Asylum info’

Afghanistan and asylum support Oct 2021

Asylum – an overview

Refugee Action provides a useful glossary of terms such as “asylum-seeker”, “refugee” etc

Migrant Help 97-page booklet “Asylum Advice“, revised 2018, is a good place to start for guidance on anything that isn’t locally specific. The contents page lists topics from accommodation to voluntary return via benefits, FGM and LGTB+.

The UK Border Agency website explains who is entitled to asylum.

Refugee Action pages about developing a deeper understanding of the asylum/immigration system in the UK so that you can more effectively offer a more structured information and advice service that signposts to those qualified to give immigration advice:

Claiming asylum

Right to Remain toolkit

“a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It gives an overview of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at key stages, and actions you can take in support of your claim, or to help someone else.”

Application Registration Card (ARC)

 is a credit card sized document issued to asylum applicants in the UK. Find out how to complain if something goes wrong – for example, Immigration Staff failing to enrol accurate biometrics.

Asylum interview: what to expect, how to prepare and what to do after it.

Right to Remain has this great video – watch it to help someone going for their Home Office interview.

The Home Office guidance on conducting asylum substantive interviews was updated June 2019. Some practical developments are described in Right to Remain legal blog here.

The Home Office document gives guidance on good practice: “The interview should be conducted in a constructive spirit of cooperation between you, the claimant and their representative”.

The “principles and standards” set out for investigating the asylum claim are admirable. The interviewer is told to “not prejudge the claim or approach the interview with scepticism” and “focus on material facts”.

Interviewers are reminded that factors that can affect obtaining information in the interview include “past treatment by authority figures in the country of origin”, “language barriers”, “the ability of the interpreter to present an accurate representation of the claimant’s responses”, and “the working of the human memory – its fallibility and its strengths”.

Interviewers are told to “avoid compound questions”, and that “it is better if you ask questions one at a time”. The document includes suggestions of excellent practice in interviewing, such as “listening out for the unspoken”.

It adds: “… the substance of what happened during a significant event is potentially more important than precise dates, which may not always be consistent throughout an account. It is, for example, more important for you to obtain details of a prison’s organisation and regime whilst in detention, the prison’s whereabouts and so on, than to focus narrowly on the precise dates of detention which are unlikely to be verifiable and may be difficult to recall where someone has been detained and tortured for long periods.”

Biometric residence permits


Asylum seekers whose applications have failed may be put in detention before removal to their country of origin. About Immigration explains the detention process (2018).

Anti-Slavery and NRM (National Referral Mechanism)

The West Midland’s Anti-Slavery Partnership have created a National Referral Mechanism booklet which they have translated into several different languages that may be useful for SWVG volunteers to share with people they support

Migrants Organise have an illustrated guide to the National Referral Mechanism.

Removal and deportation – SWVG briefing

Voluntary return

Assisted voluntary returns resumed 13 July 2020.  If you know of people without leave who wish to return home please contact the Voluntary Returns Service to discuss the support options available to them: Telephone: 0300 0040 202 Opening hours 09:00-17:00. Online form:


A guide for refugees claiming benefits on the website. It’s quite basic but still has a lot of useful information: Claiming Universal Credit and other benefits if you are a refugee. See also Welcome: a guide for new refugees, more general guide on support available to refugees once their status has been granted by the Home Office updated September 2019. This is available in multiple languages, with a focus on countries from which the UK takes in more refugees.


Citizens Advice gives limited, but helpful, information on their public advice site.

An excellent briefing on immigration from the BBC, January 2020. You may also be interested in other resources on the BBC website from January 2020, covering issues relating to small boat crossings of the channel and ‘How has immigration changed in your area’, and a link to What would the UK be like without immigration?

National immigration statistics

… are published quarterly – see

Services to asylum-seekers

Migrant Help is a national charity offering support and guidance to vulnerable migrants, helping them feel protected, informed and safe.  They provide advice and guidance to asylum seekers, specialist support to victims of human trafficking and assist with the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme. Their asylum services provide free independent advice, guidance and information on the asylum process, accommodation, financial support, finding legal representation and any other asylum related matters. Migrant Help has the contract to support asylum seekers in the UK. Read more about them:

See their newsletters to keep up-to-date with AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility), their contract to support asylum seekers in the UK.

Research reports

Migration Observatory Resources

These briefings from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford look at different dimensions of migrant integration in the UK. We will add other links when more briefings are published. They are likely to cover additional dimensions, such as financial security, citizenship and discrimination.

Health: (July 2019)

Labour market: (July 2019)

Language: (July 2019)

Home Office

Home Office Indicators of Integration framework 2019‘ provides a practical guide for developing successful integration interventions and monitoring and evaluating their outcomes. This is an update of the 2004 framework published by the Home Office.