Accessing immigration advice is a specialist service and The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) is a government body that regulates immigration advice.
Once you’ve referred the young person to the appropriate immigration service , it can move the process along and make things quicker if you have already supported the young person to prepare and gather the following information:
- Biometric residence permit (Old and new, photocopies, front and back)
- Immigration status documents/letters from the Home Office (if they have them)
- Passport(s) from their own country, issuing country, even if they are expired.
- Proof of Address
- Wage slips, benefit or tax credits letters ( If legal aid funded) Link back to legal page
- Details of the schools they attended in the UK ( if relevant )
The asylum and immigration systems in the UK are complex and young people will need extra support to navigate them. Below are some useful resources to go through with a young person so they have a better understanding of what to expect and the stages involved.
Helping separated young people to understand their rights
Coram’s Children’s Legal Centre Seeking Support is a guide for professionals working with separated children and young people: https://www.childrenslegalcentre.com/resources/seeking-support/
Information about the asylum process
This Right to Remain guide on asylum is written for children and young people https://youngasylumguide.org.uk/
The Right to Remain toolkit goes step by step through the different stages of the asylum system for anyone over 18. It also includes information about the immigration system. https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/ Translations available on the website.
Information for undocumented young people
There are many reasons a young person can become undocumented. Children inherit their parent’s immigration status and if this is not addressed young people can reach 18 without the right to work, to claim benefits, to rent or to study in the UK. This can affect young people who have moved to the UK and young people who are born in the UK if their parents were not settled or had citizenship at the time of their birth.
Coram’s Children’s Legal Centre has a library of factsheets on the rights of children and young people with insecure status with the relevant law and statutory guidance helpful for advocacy.
Factsheets include: Registering children as British Citizens, the EU Settlement Scheme, and accessing Leaving Care support.
What happens next?
At the appointment a trained immigration/asylum adviser/solicitor will talk to the young person to find out what has been going on for them and what next steps should happen.
As with all advice appointments, it’s important to encourage the practice of note taking and asking of any questions that they may have.
The immigration specialist at the appointment might;
- Tell the young person what information they need to gather to apply for certain documents.
- Help them to understand the process that is happening.
- Provide options and explain the consequences of each of those options
- Understand their legal rights and responsibilities
Immigration and asylum advice is very complex and this might take a few appointments.
You can continue to support the young person receiving immgration or asylum advice by;
- Helping to gather paperwork or documents
- Attending any further immgration appointments with them
- Research the topics with them discussed in the appointment so the young person becomes familiar with the terminology. The above links might be useful.
- Checking in with the young person to make sure they are up to date with any tasks the adviser/solicitor has set for them
- Ask the adviser/solicitor to email you/copy you in to any updates on the case
- Arrange regular time(s) with the adviser/solicitor for an update. The administrative side can sometimes take a while and feel like nothing is happening. This should be explained in the appointment, but if the young person is concerned, make sure there are contact details for them and yourself.
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