Monthly Archives: June 2016

What are you doing after the refugea status

If you’ve claimed asylum and been given refugee status, Asylum Support will stop28 days after the decision. It’ll stop 21 days later if you’ve been getting ‘section 4’ support.

This means you’ll:

  • stop getting your cash allowance (usually £36.95 per week)
  • have to move house – if you’ve been given somewhere to live as an asylum seeker

Once you’ve got refugee status, you’ll get permission to work in the UK – in any profession and at any skill level. If you’re not ready or able to look for work and have very little or no income, you can apply for welfare benefits instead.

You’ll also have to think about opening a bank account and getting a National Insurance number.

Find a new home

If you’ve been living somewhere as part of getting Asylum Support, you’ll have to move within 28 days of getting refugee status.

If you’re already living with friends or family, you don’t need to move – but you won’t be able to claim Housing Benefit, and it could affect other benefits you might get. If your friends or family are claiming Housing Benefit themselves, it might mean they receive less.

Talk to someone at your local Citizens Advice for more information.

If you can’t pay for housing yourself

Contact your local council or housing office as soon as you can. The Home Office don’t provide accommodation to refugees, but your local council will be able to talk you through your options.

Whether you can stay in the same area depends on things like:

  • how long you’ve lived there
  • whether you have family in the area
  • whether you’re at risk of becoming homeless

It’s worth knowing that there are long waiting lists for accommodation – you may be put in a bed and breakfast (B&B) or hostel temporarily.

You can apply for Housing Benefit if you can’t afford to pay the rent yourself – it doesn’t matter whether the local council found your place, or you found it yourself. Housing Benefit can take up to 6 weeks to come through.

Housing Benefit might not cover all of your rent, but you won’t usually have to pay a deposit.

If the local council finds you private accommodation through Housing Benefit, you might have to pay. Contact the housing charity Crisis if you need help paying a deposit.

Working

If you’re ready to look for work, you can search online.

If you’re in London, the Refugee Council’s employment advice and support service have a course that will help you if you’re not quite sure where to start.

Contact UK NARIC if you have qualifications from your home country – you’ll need to find their UK equivalent to find a similar job here. It costs at least £55.20 to do this.

Claiming benefits

You may be entitled to welfare benefits in the UK even though you’ll stop getting Asylum Support.

So you have a better idea, you might be entitled to benefits like:

  • Income Support – if you’re learning English (for at least 15 weeks) in order to find employment, and you’ve been in the UK less than a year
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance – if you can prove you’re looking for work
  • Employment and Support Allowance – if you’re unable to look for work because of a mental or physical disability
  • Pension Credit – if you’re over working age
  • Universal Credit – if you’re in certain areas of the UK
  • a refugee integration loan – to help pay for a rent deposit, household items, education and training for work

Contact your local Citizens Advice for guidance on how to apply and a better idea of whether you’re eligible.

You’ll need a National Insurance number to claim benefits – you’ll have applied for one at your interview with the Home Office when you first claimed asylum. You’ll also need it to pay tax and register with a doctor – everyone who works or studies in the UK has one.

Get a National Insurance number

Normally, you’ll get your National Insurance (NI) number through the post just after you get refugee status.

If you haven’t received a NI number, call the National Insurance number application line. Ask whether they’ve issued you with a NI number – if they haven’t, ask what you need to do to get one.

How to choose the best of immigration attorney

While Congress is trying to decide on immigration reform, I’ve been through the excruciating, year-and-a-half-long process of getting a long-term US visa. I wasn’t looking to work for an American company. I was looking to build a company and create jobs on American soil.

After trials, tribulations and a couple rejections, here I am, finally staring at a shiny sticker inside my worn-out Belarusian passport.

As many will tell you, immigrating to the US is really tough. The best way to start your own process is by having a consultation with an immigration attorney.

I worked with two different law firms and learned the hard way that choosing the right immigration attorney is extremely important. I hope my experience can help moving your startup to the US.

*Since I’m a software engineer turned entrepreneur, not a lawyer, nothing in this post should be considered as legal advice.

Tip 1: Don’t bargain hunt

Choosing blindly might result in you working with mediocre or terrible immigration attorneys. Some might be handling too many cases at the same time, thus making them unable to dedicate enough time for each client. Some don’t have enough experience in certain areas of immigration law. Some are just trying to charge the heck of their clients.

I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories and I had some bad experiences myself. Founders of technology startups should only work with the best attorneys. Time is precious. A few thousand dollars in savings are not worth months wasted because your visa petition was rejected.

