant characteristic, but be thought by their persecutors to have it.
  4. That they are unable or unwilling to obtain protection from their home government, anywhere in the country. The state must have set up and operate an "effective" system of protection for its citizens.
An asylum claim is, therefore, very much forward looking. It does not matter whether or not a person has been persecuted in the past (although past persecution may indicate that there will be at risk on return). For more details on this, see our course on refugee law. [post_title] => What are we trying to prove? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => what-trying-prove [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 17:35:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 17:35:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64880 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64866 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-07 18:18:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-07 18:18:47 [post_content] =>

If an asylum claim is certified, or has been refused and all appeal rights were exhausted, then a claimant may make further submissions. Once further submissions are submitted, the Home Office will need to decide whether they constitute a "fresh claim".

The definition of a fresh claim is found at paragraph 353 of the Immigration Rules. Accordingly,

The submissions will amount to a fresh claim if they are significantly different from the material that has previously been considered. The submissions will only be significantly different if the content:

  1. had not already been considered; and
  2. taken together with the previously considered material, created a realistic prospect of success, notwithstanding its rejection. This paragraph does not apply to claims made overseas.
Once further submissions have been submitted, the Home Office may:
  • decide that the new evidence is a fresh claim, and grant refugee status, humanitarian protection or some other type of leave; or
  • decide that the new evidence is a fresh claim but the claimant is not in need of protection and refuge leave. If so, a claimant will be given a right of appeal; or
  • decide that the new evidence does not constitute a fresh claim and refuse the application without a right of appeal.
If further submissions are not accepted as a fresh claim, a claimant may judicially review the decision. [post_title] => Fresh claims [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => fresh-claims [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-20 15:32:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:32:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64866 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64864 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-07 18:11:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-07 18:11:06 [post_content] => If their claim is refused and not certified, then a claimant will have fourteen days to lodge an appeal at the First-Tier Tribunal. Since the coming into force of the Immigration Act 2014 on 6 April 2015, appeals can only be brought on very limited grounds, including that "the removal of the appellant from the UK would breach the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention". This would typically be the ground to use in appealing against a refusal of an asylum claim. However, appellants may also raise the grounds that "removal of the appellant from the UK would breach the UK’s obligations in relation to persons eligible for a grant of humanitarian protection", and/or that "removal of the appellant from the UK would be unlawful under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (public authority not to act contrary to the Human Rights Convention)". If the appeal at the First-Tier Tribunal is refused, claimants may apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for permission to appeal against the refusal, on the ground that the judge made an error of law only. Therefore, if the reason for a negative determination is only that an appellant was not credible, but there was no error of law in coming to that conclusion, the appellant will most likely not be given permission to appeal.

Option 1 - permission to appeal is granted

If permission to appeal is granted, then the claimant will appear before a judge of the Upper Tribunal. If permission to appeal is not granted by the First-Tier Tribunal, then a claimant may renew the application for permission to appeal and send that directly to the Upper Tribunal to decide. If permission to appeal is granted by the Upper Tribunal, again, the claimant will appear before a judge of the Upper Tribunal. The Upper Tribunal judge's first task is to decide whether there was an error of law. If there was none, then the appeal will be refused. If there was an error of law, then the Upper Tribunal may decide to:
  • make a new decision on the same day
  • list a hearing to make a decision
  • or remit the decision back to the First-Tier Tribunal.

Option 2 - permission to appeal is not granted

If permission to appeal is not granted, then the only possible challenge is by way of judicial review. To get permission to judicially review a decision by the Upper Tribunal, an appellant would need to show that there is an arguable case which has reasonable prospects of success, and that either the appeal raise an important point of principle, or there is some other compelling reason to allow the appeal to proceed.

Option 3 - permission to appeal is granted but Upper Tribunal finds that there is no error of law

