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A Guide On Claiming Asylum In The UK as An Albanian

Claiming asylum in the UK as an Albanian can involve various legal procedures and potential challenges. Understanding your rights, the steps for application, and the appeal process are crucial for a successful claim.

For personalised assistance and expert legal guidance through your asylum claim, contact Total Law Immigration Lawyers. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to supporting you at every stage of your asylum journey. Contact us at 0333 305 9375 for comprehensive help suited to your unique circumstances.

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    An Overview of Claiming Asylum In The UK as An Albanian

    Albanian asylum seekers have become a significant aspect of the UK’s immigration landscape recently. Understanding the general reasons for illegal migration, specific factors, and the feasibility of their asylum claims provides a clearer picture of this complex issue.

    General Reasons Why Albanians Seek Asylum in the UK

    In 2022, around 16,000 Albanian citizens applied for asylum in the UK, constituting 16% of all asylum applicants.

    A notable increase in Albanian small boat arrivals was observed, with many claiming asylum​​. This surge indicates broader social and economic challenges in Albania, driving citizens to seek better opportunities and safety in the UK.

    Factors like unemployment, political instability, and limited prospects in Albania contribute to this Albanian migration.

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      Specific Factors Driving Albanians to Seek Asylum

      Several specific factors lead Albanians to seek asylum in the UK:

      The UK is perceived as offering better economic opportunities and a higher standard of living. The increase in Albanian migrants, particularly in 2022, was partly attributed to the influence of Albanian criminal gangs in France, facilitating the crossing into the UK​​.

      Moreover, issues such as human trafficking, organised crime, and blood feuds in Albania have been recognised as genuine threats by the UK, influencing the acceptance of some asylum claims​​​​.

      However, the UK’s Home Affairs Committee has also noted that Albania is a seemingly peaceful country, not at war, and is a candidate for the European countries, raising questions about the validity of many asylum claims​​​​.

      Feasibility of Albanian Asylum Claims in the UK

      The feasibility of Albanian asylum claims in the UK is complex. While Albania is considered a safe country, the UK initially accepted around 51% of asylum claims from Albanian nationals up to June 2022, asylum grant rates than many other European countries.

      This acceptance rate is notably higher for women (88%) compared to men (13%), highlighting the UK’s commitment to supporting victims of trafficking, who are disproportionately women​​. Despite this, the UK government has been working to return more Albanian nationals swiftly, particularly those Albanians arriving by small boats, under the assumption that most claims claimed asylum from Albanians are fraudulent or invalid given Albania’s ‘safe’ status​​​​.

      What Happens When You Arrive In The UK As An Albanian Asylum Seeker

      When Albanian asylum seekers arrive in the UK, they initially stay in temporary housing provided by the Home Office before moving to more permanent accommodation.

      During this process, they receive basic housing and a limited allowance for food but are generally ineligible for mainstream welfare benefits and are often prohibited from working. If granted permission to stay, they can usually remain in the UK for up to 5 years, with the option to apply for settlement or further leave afterwards.

      In 2022, a notable 85% of Albanians arriving by small boats applied for asylum, but only a small fraction were granted asylum, and none were granted refugee status. Overall, however, about 53% of claims by Albanians are accepted, reflecting the complex and varying nature of asylum outcomes in the UK.

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        How To Claim Asylum In The UK As an Albanian Citizen

        Claiming asylum in the UK as an Albanian citizen involves a structured process involving various stages, from the initial application to the final decision. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to navigate this process for Albanian asylum seekers UK.

        Step 1: Expressing the Intention to Seek Asylum

        Upon arrival in the UK, an Albanian citizen must express their intention to seek asylum. This can be done at the border or a police station if they have entered the country without passing through border control. Declining the intention to seek asylum at the earliest opportunity is crucial.

        Step 2: Asylum Screening Process

        After expressing the intention to seek asylum, the individual is referred to the Home Office for a screening interview. The screening is an initial interview where basic information is collected, including:

        • Personal details (name, age, nationality)
        • Reasons for seeking asylum
        • Fingerprints and photograph for identification

        This interview is not in-depth but serves to register the person in the asylum system.

        Step 3: Receipt of Application Registration Card (ARC)

        The asylum seeker receives an Application Registration Card (ARC) following the screening. This card serves as proof of their status in the UK and must be kept safe as it is needed for future appointments and services.

        Step 4: Asylum Interview (Substantive Interview)

        The substantive interview is a crucial part of the asylum process. Here, the asylum seeker needs to provide detailed information about:

        • Their identity and background
        • Exact reasons for fleeing Albania
        • Any evidence or documents that support their claim

        The interview is thorough and may be lengthy. Asylum seekers are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible about their situation and why they cannot return to Albania.

        Step 5: Legal Representation

        For Albanian asylum seekers in the UK, seeking legal representation from specialists like Total Law before the substantive interview is recommended. Our expertise in asylum claims can significantly aid in preparation and enhance your chances of a successful application.

        Step 6: Decision Waiting Period

        The average waiting time for an initial decision on an asylum claim in the UK typically ranges from one to three years.

        Specifically for Albanian asylum seekers, in 2021, two-thirds experienced a wait of at least two years for an initial decision from the Home Office, with 35% waiting three years or more.

        Step 7: Receiving the Decision

        The final decision on the asylum claim will be communicated in writing. If the claim is granted, the asylum seeker receives refugee status or another form of protection. Information about the right to appeal and the process is provided if the claim is denied.

        Additional Points

        • During the process, asylum seekers may be eligible for housing and financial aid support.
        • It’s essential to comply with all requirements, such as regular reporting to immigration officials if required.
        • Language support is available during interviews for those who need it.

