Asylum – International Protection

Asylum – International Protection
The basis of the law on refugees is The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the status of refugees.  The definition of who is a refugee is made internationally, but the method of deciding whether individuals fit into this definition, and the standard of proof and evidence required, are matters for the laws of each individual country. The UK Border Agency will consider your asylum application in detail.  The onus is upon you to show that you have a well-founded fear of persecution.

The UN Convention defines a refugee as follows:-

“A person who has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of:-

  • race;
  • religion;
  • nationality;
  • membership of a particular social group; or 
  • political opinion, 

and who 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, is unwilling to return to it.”

After you attend the UK Border Agency in person to claim asylum, the UK Border Agency should issue you a SEF form to you [Statement of Evidence Form]. This form would be completed by you and your representative and submitted to the UK Border Agency [Home Office] for consideration.

The burden of proving your case rests with yourself, namely, it is up to you to satisfy the UK Border Agency [Home Office] that you have made out your claim.

The UK Border Agency [Home Office] will also have to consider your Human Rights, as your removal from the United Kingdom may place the Authorities in breach of its obligations under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights 1950 as incorporated into English Law by virtue of the Human Rights Act 1998. This is based on several factors including your right to a private and family life which you may have formed, or the right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in your country of origin. There are no internationally agreed procedures in deciding who falls within the UN Convention.  Governments that have signed the convention choose their own criteria that they will use to decide whether or not people qualify for this status and what standard of proof is required.

If it is satisfied that you meet the criteria of the 1951 United Nations Convention you will be granted status as a refugee, which will be given for a period of 5 years. You can apply to extend this leave at the end of the period.  This is also called `asylum’.  If the UK Border Agency does not believe that you meet the criteria specified by the 1951 United Nations Convention, but accepts that there are strong compassionate reasons why you should not have to return to your country, then you will be granted either Discretionary Leave or Humanitarian Protection pending on your claim, or leave under the Human Rights Act. This is limited leave for which you can apply to extend.

The UK Border Agency [Home Office] will then consider your claim may invite you to attend an interview to discuss your claim and clarify points within. There are several options that the UK Border Agency may choose when determining your case:-

  • If the UK Border Agency [Home Office] accepts your claim for asylum and deem you as a refugee, then you will be granted refuges status for 5 years. You case will then end and you will have to re-apply in 5 years for Indefinite Leave to Remain; or
  • If the UK Border Agency [Home Office] does not accept either of your Asylum claim or your Human Rights claim, your application will be refused. You will then have certain rights to appeal that decision if you chose to and apply for your case to be listed and heard in front of an Immigration Judge at the Immigration and Asylum Chamber [Immigration Tribunal] who will then independently consider you claim. The Judge may then either dismiss your appeal against that decision [to which if merits exist then you may be able to appeal further] or will allow your appeal [to which you will either be granted status in the United Kingdom, or the UK Border Agency may, if merits exist, appeal further]. I will advise you accordingly as and when this section becomes effective; or
  • If the UK Border Agency [Home Office] does not accept your Asylum claim but deems that they cannot return you back to your country of origin due to your Human Rights claim, your asylum application will be refused [refer above to point 2] but you will be given Limited Status in the United Kingdom [normally called Discretionary Leave] so that you can remain here. You will need to re-apply for further leave prior to the expiry of your permitted stay.

You are not required to leave the United Kingdom as long as your asylum application is outstanding.  However, should you choose to leave the UK before a decision is reached, then your claim will automatically terminate. Should your case be dismissed by the Court Service [the Immigration and Asylum Chamber – Immigration Tribunal] then steps should be taken to leave the United Kingdom following your unsuccessful claim [Refer to our section called Asylum and Immigration Tribunal – First Tier Tribunal for further information].

 Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, providing immediate legal assistance during proceedings. Please contact the Head of the Immigration Department Richard Harrold on 020 7388 8333 or email
Asylum – International Protection