But how do you find the best one? Well…

Tip 2: Get a referral from another founder

First of all, use your own network and try to find other founders who dealt with attorneys and obtained a long-term visa. The old fashion advice remains true: Word-of-mouth advertisement is powerful.

Can’t find those? Grow your network by flying to US for a few months on a standard B1/B2 visa. Attend events, network, invite other entrepreneurs for a coffee. FWD.us hosts some really good meetups that gather many international entrepreneurs.

Tip 3: Ask for references

Once you get a referral (or two) to a good attorney, have initial consultation. During the consultation, a good attorney will suggest visa options you should consider.

At the end, ask for references. A lawyer’s business is built on trust. A good immigration attorney should have no problem introducing you to a couple of his or her former happy clients.

Tip 4: Negotiate fixed fees ahead of time

Immigration attorneys, just like any other attorneys, charge for their time. However, some attorneys have fixed set of fees for standard procedures, such as preparing and filing your case, and responding to requests for evidence.

I found this option to be most appealing. If they’re experienced in your type of case, they should be able to estimate how much time it is going to take so you are prepared to invest, in time and in money.

Tip 5: Run the process in the cloud

Usually lawyers are very conservative when it comes to adopting new technologies. For security reasons, they stay away from cloud file storages.

However, dealing with mail and paper-based documents is the last thing you want to do. This length process will require you to submit a bunch of documents and sign many forms.

Make it clear with your lawyer that you want to sign documents electronically, use cloud storage and a project management system to handle your case. I insisted we use our homegrown PandaDoc, Google Drive and Asana.

Asana was particularly helpful – attorney handling my case assigned tasks when he needed me helping with research on my case. Thanks to using online ticketing software, I was able to be 100 percent sure I wasn’t holding up the process myself.

What are you doing then if your child live in UK illegally

unduhan-22If your child is living in the UK illegally, you should apply for them to live in the country legally before they’re 18. It’s a good idea because:

  • the application process will be easier if they’re under 18
  • they can continue with their education (they can’t study beyond 18 if they’re here illegally)
  • British citizens can work and receive benefits once they’re 18
  • British citizens can’t be deported

Once your child has a legal immigration status, you can apply to live in the UK legally as their parent.

If your child is over 18 they’ll have to legalise their status as an adult.

Get specialist help

You’ll always need the help of a specialist immigration adviser to register a child who’s living here illegally – the application is a complicated process.

To find out more about your options before visiting an expert, you can call theJoint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. They provide free, confidential advice to people living in the UK illegally.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Telephone: 020 7553 7440
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10am to 1pm
Calls cost 12p per minute from a landline, and from 3 to 45p from a mobile

If your child was born in the UK

If your child was born in the UK, there are two ways to get them a legal immigration status – register them as a British citizen, or apply for ‘discretionary leave to remain’.

Register your child as a British citizen

You can register your child as a British citizen after they’ve lived here for 10 years.

It’s the best option, because:

  • your child will be able to legally work
  • they can continue with their education after 16
  • British citizens can get NHS healthcare and are eligible for benefits

It costs £749, and the application is guaranteed to succeed.

Apply for discretionary leave to remain

You can apply for an immigration status called ‘discretionary leave to remain’ for your child after 7 years.

Decisions made on an individual basis so there’s no guarantee the application will succeed, and they won’t be eligible for any benefits when they reach 18.

If you get discretionary leave to remain for your child, you’ll have to:

  • renew it every 2.5 years (costing £649)
  • pay a £500 NHS fee every time you renew their leave
  • apply for citizenship eventually if you want them to live in the UK permanently

 

If your child was born outside the UK

Your only option is to apply for discretionary leave to remain.

They’ll be able to live and work in the UK, but won’t be entitled to benefits when they reach 18.

Are you in the UK illegally

If you’re living illegally in the UK, you might be able to apply for leave to remain or British citizenship. You’ll be able to legally work, access the NHS and receive benefits if you need them.

You can also get help returning to your home country if you choose to.

You’ll need help from an immigration specialist to make the application. Don’t worry – getting advice won’t put you at risk of being reported to the police, it’ll be completely confidential.

Get immigration advice

There are lots of ways of becoming a legal resident. An immigration specialist will decide which applies to you.

Your local Citizens Advice can help you find an adviser in your area, and understand your options to live here legally.

