Asylum seekers who have exhausted all appeal rights sometimes have fresh grounds or compelling new evidence with which they can make further submissions to the Home Office in support of their previous asylum claim. Some simply never had their claim fully considered the first time around due to poor quality legal representation or an appeal not being lodged in time. Many of these clients will be completely destitute, having spent years in enforced poverty and homelessness in the UK due to their lack of legal status. For most, returning home is not an option due to continued fears for their safety.
Mirela* was referred to Asylum Justice by a friend who we helped a long time ago. Mirela had spent 13 years in the UK having been refused asylum on multiple occasions. When she arrived to us, she had begun to lose all hope of every truly being able to call the UK home.
”In early December 2020, I was assigned my lawyer. After explaining my story to her she was very eager to help me and, most importantly, very positive at all times. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude filled me with renewed faith and hope, something which I had begun to lose during and following my detention in Yarl’s Wood centre.”
Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre frequently features in the news for its mistreatment of detainees. One previous detainee reported to Freedom from Torture that they “lived in constant fear of being sent back there” and similar to Mirela had “lost all faith in the system”. Thankfully, Mirela was signposted to us.
“From the moment my lawyer started work on the fresh claim, she demonstrated real dedication and work ethic. She communicated clearly, kindly, and gently at all times which both reassured me and made me feel comfortable. Even though I did not know her, she transmitted a great sense of protection to me during our phone calls, something very meaningful for anyone but especially for an asylum seeker. Her service has been outstanding.”
Like many organisations, during the pandemic we began to deliver our service remotely. This change hasn’t affected the quality or the impact of the work which we do, demonstrated by the fact that in 2020 we won 3/4 s of the fresh claims we submitted. When a fresh claim is successful, it transforms a client’s situation immediately, by granting them legal status and associated rights such as the opportunity to work and access mainstream support.
“I have now been granted leave to remain in the UK and that is all thanks to my lawyer and Asylum Justice. It would never have been possible without my lawyer. I would not still be in this country if she had not helped me. If I had not found Asylum Justice through my friend, I would have had nowhere to turn to. So, I am forever grateful that Asylum Justice exists.
“Please, please continue your great work and this great organisation that you have built to help people in need. You have no idea how greatly you impact the lives of asylum seekers.
There are many people like Mirela who at one point do not have right to remain but who are eligible for it or who will be granted it eventually – but only by accessing legal advice and representation. Private fees are unattainable for most people, so it is vital that there are free legal services available such as those which Asylum Justice offer.
*Please be aware we have not used the individual’s real name.