Immigration and Asylum

The rules about who can come and live in the UK are very complicated. Whatever your reason for coming to the UK, you need to know what rights you have, how to avoid potential problems, and how to get good advice when you need it.

This section includes your rights whether you have come to the UK as a migrant worker, an asylum seeker or have refugee status.

Please note that the IMMIGRATION ACT 2014 was introduced in July 2014 and some of the provisions are already in place. Other provisions are due to be introduced over time therefore when consulting various websites below, you should check the date that it was last updated.

1. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT IMMIGRATION

The rules about who can come from other countries to live in the UK are very complicated.
This section gives you links to information on visas and coming to the UK as a visitor, worker or to study.

DO YOU NEED A VISA TO VISIT, STUDY OR WORK IN THE UK?

This link takes you through a series of questions to help you determine whether a visa is needed to enter the UK.

Source: Gov.uK

APPLYING FOR A VISA

Use this link to apply online for a UK visa to visit, work, study or join a family member or partner (eg spouse) already in the UK. Or use this service to apply for a certificate of entitlement to right of abode in the UK.

Sources: Gov.uk

MANAGING A VISA APPLICATION

This link gives information on the visa processing times, reporting a change, cancelling a visa and more information about fees

Source: Gov.uk

 

FAMILY VISAS

This link covers family visas including how to join family living in the UK, applying to remain with a family in the UK, what to do if your partner dies and what happens to your visa if you separate or divorce.

Source: Gov.uk

COMING TO WORK IN THE UK

This link provides information about the different ways that foreign nationals can come and work, on a paid or voluntary basis, in the UK. Explains the different types of visas that apply to different types of work.
Source: Gov.uk

COMING TO STUDY IN THE UK

This link provides useful information on the immigration rules that apply to those who come to study in the UK. There is also useful information on fees and finance and working whilst studying.

Source: UK Council for International Student Affairs

GENERAL VISITOR VISAS

A general visa covers visits to the UK from outside the EEA as a tourist on a holiday and visits to friends and family living in the UK. This link gives more information on the process and fees involved.

Source:Gov.uk

IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM TRIBUNAL GUIDANCE

Links to information about how to submit an appeal, hearings, fees and relevant rules and legislation can be found here
Source: Ministry of Justice

FORCED REMOVAL AND DEPORTATION

This section looks at forced removals. You may be at risk of removal if you do not have any leave to remain in the UK and haven't applied for any; if your asylum or immigration application is refused; or after the leave you had has expired.

Find out more about removal and deportation here
Source: Right to Remain

GUIDE TO UK IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM SYSTEM

The Right to Remain Toolkit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It gives an overview of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at key stages, and actions you can take in support of your claim, or to help someone else.

Click here to access the toolkit
Source: Right to Remain

2. INFORMATION FOR MIGRANT WORKERS

Coming to work in the UK from an A8 country

This information is for people coming to work in the UK from the A8 countries of the European Union. It gives information about your legal rights while you work here.

Find out more information here
Source: TUC Worksmart

Migrant workers - working in the UK

This section is for people coming to work in the UK from the European Union - particularly the new member countries. The link gives information about your legal rights while you work here.

Find out more information here
Source: workSMART TUC

Health and Safety for overseas workers

If you are working here from overseas, then this website will help you understand how British health and safety law protects you at work. If you employ migrant workers, it will help you make sure that you are looking after their health and safety properly.

Find out more information here
Source: Health and Safety Executive

3. INFORMATION FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES

Information on the asylum process and your rights as a refugee. For information on your rights to services, housing and benefits, please see '5. Benefits and Services if you have come from Abroad' below.

CLAIMING ASYLUM IN THE UK

You must apply for asylum if you want to stay in the UK as a refugee.To be eligible you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you fear persecution. This link explains the eligibility criteria and the process of applying.

Source:Gov.uk

ASYLUM MADE SIMPLE

The link explains basic laws on refugees, who qualifies as a refugee, the application process, appeal rights, and your rights on recognition as a refugee.