You can also call the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants , who will provide free and confidential advice about your options and chance of success.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Telephone: 020 7553 7440
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10am to1pm
Calls cost up to 12p per minute from landlines, 3p to 45p from mobiles

Ways to become a legal resident in the UK

Whether you can live in the UK legally will depend on your circumstances.

As an illegal resident your situation is unusual, so you won’t be able to make an application without the help of a specialist legal adviser.

You might be able to apply to stay in the UK if:

  • you’re aged between 18 and 24 and have lived here for more than half of your life
  • you’ve been living in the UK for a long time
  • returning to your home country would be dangerous
  • you’ve got strong relationships in the UK
  • you’ve got children in the UK

If you’ve got children living in the UK illegally, for example if they have not been registered for British citizenship or leave to remain, it’s important to register them as soon as you can.

If you can’t stay in the UK legally

If you can’t live in the UK legally but choose to remain here, life could be difficult. You might:

  • be exploited at work
  • struggle to find housing, as you won’t be eligible for government help
  • be detained and removed from the country

 

Choosing to leave the UK

You can go back to your home country voluntarily with help from the government.

Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get extra help to arrange and pay for your journey. You can call the Voluntary Departures and Assisted Voluntary Returns team to find out what help you can get.

Voluntary Departures and Assisted Voluntary Returns
Telephone: 0300 004 0202
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm
Calls cost up to 12p per minute from landlines, 3p to 45p from mobiles

Asylum interview tips

The asylum interview (or ‘substantive interview’) is an important step in your application for refugee status – it’s a chance for you to put your case across to someone from the Home Office. They’ll make a decision based on what you say.

Your interview will happen some time after your ‘screening’ – it could be anything from a week to a year or even later. The Home Office will send you a letter telling you when your interview will be.

It’s really important that you get advice from an immigration specialist before your interview. Your case is more likely to be successful if the evidence you have is prepared properly – it’s hard to do this on your own.

As an asylum seeker, you might be entitled to legal aid (depending on your savings and income). If you get legal aid, you won’t have to pay for legal advice. If you’re eligible, don’t let anyone charge you – you’ll spend money for no reason.

Before the interview

You should ask for the interview to be recorded. You must do this at least 24 hours before the interview.

It’s a good idea, just in case:

  • an interpreter makes a mistake
  • you’re not sure whether you mentioned something

Your interview letter will tell you how to do this, or you can contact your local Citizens Advice if you need help.

You can also ask for a male or female interviewer (and interpreter, if you need one) – do whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

Send a written statement

It’s a good idea to send a written statement to support your claim before your interview – it doesn’t matter whether you have a lawyer. It’s a chance for you to tell the Home Office more about your background before the interview.

Your interview letter will tell you how to send the statement. You should include:

  1. why you’re afraid of returning to your home country
  2. what happened to you (and when)

Planning travel

You’ll have to travel to your interview – they usually take place in big cities like Belfast, London, Leeds and Liverpool.

If you’re receiving Asylum Support, you should be sent a travel ticket. It may not arrive until the day before your interview. If it doesn’t arrive, call the number on your interview letter.

If you have small children

If you have small children, they may be distracting for your interviewer – even if you’re applying on their behalf.

Try finding a friend to look after your children – if you can’t find anyone, call the number on your interview letter. They’ll either:

  • reschedule a new date when you can find childcare
  • find childcare for you that’s close to the interview

 

What to take with you

Your interview can’t go ahead if you don’t take all of these with you (or whichever documents you have):

  • your application registration card (ARC)
  • your passport or travel document
  • a police registration certificate
  • a birth certificate
  • evidence of where you’re living – for example a utility bill

 

At the interview

The interview is your chance to talk about everything that’s led to you applying for asylum. It’s likely to be emotional for you, but it’s important that you’re honest throughout.

There’s no set time for how long the interview can take – it could last a few hours.

If you sent in a written statement beforehand, the questions will be based around the information you gave. You should also expect the interviewer to ask questions about:

  • why you’ve left your home country
  • why your home country is dangerous for you
  • how you got to the UK
  • when you got the UK

You can’t take anyone else to the interview (eg a friend or family member). It’ll just be you, the interviewer and the interpreter (if you have one).

If you don’t know how to answer a question

It’s fine to tell the interview that you don’t know the answer to a question – it’s better to say “I don’t know” rather than guess. Or if there’s something you’re not comfortable answering, you can say you don’t want to answer.

Ask for a break if you need one – the interviewer should understand.