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Can International Students Apply For Asylum In UK?

Those who are studying in the UK and become eligible for asylum during their studies may worry that they will not be able to get asylum in the UK due to their studies. While acquiring asylum in the UK when you are already in the country on a visa is difficult, it is not impossible.

It is best to seek legal advice if you intend to apply for asylum in the UK as a student. Contact a legal team member at Total Law to get help with your application today. Call us at 0333 305 9375 to get started.

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    Can International Students Apply For Asylum In UK?

    International students studying in the UK on a student visa may become eligible for asylum during the time their visa is valid. Where this is the case, having a student visa does not automatically make the person ineligible for asylum.

    Although many people who claim asylum in the UK will do so upon entry into the country, many will also enter the UK on a visa, such as a student visa, work visa, or even visit visa, and then apply either upon arrival or at a later date when eligible.

    Not every asylum seeker will make their claim as soon as they arrive in the country, and there are plenty of good reasons why this may be the case. Yet, those who are applying in a way like this will need to be aware that the Home Office may use this fact against you and your asylum application.

    Not applying immediately upon arrival may be viewed by the UK Home Office as an argument that the applicant is not in any real danger. They could also argue that the application made by the individual was dishonest.

    In cases where the applicant applies towards the end of their visa, an argument could be made by the Home Office that the individual is applying for asylum because their visa is expiring.

    This is why it is so important for applicants to ensure that their applications are as honest as possible and that they can obtain legal representation to do so, as this can aid their claim.

    While this may seem discouraging to some, it is important to note that even though some UK laws around asylum may be difficult, there are many successful asylum applicants in the UK every year. At the end of June 2022, around 76% of all Home Office initial decisions on applications resulted in the granting of refugee status or additional forms of protection in the UK.

    The UK Home Office, in this instance, found many claims to be legitimate even if they entered the UK through means that could be considered to be ‘irregular’. Therefore, this should not be seen as discouraging, and applicants should instead see it as a reason to ensure they meet application requirements and have legal aid to assist the process.

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      Applying For Asylum As An International Student: The Process


      The application process for asylum is the same whether you are an international student or not; however, in some situations, the applicant’s university may have resources that can help them with their asylum application. Students should contact their university office for international students to find out if their university has any specific resources for this.

      Applicants also need to keep their university up-to-date on changes regarding their immigration status. In some cases, asylum seekers will be charged international fees by a university; however, individual institutions will have different policies regarding this.

      Students can also query decisions if universities categorise them as international students.

      How To Apply

      The first step to applying for asylum in the UK is to register the case with an immigration officer. This can be done either immediately upon arriving in the UK or later on, after your arrival, once you are eligible for asylum.

      After you register your claim, there will be an initial screening interview. At this interview, the immigration officer will need to verify your name and nationality, and they will ask questions regarding your reasons for claiming asylum.

      At the screening, applicants should ensure that they have the following documents prepared and ready:

      • A valid passport.
      • Travel documentation.
      • ID documents, such as birth certificates, school records, or marriage certificates.
      • Any other documents that may aid in your application’s success

      Those who are already living in the UK or studying in the UK will also need to provide proof of their address. This means that those who are living in university accommodations could provide copies of a tenancy agreement or a bank statement that shows the accurate address of the university accommodation.

      After the screening interview has been conducted, the applicant’s case will be reviewed by the Home Office. At this point, applicants should expect to receive an asylum registration card (ARC), which is usable to prove identity and gain access to educational and health services in the UK.

      It is also to be expected for applicants to be called into a follow-up interview with the Home Office if further information is required for a decision to be made on the case.

      This is known as a substantive interview and functions as an opportunity for the applicant to provide further information on what type of persecution they would face if they were to return to their home country.

      Those who are called into this interview will need to send documents to the Home Office beforehand, including passports, birth certificates, and a national ID card if this is required. In this instance, the documents must be original copies.

      After a substantive interview, the Home Office will decide on the case.

      The Interview And Screening Process: An Overview

      When applying for asylum in the UK, applicants must attend a screening interview with an immigration officer, whom they will tell about their case. This will be done at the UK border or at a screening office location if the applicant applies after arriving in the UK.

      At a screening interview, applicants should expect the following:

      • To be asked questions regarding who they are and where they are from.
      • To have their photograph taken.
      • To have their fingerprints taken.

      At a physical screening interview, the applicant will be asked why they wish to seek asylum. It is recommended to bring written evidence that will support the claim in this instance.

      At a screening interview, those who are on medications or who have dependents on medication should inform the screening officer of this.

      Those who have their screenings in the UK will need to call up the asylum intake unit. They will call back and ask simple questions regarding the applicant and their family. Questions regarding the reasoning for the application will not be asked at this point.