Find out more information here
Source: Asylum Aid

SUPPORT AVAILABLE IF YOU ARE AN ASYLUM SEEKER

You may be able to get housing and money to support you and your family while you’re waiting to find out if you’ll be given asylum. You can still apply for short-term support if you’ve been refused asylum and are preparing the leave the UK.

Find out more information here
Source:Gov.uk

APPEALING AND ASYLUM DECISION

This link explains the process of appealing and gives information about what happens at the hearing.
Source: Gov.uk

HOW TO GET GOOD ASYLUM ADVICE

When you first arrive in the UK, perhaps tired and frightened, probably your biggest worry is being allowed to stay. But if you don't get good advice about your asylum application you risk being refused, even if you have a good case.

Find tips on how to get good advice here
Source: Advice Now

SETTLEMENT: REFUGEE OR HUMANITARIAN PROTECTION

You can apply to settle in the UK (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve got a residence card.

This link explains the eligibility criteria and gives information on family reunions
Source: Gov.uk

APPLYING FOR A HOME OFFICE TRAVEL DOCUMENT

You can apply for a document to travel outside the UK if you’re not British and can’t use or get a passport from your country.

This link explains who can apply and the process of applying
Source: Gov.uk

APPLY TO STAY IN THE UK AS A STATELESS PERSON

You can apply to stay in the UK as a stateless person if you’re not recognised as a citizen of any country.

Find out more information here
Source: Gov.uk

 

4. BECOMING A BRITISH CITIZEN

 

Information on who is eligible and the process of applying can be found here
Source: Gov.uk

5. BENEFITS AND SERVICES IF YOU COME FROM ABROAD

Access to services and benefits can sometimes depend on your right to live in the UK. This section gives more information on what services can be accessed according to your status.

Are you subject to immigration control?

If you're a non-UK and non-EEA national come to the UK from abroad you may want to claim benefits. The right to claim benefits depends on what terms you've been allowed to enter the UK. This is called your immigration status. If you have limited rights and are subject to immigration control, you are not normally entitled to claim benefits and you may damage your chances of being allowed to stay in the UK if you do try to claim benefits.

This link explains what your rights are if you're subject to immigration control.
Source: Citizens Advice

Coming from abroad and claiming benefits - the habitual residence test

If you come to the UK from abroad and want to claim certain benefits, you must satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test.

Find out about the habitual residence test and whether you need to meet the conditions of the test here
Source: Citizens Advice

Homeless EU and EEA nationals

If you are from the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you may be able to claim certain benefits or get help from the council if you become homeless, but your rights will depend on how long you have been here and whether or not you are working.

Find out more information here
Source: Shelter

Housing rights and access to benefits

The link below gives you information on your rights to housing and benefits according to your status, whether you have indefinite leave or are an EEA worker.

Find out more information here
Source: Housing Rights Information

If you don’t have the right to reside in the UK - claiming benefits

If you come to the UK from abroad and want to claim certain benefits, you must satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test. This applies to British nationals returning to the UK after time abroad, as well as people coming to the UK from other countries.

Find out more information about the right to reside and what your options might be if you don’t have it here
Source: Citizens Advice

 

6. TRACING FAMILY MEMBERS

International Family Tracing

To find your missing relatives the International Red Cross will need as much information as possible. They will help you fill out a form and send this information to the Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society in the country you think your relative is in, or to the International Committee of the Red Cross who will try to find your family.

Find out more information here
Source: British Red Cross

7. VOLUNTARY RETURN

Returning to Your Country of Origin

Choices provide free confidential advice and information if you are considering returning to your country voluntarily. If you decide not to return they offer referral to other services. If you decide you want to return they support you with applying for travel documents and arranging a flight. They help you plan your return and give you information on packages of reintegration support that may be available in your country.

Find out more information here

 

8. HELPFUL TOOLS

We have provided a variety of tools below to help you with your problem but if you still need help, you can click on FIND LOCAL AGENCIES WHO CAN HELP YOU for information about local agencies who may be able to assist you further.

FACT SHEETS AND LEAFLETS

Asylum Support Appeals Project

The factsheets are easy-to-use resources for anyone with questions about asylum support. While the information in the fact sheets is not designed to substitute advice or representation, this information can help you to understand the asylum support system.

