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Transfer Of Refugee Status

Individuals of refugee status who have been offered Asylum by another country are under obligation to submit to the standard immigration control. In some exceptional cases, the UK assumes responsibility for the protection of the individual and as such offer him/her leave to remain as Refugees in the UK.

Individuals who are identified by the UNHCR as refugees under its mandate (i.e. mandate refugees not conventional refugees) who have not been offered asylum by a country are not permitted to apply for a transfer of refugee status.

Individuals who have been recognized as refugees in another country but still wishes to enter the UK as Refugees can do so by any of these two options:

  • By making an application transferring their refugee status from the Host country to the United Kingdom; or
  • By making a claim for Asylum on the basis of fear of persecution in the host country if he still fears persecution in that country.

For a transfer of refugee status under the first option above, it will involve consideration outside the rules under the discretion of the secretary of state. On the other hand, an Asylum claim will fail to be taken into consideration under the immigration Rules in the Second point like every other claim for Asylum but will also be liable for consideration under the removal procedure of the Safe Third Country. More so, some applications will fail being considered because of the United Kingdom’s commitment under the European Agreement on the Transfer of Responsibility for Refugees (EATRR), and the existence of a formal consent of validity to the EATRR by the country that acknowledged the applicant as a refugee. Please note that the European Agreement on the Transfer of Responsibility for Refugees (EATRR) is a council of Europe Agreement and is not a part of the domestic laws of the UK.

THE EUROPEAN AGREEMENT ON THE TRANSFER OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR REFUGEES (EATRR)

There are few criteria through which the UK will agree to transfer of responsibility for a refugee in agreement with the EATRR, granting him/her leave to remain. These criteria are:

  • That the individual is legally resided in the UK on the condition that he/she is not an illegal emigrant or have not illegally stayed beyond permitted time; and is not making the application abroad or at a port.
  • That the individual has under the 1951 convention or the 1967 Protocol by one of the other countries that has formally consented the EATRR; been granted the status of a refugee.
  • That there has been an event of transfer of responsibility.
Deemed transfer of responsibility under the EATRR

Transfer of responsible of an applicant will be considered to have occurred if in addition to the first two of the above conditions, the following criteria below are fulfilled:

  • The individual in accordance to the authorities has successfully spent two years continuously in the UK;
  • In accordance with the authorities in this circumstance means:
    • With leave, apart from the leave in any of the excluded categories listed below:
    • Waiting for the UKBA’s decision on the application for leave rather than any of the excluded categories listed below.
  • The addition to the qualifying period in this category is all visits the applicant has made to other countries for less than three months in succession or six months in total.
  1. The time an individual spends incarcerated due to being convicted for criminal offences or an unresolved appeal against an immigration decision which was dismissed eventually do not count as part of the two years qualifying period.
  2. Leave of entry granted for the primary purpose of studying, receiving treatment or training is part of the excluded categories which will not count as part of the two year qualifying period; whereas, leaves in order categories will not be excluded and as such will be.
  3. Any leave awarded to the applying individual, which will grant him/her permanent residence in the UK like in circumstance where the individual has been granted permanent leave to remain; the individual is not entitled to apply in this category.
  4. If the individual has been authorized to reside in the United Kingdom beyond the validity of travel document issued by the host country. Given the authority to reside should be explained within the context of the advice on with the agreement of the authorities” as stated above. More so, this condition will not be met in these circumstances:
    • That the extension was authorized mainly for the purpose of study or training;
    • That the involved individuals can still reenter to the host country. If the UK requests re-admission in the space of six months within which the applicant’s conventional travel document expired, the applicant will be re-admissible to the Home country. In a situation where the locations of the individual are not defined in a way that the for application to reenter the Home country cannot be done within six months of the travel document’s expiry especially in situations where the individual is an illegal entrant; this request however might be made within six months of the individual’s being noticed by the authorities of the UK, in as much as it is within two years of expiry of the travel document.

If an application is not refused under the EATRR, the application will also be considered under the discretionary basis outside of the EATRR.

Discretionary Cases

The reasons why some applications for the transfer of refugee status does not fall under the EATRR provision is because the individual has been acknowledged as a refugee by a country that has not signed the EATRR, or for the reason that the refugee does not fulfill the term of the EATRR. On these aspects, consideration should be distinctive by treating each case uniquely.

The responsibility for such situation should not be transferred on the basis that the applicant just wishes to reside in the UK; rather it should be accepted if the United Kingdom is the most suitable place for long term refuge of the applicant.

These applications should be done at a British diplomatic post in another country, a port or within the UK. Interviews in this case are not necessary determinants for the refusal of an applicant’s application. Furthermore, if the Case worker is uncertain about any aspect of the individual’s application, he may schedule an interview in order to clarify issues and as well gather more information.

While the caseworkers evaluates these applications, certain factors comes to bear, these are:

  • The length of time an individual spent in the first country of stay in comparison with the length of time spent in the UK.
  • The strength of family ties or other affiliations the individual has with the host country compared with the UK; and
  • Sympathetic circumstances that will evoke irresistible interest or attention.
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