Immigration and Asylum
The Leaving Care Team works with many young people who are seeking asylum in the UK who entered as a child. Firstly, they need to present to the Home Office to lodge their claim for Asylum. They will be assessed by the Home Office and referred to a local authority to care for them until their application is determined.
Dependent on age and assessment, under 16’s will usually be placed in foster care and 16 to 17 year olds will be placed in semi-independent shared accommodation. We will ensure that you have transferable skills, which can be applied in country of origin or the UK.
A plan for the future is drawn up. This plan is your Pathway Plan and must written and agreed by the time you are 16 and 3 months. It’s reviewed at least once every 6 months.
UASC leave will expire at 17 ½ years old. An application for an extension to leave to remain should be made before it expires in order for support to continue from the home office until a final decision is made. At 17 ½ years old UASC leave may expire which can affect your access to support such as welfare benefits, accommodation, healthcare and work. If you have indefinite leave to remain you are entitled to mainstream benefits beyond 18 years old.
If you are refused asylum and leave to remain you must let the Leaving Care Team know immediately so we can check:
- that you understand what this means
- what you need to do to get legal advice
- if you can legally appeal or make a new claim for asylum
You are responsible for attending your appointments e.g. for making a fresh asylum claims to the Home office, submitting evidence, asylum support applications. There may also be other types of appointments.
If you change your solicitor please inform the Leaving Care Team and:
- ensure that you have the letter and any other Home office papers about the decision in a safe place
- if you already have your travel documents keep them in a safe place
- if you have not yet received your travel documents then you must inform your solicitor of your new address so that it can be sent to you
Your Social Worker will say goodbye and your Personal Advisor is now your new worker. On or around your 18th birthday there are other changes that will affect you:
When you become 18 years old you will no longer be classed as a ‘looked after child’ and financial support from this department will cease as you will be eligible to claim state benefits.
If your status has expired and you have applied for an extension and are waiting for a decision about your appeal you cannot access permanent housing but you will be offered transitional housing until such time a decision is reached, about your immigration status.
If you are still waiting for a decision on your application you must:
- inform your solicitor of your new address
- ensure you have your original immigration documents and other papers about your asylum application in a safe place
- If you are unsure about what to do contact your Solicitor for legal advice or speak to your Personal Advisor or Social Worker for general advice
If you have made further submissions to the Home Office and you have not received an all rights exhausted decision you are eligible for welfare benefits. If you are making a completely fresh claim within the immigration rules you will not be eligible for welfare benefits and will be continue to be supported financially in the following ways:
- weekly subsistence payments in line with welfare benefits
- weekly accommodation and utility costs
- contribution towards Further Education College costs
- you could be asked to pay for mainstream further education courses post eighteen
For a while you will still have a Social Worker and a Personal Advisor working with you. Between the ages of 16 ½ and 18 the three of you and your carer will meet and decide who will be doing what over the next few months. Your Social Worker might continue with your statutory reviews. You will need to apply for a place at college, get a place on a training course or get a job.
Entry Level courses in English, Math’s and ESOL are free up until the age of 19. The idea is that everyone, including you, will play a part in preparing for your move from care. Regarding your immigration matters, you may need to make further applications to the Home Office regarding your immigration status in the UK.
You need to be making preparations with your Social Worker/ Personal Advisor /key worker to re-approach your solicitor. The local authority will ensure that you are supported to regularise your immigration status/ naturalisation/ passport in the UK before you reach the age of 18. Financial assistance for chargeable Home Office applications is based on a needs assessment post 18. You must have indefinite leave to remain to apply for permanent social housing in Southend-on-Sea.
Requests for Funding
Post 18+ the local authority will not automatically provide the following:
- funding for chargeable Home Office applications
- funding for passports or replacements
- funding to apply for naturalisation costs
Human Rights Assessment
If you have received an All Rights Exhausted Decision the local authority will carry out a Human Rights Assessment to assess your eligibility for future Leaving Care Services, your Personal Advisor will support you through this process. You can bring your own advocate or request an advocate to your Human Rights Assessment interview. By the time you reach the age of 20 your Personal Advisor would have already been planning with you your support needs specifically related to your immigration issues.
Immigration & Asylum Legal Advice
The Home Office will provide you with a list of legal Aid Solicitors but cannot recommend a solicitor to you. You must choose wisely as you can’t change your solicitor once instructed. To find a local representative who is properly regulated see:
- The OISC (for a regulated immigration or asylum adviser)
- The Law Society (for a solicitor specialising in immigration or asylum law)
- Legal aid is still available for asylum cases, cases of trafficking and certain applications made by victims of domestic violence. Please speak to your solicitor for more information
Legal Aid is available for:
- asylum appeals further submissions bases on asylum matters
- mixed cases, immigration / asylum
- trafficking cases excepted by the referral mechanism
- DV - protection of vulnerable men and women
Legal Aid is not available for:
- fresh immigration applicants under human rights grounds
Voluntarily through the Voluntary/Assisted Return
Young people can return to their countries of origin voluntarily through the Voluntary/Assisted return. If you are eligible, you can apply for:
- up to £2,000 which you can use to find somewhere to live, find a job or start a business in your home country
- help applying for travel documents
- help booking flights
Voluntary Returns Service
Telephone: 0300 004 0202 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm
Visit the Gov.uk website for more information.
Further Advice and Guidance:
- personal Advisor/Social Workers cannot provide immigration advice, or assist someone to make an immigration application
- your immigration support must come from a regulated legal adviser, such as a solicitor or barrister, or an immigration adviser regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)
Migrant Children’s Project
The support they can provide you includes:
- asylum, immigration and nationality law and policy
- age assessment
- support and accommodation
- health care
- legal aid and finding a lawyer
Email or telephone: 020 7636 8505
Young Refugee Service
Refugees and Befriending Projects
Life skills projects for refugees and asylum seekers aged 15-21
Opportunities to form friendships and widen social networks, learn a variety of practical skills, and nurture talents and interests, helping young people adjust to life in the UK and learn to live independently.
Home Office General Enquiries
- Croydon Contact Centre telephone: 03001232241
- Home Office General Enquiry Line: 0207 0354848
- Asylum Support Appeals Project – ASAP specialises in asylum support law and provides free legal representation for those appealing against UKBA’s decision to withdraw their support Telephone: 0207 729 3056
- Advice line: 0207 729 3042 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2pm to 4pm only)
Safeguarding & Risk
Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery Concerns contact Asylum Operations, UK Visa & Immigration, Lunar House, Croydon, CR9 2BY
Page last updated: 14/08/2019