Find out more information here

Asylum Help

You can access multilingual information on the asylum process and support entitlements here

Immigration Law Practitioners Association

Although for professionals, this website contains many useful factsheets on immigration and asylum. Please click here to be taken to the website.

NATIONAL HELPLINES

Asylum Aid Advice line

This advice line offers free one-off legal advice to asylum seekers, refugees, and individuals or organisations who work to support them. If you do not speak English, it would be best if you have someone with you who can interpret. Asylum Aid cannot provide telephone interpretation for Advice Line calls

Telephone: 020 7354 9264

Asylum Help UK

Asylum Help provides confidential and impartial advice and guidance to adult asylum seekers and their dependants throughout the UK in a language they understand

Telephone: 0808 8000 630

Asylum Support Application UK

Asylum Support Application UK provides assistance in completing your application for asylum support and application to notify the Home Office of any change of circumstances

Telephone: 0808 8000 631

Barka

Barka UK operates a free information and confidentiality telephone line for the citizens of Central and Eastern Europe (A10 nationals from – Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria). Barka UK’s free telephone line number is open from 9.00 - 14.00 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). The service is provided in: Polish, Russian, and English languages.

Telephone: 0800 171 2926

Children’s Legal Centre (CLC)

The CLC Migrant Children’s Project aims to ensure that refugee, asylum seeking and migrant children are able to obtain the services and assistance to which they are legally entitled. CLC provides advice on their rights and entitlements, and on the impact of immigration law on services to children. If you would like to speak to an advisor regarding refugee, asylum seeking and migrant children and their access to services and support

Telephone 01206 877918

Children’s Panel

Call Children’s Panel if you’re a child in the UK on your own and applying for asylum

Telephone: 0808 8080 500

Citizens Advice

Advice by phone is available from Citizens Advice Bureaux 
Telephone: 0344 2451295

Student Advice Line

UK Council for International Student Affairs- an advice line for students from abroad

Telephone: 020 7788 9214

WEBSITES USED IN THIS SECTION

Advice Now

Advicenow is an independent, not-for-profit website, run by the charity Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education.
http://www.advicenow.org.uk/

Asylum Aid

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.
http://www.asylumaid.org.uk/

Asylum Help

Asylum Help, part of the Migrant Help organisation, provides independent advice and guidance to asylum seekers across the UK. Migrant Help is a UK charity that has been delivering support services to migrants in the UK since 1963.
http://asylumhelpuk.org/

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross are a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are.
http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us

Choices

Choices provide free confidential advice and information if you are considering returning to your country voluntarily. If you decide not to return they offer referral to other services. If you decide you want to return they support you with applying for travel documents and arranging a flight. They help you plan your return and give you information on packages of reintegration support that may be available in your country.
http://www.choices-avr.org.uk/

Citizens Advice

The Adviceguide website is the main public information service of Citizens Advice, providing people with round-the-clock access to CAB information on their rights - including benefits, housing and employment, and on debt, consumer and legal issues.
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england.htm

Gov.uk

The websites of all government departments and many other agencies and public bodies
www.gov.uk

Housing Rights Information

The Housing rights information website provides more information about the rights and options you have if you have recently come to the UK.
http://www.housing-rights.info/index.php

Immigration Law Practitioners Association

The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) is a professional association the majority of whose members are barristers, solicitors and advocates practising in all aspects of immigration, asylum and nationality law. Academics, non-governmental organisations and individuals with a substantial interest in the law are also members.
http://www.ilpa.org.uk/pages/about-us.html

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice works to protect the public and reduce reoffending, and to provide a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for victims and the public.
http://www.justice.gov.uk/

Right to Remain

Right to Remain is a national human rights organisation, founded in 1995 (as the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns). We provide advice, support and resources about campaigning for the right to remain in the UK, and we campaign for justice within the immigration and asylum system more broadly
http://righttoremain.org.uk/index.html

Shelter

Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place.
http://england.shelter.org.uk/home

UK Council for International Student Affairs

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) is the UK’s national advisory body serving the interests of international students and those who work with them.
http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/

workSMART: TUC

workSMART, from the TUC, is here to help today's working people get the best out of the world of work.
www.worksmart.org.uk