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Asylum in the UK from Albania

The UK government has stressed that Albanian migrants to the UK may not need international protection as their country is relatively safe. As a result, claiming asylum in the UK can be challenging for Albanian citizens.

For more information on how to claim UK asylum as an Albanian, speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers at IAS. Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online today.

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    By working with IAS for your or your employee’s work visa, you make sure that you have an expert eye and hands on your case to boost your chances of success.

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    An Overview of Claiming Asylum In The UK as An Albanian

    A significant number of Albanian nationals have claimed asylum in the UK in recent years. In 2022, 15,925 Albanians sought asylum in the UK, more than triple the number from the previous year.

    This trend has raised questions about the feasibility of these claims and prompted the UK government to implement measures to reduce the numbers. If you are an Albanian intending to seek asylum in the UK, it’s important to understand how the recent immigration measures might impact your claim. 

    Why Albanians are Seeking Asylum in the UK

    Economic factors are one of the primary motivations behind the migration of Albanians to the UK. Albania is known for its high poverty rate, and this has led to many citizens pursuing better job opportunities and increased incomes in the UK.  

    There are also longstanding issues related to corruption, trafficking, blood feuds, gang-related violence, and sexual and domestic violence. These factors likely also contribute to the high number of asylum applicants, particularly in 2022. 

    The UK Government’s Perspective on Albanian Asylum Claims

    Although social issues such as human trafficking are recognised as genuine threats by the UK government, the significant influx in asylum claims from Albanians led to speculations on the viability of their claims. 

    In a report published by the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, Albania was deemed a seemingly peaceful country because it is not at war, and it is, in fact, a candidate to join the European Union. The UK MPs stated that there was little evidence that Albanians are at risk in their country and need asylum in the UK. 

    As such, the government stopped routinely granting asylum to Albanians. They made a deal with the Albanian government to disrupt criminal gangs and illegal migration. This deal also saw the return of several migrants back to Albania, and it created a deterrent effect, which reduced the number of Albanian migrants coming into the UK. 

    However, the committee MPs also acknowledged that some Albanian asylum seekers, particularly women, may have been trafficked and need protection. Due to the UK’s obligation to support trafficking victims, the MPs recommended appropriate safeguards to be put in place before victims are returned to Albania. 

    Is it Still Possible for Albanians to Seek Asylum in the UK?

    The UK government still grants asylum to Albanian citizens, although the number of successful applications is lower than in previous years. By June 2023, only 19% of claims were granted, more than half of whom were women and children. 

    If you have genuine reasons to seek asylum in the UK, it’s important to present a solid case and explain explicitly why you need international protection. Our immigration lawyers at IAS can help you prepare and submit your asylum claim. Call +44 (0)333 305 9375 to speak with one of our lawyers.  

    What Happens When You Arrive In The UK as an Albanian Asylum Seeker

    When you arrive in the UK, an officer at the border control will take your details and transfer your case to the immigration authorities for a screening interview.

    If you do not have a place to stay, the Home Office will initially provide you with temporary housing and eventually move you to a permanent accommodation, where you’ll stay until your case is decided.

    You may also receive a limited allowance for food. However, you will not be eligible for welfare or other public benefits. 

    How To Claim Asylum In The UK as an Albanian Citizen

    Claiming asylum in the UK involves various stages and is typically a structured process. You must follow each step carefully to have a successful application. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to claim asylum in the UK as an Albanian. 

    Express Your Interest to Claim Asylum

    You can only claim asylum in the UK when you’re within the country. As such, once you enter the UK, you should immediately inform a border force officer at your port of entry of your intention to claim asylum.

    If you were already living in the UK before you decided to claim asylum, you should call the asylum intake unit to express your interest. 

    The border control officer or the asylum intake unit will take your details and may ask you basic questions about you and your family. 

    Attend a Screening Interview

    You must officially register your asylum claim at a screening interview with an immigration officer. 

    If you claim asylum at a port of entry, you will have your screening immediately at the UK border. However, if you claim asylum while already in the UK, the asylum intake unit will inform you where to attend a screening appointment.

    At the screening, you will be photographed and your fingerprints taken. You can ask for a male or female interviewer, and if you don’t speak English, you can request an interpreter.

    Your interviewer will ask you questions on why you want to claim asylum. If you have any written or documented evidence that can support your claim, you should present it. 

    You will be asked about your family life, particularly if you have a dependent or partner who is claiming asylum with you. The officer will also want to know if you have accommodation arrangements. Furthermore, you should inform the officer if you have any medical condition or are under medication.

    Receive an Application Registration Card (ARC)

    After your screening interview, the Home Office will review your case to determine if it can be considered in the UK. If they decide that your case cannot be considered, you will be sent to a safe country where your case will be handled.

    However, if they decide that your case can be considered in the UK, you will be sent an Asylum Registration Card (ARC), and your case will be given to a caseworker. The Home Office might also send you a questionnaire to complete and return. 

    Your ARC will include information on who you are and whether you have permission to work and get health or education services. You must always bring your card with you to future meetings or reporting events. 

