What new rights and entitlements does a positive decision on your asylum application give you?
Receiving a positive decision on your asylum application by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) would mean that you are permitted to stay in the UK, but only temporarily. You will normally be given one of the following statuses: Refugee status, Humanitarian protection or Discretionary leave.
!Remember, each one of these three statuses gives you the same rights and entitlements as any one UK citizen. You are allowed to work, use health services and apply for housing and welfare benefits in the same way as other UK residents.
!Remember, if you have been receiving asylum support while waiting for your permission to stay in the UK, it will stop within 28 days of receiving your permission to stay in the UK. This might make it hard for you to sustain yourself and your family, especially if it takes you longer to secure employment. Register with the nearest office of your Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible. This is the government agency which deals with all claims for benefits and where your application will be prepared and processed.
You can find the contacts of your nearest Jobcentre Plus office by following this link.
Your right to work
You will receive your permission to work in a letter from the UKBA. You should contact Jobcentre Plus for any job related enquiries, guidance and tips on finding employment.
More information on your employment rights and further guidance can be found in the following online guide “Refugee Guide to Training and Employment”, produced by the Refugee Council.
Would you like to continue practicing your former occupation in the UK? In order to find out whether a qualification received overseas can be recognized in the UK, we would advise you to visit the website of the UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC). You can request an assessment of your qualifications online. However, please, be advised that you will be charged for this service!
Your right to use health services
Once receiving a positive decision on your asylum application, you are entitled to free health care in the UK. The free health care services provided by the NHS include emergency and routine medical treatment, maternity and child health, dental treatment, eye tests and glasses, certain medicine prescriptions.
Your entitlement to welfare benefits
You can apply for social security benefits, upon receiving a positive decision on your asylum application, if you have little or no income. There are a range of schemes within the social benefits system which you can apply under. For more information on the different benefits available and further guidelines on your eligibility, please see the section on Welfare Benefits displayed above.
Apart from the standard welfare benefits available to all UK citizens, you might also be able to apply for a Refugee Integration Loan (RIL). This is a loan from the government designed specifically for people with refugee status or humanitarian protection. Remember that while you can receive the RIL in addition to welfare benefits, unlike them this loan will have to be paid back in the future. The application form for the RIL must have been sent to you along with the decision letter from the UKBA, yet if you have not received it you can request one by contacting the Integration Loan Team at the UKBA on 020 8196 5440.
In order to discuss your benefits options in detail, please book an appointment with one of our immigration advisers on 02088036161, or contact your nearest office of Jobcentre Plus. More information on your entitlement to different welfare benefits can also be found in this short “Refugee Guide to Welfare Benefits”, produced by the Refugee Council.
It is important to know that your benefits application should be accompanied by the following documents: NASS 35 form (this form will be issued by the UKBA to all asylum seekers who have been granted a positive decision), Immigration status document (this is the letter granting you your new status), document confirming your identity with a photo, National Insurance number (you will have received your National Insurance number along with your letter from the UKBA confirming your status).
Your right to settlement in the UK
In order to stay permanently in the UK, upon receiving a positive decision on your asylum application, you will have to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which is also called “settlement”. The period after which you can apply for an ILR will depend on the status you are granted upon approval of your asylum application:
· A refugee status or humanitarian protection will allow you to stay in the UK for 5 years. You will have to apply for extension at the end of this period.
· A discretionary leave will allow you to stay in the UK for 3 years or less. You can apply for an extension of further 3 years at the end of this period. After spending 6 years in the UK with a discretionary leave, the UKBA should allow you to stay in the UK indefinitely.
!Remember, it is very important that you apply for extension before your permission to stay in the UK expires. Failing to do so might potentially affect your right to work or access benefits in the UK.
!Remember, in order to be granted an ILR, in each one of these three cases you will have to pass a life in the UK test which examines your knowledge of language and life in the UK.
!Remember, in each one of these three cases, the UKBA might review your case before the end of the period you have been given for temporary stay in the UK. If, for example, conditions in your country have improved and the UKBA considers that you are no longer in need of protection, it might decide that you should leave the country. You will have the right to appeal against this decision.
Your housing rights
Find a detailed article on your housing rights and advice on how to avoid homelessness in the next issue of this newsletter!