As set out above, even once an appellant has been given permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal, the first step is for the Upper Tribunal to find whether there was an error of law. If they find that there was none, then an appellant may apply for permission to appeal at the Court of Appeal. Getting permission at this stage is quite difficult, as one will need to show a real chance of success at appeal, or another very strong reason why the appeal should be heard. [post_title] => First-Tier Tribunal and up - grounds of appeal [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => first-tier-tribunal-grounds-appeal [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-20 15:26:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:26:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64864 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64863 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-07 17:41:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-07 17:41:11 [post_content] => An asylum claim may be refused but the claimant may still be granted some leave which is not refugee status. In particular, it is possible to be granted:
  • humanitarian protection, when a claimant does not qualify for protection under the Refugee Convention (if they will not be persecuted because of a "Convention reason") but are still in need of international protection. For example, there might be a risk of serious harm if they return to their country of origin. As of February 2018, Libyan nationals are entitled to Humanitarian Protection but not all may be refugees.
  • leave under the Immigration Rules, for example on human rights grounds, on the basis that they have a partner in the UK or there would be "very significant difficulties to their reintegration in their country of origin" (under paragraph 276ADE of the Immigration Rules).
  • limited leave to remain outside of the rules until the applicant is 17.5 years old. This is typically granted to unaccompanied minors.
  • discretionary leave for those who are recognised victims of trafficking and need to stay in the UK, for example because they are assisting the police with inquiries or are seen as particularly vulnerable.
  • restricted leave for those who are excluded from the Refugee Convention, for example because they are war criminals, but removing them would breach their rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • discretionary leave for those who have a very serious medical condition which could not be treated in their country of origin.
If refugee status is refused and no other leave is granted, then a claimant may be given a right of appeal or his claim may be certified. A claim may be certified when it is considered "clearly unfounded". If a claim is certified, the asylum seeker may have a right of appeal but may only exercise it from outside the UK (see next module for more details). [post_title] => Negative decision [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => negative-decision [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-20 15:20:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:20:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64863 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64832 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-07 17:17:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-07 17:17:46 [post_content] => According to Home Office guidance, a decision on asylum claims should be taken within six months of the date the claim was first raised (which is usually taken to be the date of the screening interview rather than the date an asylum seeker calls the Home Office to claim asylum). In practice, the six month timeline is not always respected and some claimants wait over a year before their claim is decided. If the claim is accepted, an asylum seeker will be granted five years' refugee status. Refugees are allowed to live, work and study in the UK, and access public funds. Refugees may also apply for family reunion for family members, as set out in more detail in this training course. There is an integration fund available for those who have arrived in the UK shortly before claiming asylum and who need a small loan to start their life, for example to rent a room. The minimum amount of the loan is of £100 and the maximum is variable. Finally, a refugee should not use their national passport, as that might be seen by the Home Office as “re-availing themselves of the protection of their country of origin”, which is a ground for revocation of refugee status. To travel, refugees should apply for a Travel Document by using form TD112BRP. As of February 2018, the fee for a Travel Document is of £72. [post_title] => Positive decision [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => positive-decision [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-20 15:17:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:17:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64832 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64831 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-07 10:23:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-07 10:23:54 [post_content] => The interview will often be a difficult and stressful time for the claimant. They may be asked to reminisce traumatising moments. In addition, the interviewer's attitude or questioning might be one of disbelief, which might discourage or anger the claimant. This might lead a claimant not to "perform" well. That said, the importance of the interview cannot be over-estimated. When refusing a claim, the Home Office will overwhelmingly be relying on inconsistencies which came out of the interview. These are some small tips to "perform" as well as possible:
  • Claimants should be reminded to listen carefully to the questions asked and answer to that question. Answering to a different question might lead to inconsistencies.
  • It is OK for claimants to ask for a question to be repeated or rephrased. Interviewers may sometimes ask questions that the claimant does not understand. It is much preferable to ask for it to be repeated than to guess what was asked and answer wrongly.
  • It is also OK for claimants to correct the interviewer. For example, if an Indian claimant is asked about what family they have in Pakistan, it is perfectly fine for them to say "I think you mean India?".
  • If a claimant does not have the answer to a question, or does not remember, they should say so rather than inventing an answer. Dates are often tricky. It is preferable to say "I remember it was before I had my first child, and I remember it was during the summer because I wore a T-shirt" than saying "It was 15 August 1998" when that date is inaccurate. Inaccurate dates, even when close to the correct ones, will be used to refuse a claim.
Example [su_box title="Example: Roberto's interview"] This was a real interview by a client of mine. He was a gay asylum seeker. We'll call him Roberto, from, let's say, Venezuela (obviously the details have been changed for confidentiality). Roberto grew up in Venezuela, then lived in Nicaragua for a couple of years, before returning to Venezuela. During the interview, the interviewer was asking questions in chronological order, from his first education to university etc. The interviewer had not yet arrived at Roberto's stay in Nicaragua. Interviewing Officer: Have you had any relationships in Venezuela? Roberto: No. IO: Have you had any relationships before coming to the UK? R: Yes, I was in a long-term relationship in Nicaragua, with Sandro. [few questions later] IO: Have you had any other relationships apart from Sandro? R: Yes, with Pedro, in Venezuela. IO: You said before that you did not have any relationships in Venezuela, but you are now saying you were in one with Pedro. R: I thought that we were going in chronological order. I was in a relationship with Sandro before Pedro. In the decision to refuse, one of the reasons given was that Roberto contradicted himself. What happened is simply that Roberto was going in chronological order and, when asked the first time whether he had had any relationships in Venezuela, he thought that he was being asked about the period before he moved to Nicaragua. Of course, that was not the question and his answer was wrong. This example, although minor, shows the importance of claimants listening carefully to the questions and answer accordingly. [/su_box] [post_title] => Tips for a good interview [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => tips-good-interview [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 17:22:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 17:22:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64831 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64830 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-07 10:00:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-07 10:00:27 [post_content] => During the interview, the interviewer will be transcribing the questions and answers given at the interview. These can be hand-written notes although most interviews are typed these days. At the end of the substantive interview, claimants are given a copy of these written records. In addition, interviews can be 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). In practice, my recent experience is that most interviews are audio recorded even where claimants are represented and indeed have their legal representatives with them at the interview. Both the written records and audio records are given to the claimant at the end of the interview. It is very important for claimants and their legal representatives to review the written records shortly after the interview. They will usually have five working days to make any comments on the records (for example, if some answers were not transcribed accurately or the claimant made a mistake that they want to rectify). Again, it is my experience that, if the Home Office is minded to refuse, they will do so by relying on mistakes which might have been rectified. The fact that they were rectified earlier on boosts the credibility of the claimant at the appeal stage. In those five working days, the claimant and their legal representatives can also submit any new evidence they may have in support of the claim. If inconsistencies have arisen during the interview, and those inconsistencies may be "corrected" by submitting further evidence, that should be encouraged. [post_title] => After the substantive interview [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => after-the-substantive-interview [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 17:07:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 17:07:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64830 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64829 [post_author] => 4938 [post_date] => 2018-02-07 09:28:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-07 09:28:42 [post_content] => The "substantive interview" is where the Home Office will assess the credibility of the claimant’s account, and whether they should be granted asylum. This will be done by asking questions about what happened to the claimant in the past, when, where, with whom etc. Interviewers will generally ask questions about documents which were submitted before, to check that what the claimant says is consistent with the documents. When an inconsistency arises, interviewers should give the claimant an opportunity to explain it. In practice, inconsistencies, even when explained, will often still be used to refuse claims.  The interview is usually face to face. Some people are now invited to have their interview via video conference. That means that the asylum seeker will be in a room with their representative and, if needed, an interpreter, facing a screen. Interviews may last anywhere between one hour and six to seven hours (occasionally even longer), although I would say the average length is about long hours. The interviewer will often schedule breaks every one or two hours and it is also possible for the claimant to ask for breaks if needed.

