Help for refugees and asylum seekers to understand their rights
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Asylum law

Immigration laws are very complicated. Your rights will be different if you are a ‘refugee’, an ‘asylum seeker’, a ‘refused asylum seeker’ or someone with another immigration status. The Welsh Government wants to provide a sanctuary to anyone in need of support and protection. We try hard to make sure anyone in these situations can access services but this is not always possible.

The Welsh Government is not allowed to provide direct legal advice to any individual. It is very important that you get legal advice from a qualified and regulated solicitor. An organisation must be regulated by the ‘Office if the Immigration Services Commissioner’ (OISC) if they give you advice about your status. If they are not, they may be breaking the law. You can look for an OISC - regulated legal advisor in your area by searching on the OISC website.

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Adults seeking asylum – awaiting a decision
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The asylum application process can be very long and complex. It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

You may wish to read the ‘Right to Remain Toolkit’ which explains each stage of the ‘asylum journey’. The Toolkit is available in several languages.

The UK Government funds ‘Migrant Help’ to provide support to asylum seekers across the UK. Migrant Help can help you to apply for asylum and respond to issues you may have throughout the process. You can contact Migrant Help through their website.

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Young person seeking asylum
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The Welsh Government has produced three guides for young people to understand the asylum system and what you must do to apply to stay in the UK. We recommend that you read each of these guides to better understand the asylum process.

TGP Cymru also run a project to support young asylum seekers and refugees up to the age of 25 years. This includes support from someone who understands the asylum system well. It also offers opportunities to meet other young asylum seekers and refugees, and volunteering. You can find more details about this project at the TGP Cymru website.

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Granted refugee status
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As a refugee, you should be able to access services in Wales. However, you should check what immigration status you have been as there may be some restrictions. For example, the UK Government may have decided that you cannot access social security payments. Usually, the UK Government will only have provided you with up to 5 years ‘leave to remain’. You may have to reapply to stay in the UK towards the end of that period. You should seek legal advice when applying.

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Refused asylum
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If you have been refused asylum, it is crucial that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. You may have the right to appeal this decision.

You may wish to read the ‘Right to Remain Toolkit’ which explains each stage of the ‘asylum journey’. The Toolkit is available in several languages. The Toolkit includes information about appealing against an asylum application refusal. It also contains information about ‘Immigration Detention’ and ‘Deportation’.

It may be very hard to think about but the UK Government can sometimes help people to return to their country of origin. They can do this through ‘Assisted Voluntary Return’. This can include funding for you to set up your own business and ongoing support in your home country. You may feel that returning home may not be an option for you but you can find out more about the scheme on the UK Government website.

The Welsh Government funds a legal advice charity called ‘Asylum Justice’ through the Asylum Rights Programme (ARP). It is in place to provide expert advice to those who have been refused asylum. You can find more information about this service  at the Welsh Refugee Council website.

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Resettled refugee
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As a refugee, you should be able to access services in Wales. However, you should check what immigration status you have been as there may be some restrictions. For example, the UK Government may have decided that you cannot access social security payments. Usually, the UK Government will only have provided you with up to 5 years ‘leave to remain’. You may have to reapply to stay in the UK towards the end of that period. You should seek legal advice when applying.