The European Migrant Crisis: please support the work of BHT’s Immigration Legal Service

Over the last few weeks, few will not have been moved by the plight of those risking everything to find a safe haven in Europe, away from regions where war, oppression and strife are destroying lives and communities.

BHT’s Immigration Legal Service is a team of immigration advisors and solicitors who provide free legal help to asylum seekers.

The Immigration Legal Service is currently representing a family fleeing the conflict in Syria in their asylum applications to the Home Office. This is the information about that family provided by my colleagues in the Immigration Legal Service.

“When the parents arrived in the UK in early 2014 they were granted asylum. Their two sons, who lived with them in Syria, then applied to join them in the UK under the refugee family reunion provisions of the Immigration Rules. Their younger son aged 16 was granted asylum.  However their older son, Khalil, being over 18, was refused entry to the UK. Fearing for his safety, Khalil had already fled to Lebanon and has since made the journey to the UK across ten European countries, including in a dinghy from Turkey to Greece.

“He eventually made it to Calais where two other British family members went to visit him by car.  However, he still had to make a dangerous and illegal journey hidden in a lorry in order to enter the UK. As a Syrian, Khalil will almost certainly be granted asylum.  Because of the ongoing crisis in Syria, the Home Office is now recognising Syrians as refugees and, accordingly, granting them leave to remain in the UK.

“Like many Syrians this family has nothing to return to in their own country. Despite the ongoing crisis in Syria, there is no exceptional Home Office policy to allow Syrian asylum seekers to enter to the UK and to seek asylum.

“However, if they can make it to the UK they most likely will be granted asylum. Had the Home Office allowed this family’s older son to be reunited with his family he would not have had to make the dangerous journey to the UK to claim asylum. We will now work to ensure that he is granted asylum and is able to restore his family life in safety.”

We represent asylum seekers of all nationalities and in the event that their applications are refused (the Home Office refuses more than half the asylum applications it receives), prepare their cases for appeal before a Judge. We have a higher than 60% success rate at appeal, thereby ensuring that people who should have been recognised as refugees by the Home Office get the protection they need.

We act for many asylum seeking children who have no family or relatives to turn to for support (last year we acted for more than 100 young people). We also act in trafficking cases, some domestic violence cases and judicial review work.

Under the recent government cuts to free legal aid there is no longer funding available to assist the family members of refugees in the UK to make applications to join their families. We receive limited funding for the work we do, which often does not cover the cost of the cases.

In order to ensure that our service remains available to everyone in need of our help we have to secure additional funding and ask that you donate what you can so that we can continue to help other asylum seekers like this family to move on from the trauma of conflict and persecution in their own countries and begin to rebuild their lives in a safe environment. Please give generously.

You can support our work by making a donation on our JustGiving page.

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