Legal representative at the interview

Legal representatives are allowed to attend the interview but they may not interrupt unless to draw attention to a serious misunderstanding between their client and the interviewer. At the beginning of the interview, the interviewer will read the following declaration to the legal representative
Please do not intervene during the course of the interview unless it is necessary to avoid a significant misunderstanding. If you wish to make any comments you will have the opportunity to do so at the end of the interview.
Interventions by the legal representative may, therefore, be justified on this basis. Apart from that, legal representatives will usually not speak until the very end, when they will have an opportunity to comment on the interview, whether the conduct of it or some specific questions which were asked or not asked. Despite the apparent limited role of the legal representative at the interview, it is crucial in that they can take records and then check them against the Home Office records (see next unit). In addition, the mere presence of a legal representative may well act as a deterrent to the interviewer asking inappropriate questions or otherwise conducting themselves inappropriately. Whenever possible, the legal representative should attend.

Interpreter at the interview

A claimant has the right to ask for an interpreter to assist during the interview. An interpreter will be provided by the Home Office, and that will be the person interpreting during the interview. However, claimants may also bring their own interpreter at the interview. Like their legal representatives, the claimants' interpreters will usually remain silent during the interview but may also intervene if they believe that a significant misunderstanding is taking place.

Gender of interpreter and interviewer

In addition, as explained in the previous module, a claimant may ask at the screening interview whether they want to the interviewer and the interpreter to be of a specific gender they may feel more comfortable with. As with the screening interview, it is important to say if there were issues with understanding the interpreter. Raising this as an issue at a later stage, and in particular after a refusal, might be given less weight. [post_title] => During the substantive interview [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => during-the-substantive-interview [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 17:01:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 17:01:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.freemovement.org.uk/?post_type=course_unit&p=64829 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => course_unit [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )