READERS will remember my previous observations on how the UK Border Agency has been dealing with Legacy Cases and their promise that these will all be dealt by July 2011. In order to achieve this target, The Case Resolution Teams of the Case Resolution Directorate were established to deal specifically with these older asylum applications with the aim of resolving cases by either removing individuals from the United Kingdom or granting them leave to remain in accordance with existing law and policy.
In letters sent out to applicants, the UK Border Agency advised in the following manner:
“The Case Resolution Directorate (CRD) was created to resolve the backlog of outstanding case records. CRD has already concluded several thousand types and each case within the backlog has now been allocated to a nominated team. The aim is to resolve all these case records by July 2011.”
This position is the one that has been a source of concern to may applicants, especially when the period passed without their matters having been resolved as promised. In my previous blog on this subject, I did assure readers that it would be inconceivable that UK Border Agency would just shut the CRD and ignore responses to applicants. Therefore, because some matters remained unresolved past the cut off date of July 2011, some other mechanism had to be put in place to act fairly to all applicants who have a legitimate expectation to receive feedback on their pending matters
What has happened now is that the UK Border Agency is through The Case Assurance and Unit (CAAU) writing out letters advising in the following manner:
“Your client’s case has been reviewed but it is one of a very small number of cases on which we have not yet been able to come to a final decision. We aim to notify you of the decision on your case by the end of August, where possible. If for any reason this is not possible, we will explain to you why and set out the next steps in your case.”
In making the final call, the UK Border Agency has referred those affected to refer to the following link on their website: http://www.ukba.homeofice.gov.uk/asylum/oldercases/
So the question would be: of what significance is this final call? It is hoped that by the end of August 2011, all Legacy Cases – that is to say asylum claims lodged before March 2007 — would have been completed and one can only hope that they will be resolved in a positive manner. The likely scenario is that one is then recognised as a refugee or not; in which case he/she may be granted indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom exceptionally outside the Immigration Rules. This grant is normally framed in the following manner:
“Your case has been reviewed. Having fully considered the information you have provided and because of the individual circumstances of your case, it has been decided to grant you indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. This leave has been granted exceptionally, outside the Immigration Rules. This is due to the length of residence in the United Kingdom.”
I must, whilst on this issue, distinguish this type of leave from being recognised as a refugee. Normally, once you are granted refugee status you would not be expected to avail yourself to the protection of your home country or to return or visit when the basis of your fear still subsists. However, when you are granted indefinite leave to remain in the circumstances described above, what it means is that even if you had claimed asylum your claim has been refused but it has, however, been deemed exceptionally appropriate that you should nevertheless be granted leave to remain in the United Kingdom.
So, not being a refugee, there is technically nothing that would stop someone in this category to return or visit his/her home country.
Back to the final call, the UK Border Agency has further indicated that:
“Cases will be resolved in accordance with the existing law and policy. It would be helpful for CAAU to hold up to date passport size photographs of yourself and any dependents …”
So for those who fall in this category, this final call is also a reminder to make sure that the UK Border Agency holds correct and up to date information about you. In this regard, those affected are advised to contact their legal representatives and make sure that correct information has been transmitted to the UK Border Agency.
It is, therefore, hoped that the waiting period for many of the applicants will soon be over. However, it cannot be discounted that even after this August 2011 cut off date, many more may still be left wondering what has happened to their Legacy Cases and in this regard legal advice should be sought without further delay.
George Tizirai-Chapwanya, BL (Hons) LLB LLM is a Solicitor with Bake & Co Solicitors. He can be contacted on email@example.com or visit Bake & Co Solicitors’ website at www.bakesolicitors.co.uk; 0121 616 5025 or 07815958475
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information on immigration law. It is not intended to replace the advice or services of a Solicitor. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of use of this information