Asylum is protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their own country. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution.

If you are at risk of persecution in your own country and need protection, you can apply for ‘asylum’ in another country. This is given under the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees Relating to the Status of Refugees.

An ‘asylum seeker’ is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for the government to make a decision. Asylum seekers have permission to stay in the UK while their claim is being decided.

If the government considers they will be at risk of persecution they will be granted ‘refugee’ status and permission to remain in the UK.

UK Visas and Immigration, which is part of the Home Office, is responsible for processing all claims.

Comprehensive details of on all aspects of applying for asylum to the UK, including:

  • who can apply for asylum in the UK
  • how the asylum application is processed
  • what an asylum applicant can expect while their application is being considered
  • what happens after a decision has been made
  • how to appeal against an unsuccessful application 

is available at this link.

Further information can be found at the GOV.UK website.

Information on where to obtain legal advice on immigration and asylum problems can be found at this link.

Advice and Support on Asylum Issues

  • The Refugee Council offer practical support and advice to refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK.
  • Refugee Action is a registered charity providing advice and support to asylum seekers and refugees.
  • Shelter gives advice and advocacy to people in housing need. The charity provides information on homelessness, renting and leasing houses, repossession, repairs, neighbourhood issues, eviction and finding and paying for a home.
  • The British Red Cross are a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they, are enabling  vulnerable people at home and overseas to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their own communities.
  • Asylum Aid is an independent, national charity working to secure protection for people seeking refuge in the UK from persecution and human rights abuses abroad.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provides guidance on refugee and asylum law and policy to the UK government, legal practitioners, non-governmental organisations and many others. Where appropriate UNHCR takes up cases and raises issues of concern.

The Gateway Protection Programme (GPP) was the UK quota refugee scheme providing assistance to refugees designated as especially vulnerable by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

It was co-funded by the UK Border Agency and the European Refugee Fund (ERFIII) and had been running since 2004.

The Gateway Protection Programme has now closed. Between 2004 and 2020 it helped to resettle the most vulnerable people from refugee camps across the globe.

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