HL Deb 10 December 2001 vol 629 c167WA
Baroness Sharples

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps are required by asylum seekers to gain asylum status in the United Kingdom; what steps they take to verify entitlement; and what documents are issued at each phase. [HL1666]

Lord Rooker

In order to qualify for asylum under the terms of the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, an applicant must show that he has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Having made an application for asylum an asylum seeker must: attend a screening interview to establish identity and to enable us to determine whether their claim should be considered by the United Kingdom or a third country; where appropriate, complete a statement of evidence form (SEF) and return it within 10 working days; and attend an interview to substantiate the claim.

Each asylum claim is considered on its individual merits when all the evidence that the applicant has provided is taken into account, together with detailed country information from a variety of sources.

An asylum seeker will be issued with various documents at the different stages of the process: a standard acknowledgement letter (SAL) once the screening process has been satisfactorily completed; a SEF and notes in a language that the applicant understands, and (in most cases) a Section 75 notice which asks for any other reasons the applicant may have for staying in the United Kingdom, where appropriate; an invitation to interview letter; a letter conveying the decision. If asylum is granted, further papers explaining the benefits attached to the new status are sent; if the application is refused, the decision letter will be accompanied by appeal papers and notes on how to appeal.