Many asylum seekers have little information about the asylum process in the UK and what their rights and entitlements are. The Refugee Council provides translated information on a range of topics.However it is vital that an asylum seeker find a registered legal representative to help with his or her claim. Asylum claims are complicated and a good representative may be able to help someone who is being refused unfairly. It is illegal to give advice if one is not registered to do so. Schools can usefully signpost families to organisations such as the Refugee Legal Centre and Asylum Aid.
Find out more
Parents may ask for a letter of support to help them in building up a file for use in appeals, or against deportation.
On headed notepaper, the letter can be addressed to the solicitor, if the name is known or 'To whom it may concern'.
The letter needs to include information such as:
- how long the child has been known to the school
- how the child has progressed
- why the child needs to remain at the school
- how the parents have involved themselves in school life
- any information on 'compassionate grounds', e.g. medical, housing, family circumstances etc, but it must be verifiable.
When appeals have failed, children may leave school at very short notice. Sometimes the family may go to a detention centre, prior to deportation. Several schools have experience in this situation. See the website of the Institute for Race Relations for further information
If the family is happy for their story to be made public, then support can be given through:
- informing the local M.P. and M.E.P.
- informing the school community, teachers, youth workers, governors, other local schools and neighbours
- informing the Refugee Support Worker at the LEA, local refugee support groups, unions, the local council and local places of worship
- sending a petition signed by all the above to the Home Office via the solicitor
- informing the local press, TV and radio
- informing the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (www.ncadc.org.uk)