This week Your Legal Adviser
I live in UK from 2009 and a citizen of Bangladesh. While I was living in Bangladesh I was politically involved with a political organization. Now I am afraid of living in Bangladesh because I can be politically harassed by other political organization. Besides this, there are some political cases which lodged against me. Furthermore, I am apprehending that I have some life threatening issues, if I go to Bangladesh. For these reasons, I want to seek asylum from UK. Would you please advise me, as to how I can seek asylum from UK.
To stay in the UK as a refugee you must be unable to live safely in any part of your own country because you fear persecution there. If you’re stateless, your own country is the country you usually live in. This persecution must be because of your race or your religion or your nationality or your political opinion or anything else that puts you at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in your country, for example, your gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. You must have failed to get protection from authorities in your own country. You can include your partner and your children under 18 as ‘dependents’ in your application if they’re with you in the UK.
If you’re already in the UK, you and your dependents must bring documents that prove your UK address. You’ll need different documents depending on whether you’re living in your own accommodation or staying with someone else. You’ll need to provide documents showing your full name and address. This could be a bank statement or housing benefit book or council tax notice or tenancy agreement or household bill. Documents you should bring (if you have them) include: passports and travel documents, police registration certificates, identification documents, for example identity cards, birth and marriage certificates or school records and anything you think will help your application.
If you are staying with someone else then you’ll need to provide (i) a recent letter (less than 3 months old) from the person you’re staying with to confirm you have their permission to stay & (ii) documents showing the full name and address of the person you’re staying with, like a council tax notice, tenancy agreement or household bill.
You will be required to register your asylum claim at a ‘screening’. This is a meeting with an immigration officer where you tell them about your case. You’ll need to say if you or your dependents are taking any medication and give any relevant medical information. You must tell a Border Force officer that you want to claim asylum.
Your asylum interview will take place soon after your screening. Your application will usually be rejected if you don’t go to your asylum interview. You’ll get a letter telling you when and where to attend and if any of your dependants also need to be interviewed. You can choose to send a written statement to support your claim. This must be written in English and sent to your caseworker before your interview. Include your Home Office reference number.
You’ll usually be interviewed alone, without your family members. An interpreter will be provided, if you need one. The information you provide will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed to the authorities in your own country. In the interview you’ll have to explain, how you were persecuted in your country & why you’re afraid to go back to your country
Your application will usually be decided within 6 months. It may take longer if it’s complicated, for example, your supporting documents need to be verified or you need to attend more interviews or your personal circumstances need to be checked, for example because you have a criminal conviction or you’re currently being prosecuted.
Permission to stay as a refugee
You and your dependents may be given permission to stay in the UK for 5 years if you qualify for asylum. This is known as ‘leave to remain’. After 5 years, you can apply to settle in the UK.
Permission to stay for humanitarian reasons
You may get permission to stay for humanitarian reasons if you don’t qualify for asylum. This means you need to stay in the UK for your protection. You and your dependents may be given permission to stay in the UK for 5 years. This is known as ‘leave to enter’ or ‘leave to remain’. After 5 years, you can apply to settle in the UK.
Permission to stay for other reasons
You may get permission to stay for other reasons if you don’t qualify for permission to stay as a refugee or for humanitarian reasons. How long you can stay will depend on your situation. You may be able to apply to extend your stay or settle in the UK towards the end of your stay.
No reason to stay
You’ll be asked to leave the UK if you don’t qualify for asylum and your caseworker decides there’s no other reason for you to stay. You may be able to appeal against the decision.
A.B.M Shahjahan Akanda (Masum)
Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
He is the Head of the chamber of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Law for Nations’, which has expertise mainly in banking law, tax law, commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law,constitutional law, criminal law and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. He can be reached at – cell:01711459590, E-mail: [email protected]