Migrant Support

We have a national reputation for our work protecting and promoting the legal rights of migrants to access support and shelter.

We advise and represent destitute asylum seekers, failed asylum seekers, or other migrants with no recourse to public funds to help secure adequate support. This support can come from local authorities or from the UK Visa and Immigration Service (formerly the UK Border Agency). The support which is available from the UK Visa and Immigration Services is often referred to as “NASS” support.

We also have close links with regional frontline providers of advice and assistance to the migrant community. Our solicitors are active members of the Housing and Immigration Group and we have close ties with the national charity, the Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP). We have previously provided a volunteer solicitor as a duty advocate for ASAP before the first tier tribunal (Asylum Support).

We act in relation to all aspects of migrant support law:

  • Refusals or discontinuation of asylum support
  • Dispersal, relocation and disruption or private and family life
  • Local authority support
  • Adequacy of support

REFUSAL OR DISCONTINUATION OF ASYLUM SUPPORT

We advise about decisions to discontinue or refuse applications for support under section 4, section 95 or section 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This includes decisions that a person is not destitute, does not meet the relevant criteria or is not eligible for support under section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 because they did not claim asylum as soon as they should have.

We pursue appeals to the First Tier Tribunal (Asylum Support). Whilst Legal Aid is not available for us to attend tribunal hearings we have close links with the Asylum Support Appeals Project, a charity which can often provide free representation before the tribunal. Where necessary we challenge decisions by way of judicial review proceedings. We have previously helped to secure a number of landmark decisions and judgements on behalf of our clients.


DISPERSAL, RELOCATION AND DISRUPTION OF PRIVATE AND FAMILY LIFE

We assist recipients of asylum support to resist or pursue the dispersal/relocation of their asylum support accomodation.

We help to challenge other decisions which may disrupt a person’s private or family life. This includes where the conditions on asylum support force families to separate or where an application to add a family member as a dependant to a person’s asylum support is refused. We acted in the case of R (MK and TM) v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 671 where the Court of Appeal clarified the law regarding the separation of families receiving section 4 support.


LOCAL AUTHORITY SUPPORT

We represent vulnerable adults, families with children, and young people who require support from local authorities. This includes support under the Care Act 2014 for adults with care needs, support for families under the Children Act 1989, support for young people previously in the care of the local authority and support in other situations where it is required to avoid a breach of a person’s human rights.

We acted in the case of R (VC) v Newcastle City Council and SSHD [2011] EWHC 2673 (Admin) establishing that failed asylum-seeking families with children should usually be supported by local authorities because it was unlikely the austere regime afforded by section 4 support would ever be sufficient to adequately safeguard and promote the needs of the children.


ADEQUACY OF SUPPORT

We help clients to ensure the support they receive is adequate. This includes challenges to the standard of accommodation provided under section 4, section 95 and section 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, which must meet certain minimum requirements. It also includes disputes about the adequacy of accommodation and financial (or non-financial) support provided by local authorities. Disputes often arise about whether the support being provided is adequate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.


WILL I HAVE TO PAY FOR LEGAL ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION?

Legal Aid is generally available for these types of work subject to meeting financial criteria. If you think you may be eligible for Legal Aid we can take some financial details from you during an initial telephone call or meeting and generally we will be able to give you an indication as to whether you qualify for legal aid at that point. The financial test involves an assessment of your (and where relevant your family’s) income and capital. You can check whether you are eligible for legal aid by going to the LAA’s website.

If you are not eligible for legal aid we can discuss with you the likely cost of you paying privately for the work we do for you. Depending on the nature of the work, it will often be possible for us to work on the basis of a fixed fee or on the basis that we will limit our costs to an agreed sum at each stage of your case. Our costs may vary depending on the level of experience of the person dealing with your case.