    If you were detained on arrival to the UK, you may not be sent an ARC. Instead, you might get an appointment letter telling you the next steps to take. 

    Attend a Substantive Interview

    You might need to attend a substantive interview after your screening. If your partner or children under 18 were included as dependents in your application, they may also be required to attend.

    However, depending on the evidence gathered during screening and any completed questionnaires, the Home Office may grant you protection status without you having to attend an interview.

    Note that if you’re asked to attend an interview and you do not, your application may be withdrawn. You have the right to bring a legal representative to your interview and request for an interpreter if you don’t speak English.

    During the substantive interview, an officer will question you further on your application. It’s essential to explain your situation, including any persecution you faced and why you fear returning to your country.

    You’ll need to submit original identity documents like a birth certificate, passport, or national ID card and any evidence of persecution by post before or after your interview. 

    How To Check Asylum Claim Status

    When you’ve completed your interview, the Home Office will review your case. While you’re awaiting a decision, you can stay updated with the status of your application. 

    The Home Office recommends two ways to track your application. First is to go through a legal representative. An immigration lawyer can help you get updates from the Home Office on your behalf. Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375, and one of our lawyers will provide you with the right support.

    Another option is to contact the Home Office directly. You can do so by mailing them at PO Box 471, Dover, CT16 9FN.

    Speak to our legal team today. They can help with any matter.

    When Will I Know If I Have Been Granted Asylum In The UK?

    Once your case has been decided, the Home Office will inform you of the outcome of your application. The waiting time to get a decision on UK asylum cases is usually between 1 and 3 years. 

    The lengthy processing time might be influenced by the complexity of the case and the volume of asylum applications being processed. For example, if your supporting documents need to be verified, you need to attend more interviews, or your personal circumstances need to be investigated, it will take longer to process your case.

    If you urgently need to get a decision, you or your legal representative should write to the Home Office. You should provide reasons why you need an urgent decision, for instance, if you’ve been separated from your family due to the delay or you have a medical issue.

    If your claim is successful, you will either be granted refugee or humanitarian protection status. You will be able to live, work, and study in the UK for 5 years. Afterwards, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), and one year later, you may qualify for British citizenship.

    Your Options If Your Asylum Claim Has Been Denied

    If you do not qualify to stay in the UK for refugee, humanitarian, or other reasons, you will be asked to leave the country. However, you may be able to appeal the Home Office’s decision. Here are your options:

    Appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal

    You or your immigration lawyer can launch an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal within 14 days of receiving the refusal letter from the Home office. If you submit an appeal past the deadline, you must explain why, and the tribunal will decide if they can still hear your case.

    You can appeal by filling out and submitting Form IAFT5 online or via post. You may need to include your supporting documents. You may be asked to attend a hearing depending on the evidence you submitted. Otherwise, the tribunal will make a decision based on your submissions. 

    You will receive a decision within 6 weeks. The tribunal’s decision will either:

    • Dismiss your appeal and uphold the Home Office’s original decision or
    • Allow your appeal and ask the Home Office to reconsider your application. 

    Appeal to the Upper Tribunal

    If the First-tier Tribunal refuses your appeal, you may apply to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal. You must do so within 14 days of receiving the First-tier Tribunal’s decision.

    To appeal, download and fill in the Upper Tribunal permission request form and send it with the appropriate documents to the address on the form. You will usually get a decision on your case from the Upper Tribunal within 28 days. 

    Appeal to a Higher Court

    If the Upper Tribunal dismisses your case, you may be able to appeal to any of the following higher courts:

    • The Court of Appeal in England and Wales
    • The Court of Session in Scotland
    • The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.

    File a Fresh Claim

    If you have exhausted all your rights of appeal and you have new evidence to support your case, you can file a fresh claim to the Home Office and request a new decision on your case.

    The Home Office will consider your new evidence, and if it is sufficient, will grant you refugee or humanitarian protection status.  

    Our team of legal experts can help you obtain an UK from Albania.

    Our Total Law Immigration Lawyers Can Help With Your Asylum Claim

    Making an asylum application in the UK involves various lengthy and complicated legal procedures. Additionally, the UK government frequently come up new policies to deter illegal immigration and reduce the number of individuals seeking asylum.

    If you have a strong reason to seek asylum in the UK, you will need expert legal representation. Our immigration lawyers at IAS have worked on several asylum claims and can help you present your case before the Home Office.

    To get started, call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or fill out the online contact form and we will get reach out to you.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    You should submit the following supporting documents along with your application:

    • Passports and travel documents
    • Identification documents, such as identity cards, birth and marriage certificates or school records.
    • Any evidence that will help your application.
    • Proof of your UK address if you’re already living in the UK.

    You can apply for asylum in the UK if you have a criminal record. However, depending on the nature and severity of the crime, it might impact the outcome of your claim. Discuss your situation with an immigration lawyer to help you understand your options.

    While waiting for a decision, you may not be allowed to work, but you will receive free accomodation and weekly stipends. However, if your case has been pending for more than 12 months, you may be allowed to apply for jobs in the shortage occupation list to augment your income.

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