Immigration and asylum
A guide for people who are in Northern Ireland under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. This guide is in English and Arabic here
Asylum is protection given by a country to someone (a refugee) who is fleeing persecution in their own country. It is given under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) prevents the UK government from sending anyone to a country where there is a real risk that they will be tortured, persecuted or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment.
Anyone in the UK has the right to seek asylum and government has a duty not to forcibly return you to a country where you have a genuine fear of being persecuted.
The right to seek asylum can never be limited. This does not mean it will always be granted.
How can I apply for Asylum?
The UK Visas & Immigration, a division of the Home Office, is the government agency responsible for granting asylum to refugees. Applying for asylum is complex. You should seek specialist advice from one of the agencies below.
To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution. This can be because of your race; religion; nationality; political opinion; or membership of a particular social group.
The UK Visas and Immigration may give you temporary permission to stay in the UK if there are humanitarian reasons, even if you do not qualify for recognition as a refugee.
Is there a human right to immigrate?
The right to seek asylum is separate to immigration. There is no human right to immigration, so governments can restrict and impose limits on migration, as long as it is fair and non-discriminatory.
I am not a citizen of Northern Ireland, do I still have human rights here?
Yes human rights apply to all human beings - they do not depend on citizenship.
Organisations who can provide information/advice include:
NI Community of Refugees & Asylum Seekers
(028) 9024 6699
The Law Centre (NI)
(028) 9024 4401 or (028) 7126 2433
UK Visas & Immigration
Tel: 0870 606 7766 or (028) 9019 1000
Textphone: 0800 389 8289
More contact details and how to make an appointment https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk
Solicitors in private practice
In addition, the Law Society solicitors database provides access to the contact details of firms and solicitors in the major cities, towns and villages in Northern Ireland.
EU Settlement Scheme
As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, most EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens and their family members wishing to continue living in the UK after Brexit must register with the EU Settlement Scheme. Applications are free. Assistance is available in Northern Ireland to help EU citizens complete the registration process.