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What To Do If Detained By Immigration

If you are in the UK illegally, then you run the risk of being detained by immigration officials. Even during this process, you still have rights and are entitled to legal representation. It is important that you have an action plan in place in case the worst happens, which if you're in the UK illegally, is highly likely to happen.

Unfortunately, for many illegal immigrants, they often have little in the way of support or anywhere to turn to. In this article, we will provide some helpful advice for what to do if you have been detained, and give you some strategies to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of staying in the UK.

Where Am I Most Likely To Be Detained?

You could in theory be detained at any point during your stay in the UK as an illegal immigrant, but there are certainly times that you are significantly more likely to be detained. Of course, this information is not likely to prevent you being detained in the first place, but could help in the preparation required when you are detained. The list below is of the most likely places you are likely to be detained in the UK if you're here illegally:

  • Entering the country for the first time
  • When claiming asylum at a screening interview
  • When you have been refused asylum (most likely at your home address)
  • When you visit an office for your regular sign in

Of course, these are not the only occasions that you could be detained. You could be detained at any point, and you should bear this in mind when it comes to preparing for detention.

How To Prepare For Being Detained

Of course, it is difficult to give an exhaustive list of preparations that you should make if you are likely to be detained. There are significantly different circumstances that depend upon your situation and life. But underneath, we have laid out a checklist that we believe should be the minimum preparation that any illegal immigrant should make when there is a likelihood that they could be detained.

  • Have a list of emergency contacts - this could be vital, especially if you have family in the UK. It will need to contain a list of those who will need to be informed of your detention. These need to include family members and of course any legal representation that you may have already. You will need to ensure that you leave a copy with a friend/loved one, so they know what to do
  • Medicines - if you are on medication, it is important that you keep these with you at all times. If possible, also take your prescription - if you are detained, it will help to ensure that you keep receiving the medication that you need
  • Copies of your documents - these may be required if you can get legal help. They should not be taken from you

There are many other things that you may wish to consider, but if you are detained, these will most likely be removed from you. So ensure that you have these things as a minimum to ensure that you can get access to the people and medication that you need.

Who Should Not Be Detained

There are several mitigating circumstances where illegal immigrants should not be detained. The Home Office set out the current policy in 2016 that prevents the detention of illegal immigrants in many at risk categories, as laid out below:

  • Those suffering from mental illness or impairment - this depends on the seriousness of the condition - if you or a family member has a diagnosis, it is important to keep this documentation with you.
  • Victims of torture
  • Victims of sexual or gender based violence (including female genital mutilation)
  • Victims of modern slavery or human trafficking
  • Illegal immigrants who are pregnant
  • Those with serious disability
  • Those with serious illness
  • Those aged over 70
  • Transexual or intersex persons

Documentary evidence may be required to prove any of these circumstances, but if you have proof, you should not be detained. If you need help or have any queries on who should and should not be detained, you should speak to our immigration solicitors can help to establish whether you should be exempt from detention.

When Will I Be Removed From The Country

If you have been detained in an immigration detention centre, then it is likely that the Home Office will seek to remove you from the country. That being said, the process for doing so can be painfully slow. There is no time limit for immigration detentions in the UK, and it is possible that you could be held in an immigration detention centre indefinitely. It is for this reason that you need to ensure that you have legal advice in your corner. A copy of your emergency contacts should be left with a loved one or a friend so that they can contact your solicitor.

You may be extremely worried about being returned to your country of origin. In many cases illegal immigrants come from some of the world's most dangerous countries. It is the inherent danger of these countries that makes illegal immigrants take the risk to come to the United Kingdom in the first place and seek asylum. If your country of origin is dangerous, or you face persecution if you go back, please let our legal team know, and we will do all that we can to ensure that you are not returned to a country where you are likely to come to harm.

Where Can I Get More Advice?

If you need advice for yourself or a friend/loved one, then please speak to one of our immigration lawyers. Get in touch today, and we can start the process of trying to assist you during your/your loved one's detention. We have helped significant numbers of those whose plight seemed impossible, so please get in touch.

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