      You will then need to attend your interview. All documents needed for your application will need to be brought along, as well as any dependents who may be claiming asylum alongside you.

      Your Rights As An International Student Seeking Asylum In The UK

      Those who are students in the UK while they seek asylum can continue with their studies while they wait on the decision for their claim. However, some unique situations may see a no-study condition attached to your case. If this happens to you, contact the Home Office, as this may be an error

      There are some universities in the UK, which are known as sanctuary universities, that offer sanctuary scholarships and support for students who are asylum seekers or refugees.

      This is provided to support students who may have struggled previously to access higher education because of their immigration status.

      Once you have applied for asylum and have obtained asylum seeker status, you will not be eligible for student finance; however, those who are successful in their applications will be able to access it once they have received refugee status or humanitarian protection status in the UK.

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        How To Make An Asylum Appeal If Asylum Is Denied

        Should your asylum application be unsuccessful, it is possible to appeal this decision. You will receive a letter that will state the reason for the refusal of asylum. In this letter, you will also find information on whether or not you can appeal this decision.

        If appealing from within the UK, applicants have 14 days to do so from the date on which they were notified that asylum was refused. If outside of the UK, then the applicant will have 28 days to appeal from the date they were notified that asylum was refused.

        If your asylum application has been refused, you can appeal to their First-Tier Tribunal if the Home Office did one of the following:

        • Refused a protection claim.
        • Revoked protection status.
        • Refused a human rights claim.
        • Refused residence documentation or deported you under the Immigration Regulations 2016 Act.
        • Revoked British citizenship.
        • Refused or revoked travel permits or family permits under the EU Settlement Scheme, or restricted rights to enter or leave the UK under these permits
        • Refuse or revoke a permit, or deport you if you are a worker on the frontier.
        • refused or revoked your leave, or deported you if you are a S2 healthcare visitor.

        Tribunals are independent of the government, so a judge will listen to both parties before they make a decision.

        To appeal from within the UK, you must use the online government service to submit your appeal, add documents to support it, ask for a hearing, and get an appeal decision. It costs £80 for an appeal without a hearing or £140 for an appeal without a hearing. However, those who get asylum support and legal aid and those under 18 who receive services from their local council may not have to pay.

        To appeal from outside the UK, applicants can use online government services to submit their appeal, add documents, ask for a hearing, and obtain a decision. This service costs £80 without a hearing or £140 with a hearing; however, those who get legal aid may not have to pay.

        After this, the tribunal will decide to allow your appeal, but this does not mean that you will be granted asylum. Instead, this means that the Home Office needs to reconsider its decision on your claim. Or, the tribunal will dismiss your appeal and uphold the original decision, and you will be informed of what you can do next.

        Alternative Ways To Remain In The UK As An International Student

        Those who are international students and are unable to return to their own country may be able to stay in the UK in ways other than by claiming asylum.

        There are certain nationality-specific routes in the UK for those from Hong Kong, Ukraine, and Afghanistan.

        Additionally, it is possible to switch to other visa types; after graduating from a university course, it could be possible to apply for a work visa, yet they will have to pay the relevant application fees for this.

        Skilled Worker visas may be a possibility, but fees for this visa application can range from £719 to £1,500, depending on the individual’s circumstances and skillset.

        Depending on the type of qualification that is acquired, it may be possible to apply for a Start-Up or Innovator Visa. If you have a great idea for a unique and original business to establish in the UK, this visa is possible. However, the idea will need to have received adequate endorsements, and the applicant will need to have £50,000 ready to invest in the business.

        There are other options as well, including the UK Ancestry Visa, which is available to Commonwealth citizens who have a grandparent who was born in the UK. The Global Talent Visa is available to those who are rising stars in research, the arts, academia, digital technology, or culture.

        Temporary worker visas are also an option for government-authorised exchange workers and charity worker applicants.

        How Our Total Law Immigration Solicitors Can Help You

        Those looking to make an asylum claim in the UK as international students are unlikely to seek asylum immediately upon entering the UK. However, it is still possible to obtain asylum and get granted refugee status if you are a student in the UK.

        Genuine asylum claimants who wish to study in the UK can obtain university scholarships for asylum seekers as well. This is not an easy process, however, and can take a long time; therefore, having a skilled immigration lawyer help you through the asylum process can be helpful.

        A skilled immigration lawyer from Total Law can inform you of immigration rules in the UK and eligibility criteria. Our legal team can also assist you through the asylum application process and help you prepare your supporting documents.

        Should you need to appeal your asylum case, our solicitors can also help you make a successful appeal.

        Working with our legal team can help you make a successful claim for asylum. Contact us today at 0333 305 9375 to get started.

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