Each application for asylum made since March 2007 has been dealt with by a single case worker who will liaise with the applicant throughout the process. If the application for asylum is unsuccessful the case worker dealing with it will explain whether the applicant has the right to appeal and the procedure to be followed.
An unsuccessful asylum applicant may still be granted leave to remain in the UK on humanitarian grounds if the case worker dealing with the application thinks it is appropriate to do so.
UK Asylum Statistics
In 2007 23, 430 applications for asylum were made in the UK. In that year the UK Border Agency made decisions in 22,890 cases. Of those decisions only 17% were granted asylum. A further 10% of applicants were given leave to remain on other grounds. The remaining 73% of applications for asylum were refused outright. It is clear from these figures that the vast majority of applicants will be unsuccessful.
Appeals Against a Refusal to Grant Asylum
The case worker who has dealt with the application will inform the failed asylum seeker whether they have the right to appeal. If they do have the right to appeal, the case worker will provide the form for making an appeal and inform the applicant of the relevant time limits.
Failed asylum seekers who are in receipt of asylum support benefits will continue to receive these while they appeal. If they decide not to appeal the benefits will stop at the end of the time limit for appealing.
Grounds for Appeal
In order to be able to appeal against a refusal to grant asylum there must be grounds for appeal. Possible grounds include:
- A decision made contrary to the immigration rules or law;
- Racial discrimination;
- Breach of human rights.
Where an asylum application was refused but the applicant was given leave to remain under other grounds for at least 12 months they may still be able to appeal against the refusal to grant asylum status.
Not all appellants will be allowed to stay in the UK whilst they appeal. In cases where the applicant had no basis at all for their asylum application they may be returned to their country and have to pursue any appeal from there.
Appeals must be made within the stated time limits – an appeal that might otherwise have been successful could be turned down simply because it was made too late. The time limit for appeals made in the UK is usually 10 working days.
Legal Advice for Failed Asylum Seekers
Failed asylum seekers with the right to appeal should take legal advice from an OISC registered immigration adviser before proceeding. Expert advice and representation – which may be available free depending on the applicant’s means – is also available from the Immigration Advisory Service.
The application form for making an appeal must be completed in English and a legal adviser will be familiar with the available grounds for appeal.
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
Appeals against immigration decisions, including those related to asylum, are made to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT). The AIT is an independent judicial body appointed by the Lord Chancellor. One or more Tribunal members will decide appeals, not all of whom will be legally qualified. Hearings take place at different locations around the UK.
A decision of the AIT regarding an appeal is known as a determination and will be sent to the parties in writing. In some cases the parties may be able to request a re-determination of an appeal if they disagree with the AIT’s decision.
After an Asylum Appeal
The whole appeal process, from receipt by the AIT of an appeal to their written determination being issued, should take about six weeks. If the appeal is successful the applicant will be given leave to remain and should receive assistance from their case worker to settle in the UK.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, and the failed asylum seeker has no other legal recourse open to them, they will be expected to leave the UK. The case worker who dealt with the application will explain what the failed asylum seeker needs to do prior to their departure. Those who can leave voluntarily should do so – those who do not will face deportation. Failed asylum seekers who breach any conditions placed on their continuing stay in the UK may be held in detention until they can be deported.