        When Will I Know If I Have Been Granted Asylum In The UK?

        The Home Office aims to process asylum claims in the UK within six months, but currently, many applicants experience longer waits, with some waiting over a year. Legally, a decision should be made within 180 days of applying, and an interview is scheduled within 45 days. If granted, asylum typically allows a stay of five years in the UK, during which individuals can live, work, study, and access public funds such as benefits.

        The Asylum Backlog and Decision Timelines

        As of the end of 2022, the UK had a significant backlog of asylum cases, with around 132,000 applications awaiting an initial decision. This figure included about 161,000 people when considering family members applying alongside the principal applicants.

        The backlog reflects a more than a quarter to thirteen-fold increase from a decade earlier and is a historical high for the UK asylum system. Most of this increase occurred in the four years preceding 2022​​.

        By June 2023, the number of people waiting for a decision on their asylum claims had risen to over 175,000, a record high.

        The government set a target to clear the backlog of cases lodged before June 2022, but the rate of processing these cases suggests meeting this target would be challenging. The legacy backlog alone, comprising applications made before June 2022, still had 67,870 cases remaining by mid-2023​​​​.

        The increasing backlog is attributed to the complexity of cases, the paperwork provided by asylum seekers, limited resources available to process asylum applications, and appeals against initial decisions​​.

        Benefits and Rights During the Waiting Period

        During the waiting period, asylum seekers in the UK are not allowed to work and must rely on state support. Housing is provided, but asylum seekers need help to choose its location. The government provides minimal financial aid, often insufficient for daily needs.

        In response to the backlog, the Home Office has started granting work permits to asylum seekers waiting more than 12 months for a decision.

        This allows them to apply for jobs on the country’s shortage occupation list, providing a much-needed source of income and engagement during the prolonged waiting period​​.

        How To Check Asylum Claim Status

        Overview

        For asylum seekers in the UK, including those from Albania, staying informed about the status of their asylum claim is crucial. Regularly consulting with your legal adviser, such as Total Law, is essential to stay updated on the status of your asylum application in the UK, as there is no online system for this purpose.

        Total Law’s legal advisers can provide the most current information on your application’s progress.

        You will be issued an Application Registration Card (ARC) upon completing your initial screening interview. This credit card-sized document serves as an official confirmation of your status as an asylum seeker.

        It includes important details about your identity. When the Home Office cannot immediately provide an ARC, they will issue an appointment letter detailing further steps, which may involve additional appointments or completing an asylum application.`

        The significant backlog in processing asylum decisions is a known issue acknowledged by the government. Factors contributing to this delay include:

        • An increased volume of asylum applications.
        • The complexity of some cases.
        • A decrease in case worker productivity.

        These elements lead to extended waiting periods for decisions, making the role of your Total Law legal adviser crucial in helping you understand the process and stay informed.

        Additional Note

        • Asylum seekers should have their Home Office reference number handy when making inquiries.
        • It’s essential to follow the communication method recommended or required by the Home Office for their specific case.
        • Response times can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the current backlog in the asylum system.

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          Your Options If Your Asylum Claim Has Been Denied

          If your asylum claim in the UK has been denied, there are several options for appeal and further legal recourse. Understanding these options is crucial in determining your next steps.

          Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

          You can appeal the decision if your asylum claim is rejected. This appeal is made to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), independent of the Home Office. The request must be lodged within a specified period, usually 14 days from the decision date. It’s essential to provide detailed grounds for your appeal, explaining why you believe the decision to refuse your asylum claim was incorrect.

          Fresh Claim for Asylum

          If new evidence or changes in circumstances arise after your asylum claim is refused, you can submit a fresh asylum claim. This should include further information unavailable during the original decision-making process. The Home Office will assess whether the new information constitutes a fresh claim before proceeding to a substantive decision.

          Judicial Review

          Consider a judicial review if the legal process did not correctly decide your asylum claim. This is a legal challenge to the way a decision has been made rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion itself. It’s a complex process and requires specialist legal advice.

          Section 4 Support

          If you have appeal rights exhausted (ARE) and cannot return to your home country, you may be eligible for Section 4 support. This includes housing and financial aid if you meet specific criteria, such as taking reasonable steps to leave the UK or being unable to leave due to a physical condition​​.

          Legal Representation

          It is highly advisable to seek legal representation for any appeal or fresh claim process. A Total Law solicitor or legal advisor specialising in asylum and immigration law can provide valuable guidance and representation.

          Additional Note

          • Ensure you understand the deadlines for submitting appeals or fresh claims.
          • Stay informed about your rights and any changes in asylum laws that may affect your case.
          • For additional advice and assistance, consider seeking support from refugee and asylum seeker support organisations.

          Our Total Law Immigration Lawyers Can Help With Your Asylum Claim

          At Total Law Immigration Lawyers, we specialise in a wide range of services related to asylum claims. Our team is well-equipped to guide you through the initial stages of an asylum application, ensuring that your case is presented accurately and effectively. We also provide expert assistance in asylum appeals, leveraging our in-depth knowledge to challenge decisions at the First-tier and Upper Tribunals. For those in detention, we offer support with detained casework, including bail applications and renewals, to help navigate these challenging situations.

          Additionally, we assist with fresh claims for those whose circumstances have changed, guiding them through submitting new evidence. We also help asylum seekers with applications for permission to work, travel documents, BRP issues, and family reunion applications. Our comprehensive support aims to ensure success in these matters despite their complexity. For expert assistance with your asylum claim, contact Total Law Immigration Lawyers at 0333 305 9375.

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