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Legal Services for LGBTQ+ Immigrants

The persecution of people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity is not a new phenomenon. It is only in more recent years that a growing number of asylum claims have been made by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. This has necessitated greater awareness among decision-makers of the specific experiences of LGBTI asylum-seekers and a deeper examination of the legal questions involved.

At UK Immigration Solicitors, we are passionate about inclusion and equality and strongly advocate freedom of expression without fear of persecution or reprisals.

Over the years we have fought fiercely for our LGBTQ+ clients to ensure that their individuality and rights are not eroded by draconian and insensitive laws it’s just a fact of life that one size does not fit all and the blanket application of Government immigration  policies raises serious concerns as well as the very real harm of grave injustice.

If you are currently in the UK and feel that you are unable to return to your home country based on your sexuality or you simply wish to marry your partner, (same sex or otherwise) we understand that this may be a difficult time for you and the roadmap ahead can seem fraught with obstacles but we it need not be that way.

If you have already been refused and feel that the decision was unjust, discriminatory or illegal, we can help you overturn that decision through an appeal.

Our experienced team of LGBTQ+ friendly specialists understand the issues you are facing and can help you mount a successful asylum claim or marry your partner in the UK.

Speak to our assessment team now to confirm your eligibility and options for free on 0203 384 4389

In recent decades, the global population of refugees and asylum seekers has increased substantially (UNHCR, 2018).

This has coincided with global nationalist trends that have led to greater scrutiny of and hostility towards immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

Over the years, we have taken on a record caseload due to the worldwide persecution of LGBTQ+ people of various nationalities but, as conditions deteriorate for LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive people around the world, the number of individuals reaching out to us from Russia, the Middle East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa has significantly increased.

The Gauardian reports that In 2018, the Home Office refused 970 LGBT claims from nationals of countries where same-sex acts were criminalised, down from 1,096 in 2017 and 1,043 in 2016.

Last year, LGBT asylum was brought into focus by the case of a Nigerian man who fled to Britain to avoid prosecution for being gay.

Adeniyi Raji, who was sacked for his sexuality, received threats on social media in Nigeria, which included comments such as, “I really wish you were killed that very day …”, “You know gay practice is an abomination in our land”, and “You better stop your gay practice, if not you could get yourself killed in this country”.

The Home Office rejected his claim, which was upheld by the first-tier immigration tribunal. He is appealing against the decision but faces deportation.

The challenges faced by LGBT asylum seekers were further highlighted by a case in which a first-tier immigration tribunal judge rejected the claim of a man because he did not have a gay “demeanour”.

The judge said he did not accept the man applying to stay in the UK was gay and contrasted his appearance with that of a witness who “wore lipstick” and had an “effeminate” manner, who the judge accepted was gay.

In July, the high court ordered the Home Office to help a woman return to Britain after she was refused asylum on grounds of sexuality and deported to Uganda. The judge on the case said it was “procedurally unfair”.

If the judgment stands, the woman would be the first deportee whose case was processed through fast-track rules operational between 2005 and 2015 to return to the UK and appeal against the decision to deport her.

The ruling could encourage similar appeals from thousands of people whose asylum claims were treated under the same system.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Individuals are only returned to their country of origin when the Home Office and courts deem it is safe to do so.

“Each case is considered on its individual merits against relevant case law and published country information, and all decisions on claims based on sexual orientation are reviewed by an experienced caseworker.

“The UK has a proud record of providing protection to those fleeing persecution. Over 12 months, we gave protection to more than 18,500 people, the highest number since 2003.”

This rhetoric though will bring little comfort to those who are facing an uphill battle against the Home Office in the face of unwarranted suspicion and in some cases, utter contempt.

We encourage all victims of persecution irrespective of basis to fight for their freedom, rights and civil liberties and we are proud to support this cause.

If you are currently in the UK and feel that you are unable to return to your home country based on your sexuality or you simply wish to marry your partner, (same sex or otherwise) we understand that this may be a difficult time for you and the roadmap ahead can seem fraught with obstacles but we it need not be that way.

If you have already been refused and feel that the decision was unjust, discriminatory or illegal, we can help you overturn that decision through an appeal.

Our experienced team of LGBTQ+ friendly specialists understand the issues you are facing and can help you mount a successful asylum claim or marry your partner in the UK.

Speak to our assessment team now to confirm your eligibility and options for free on 0203 384 4389

Your Questions Answered

LGBTQ+ Why asylum?

In many countries, including Jamaica, Pakistan, India, Iran, and Sudan, LGBTQ+
individuals are persecuted, imprisoned, and sometimes sentenced to death based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, transgender individuals may be victims of forced sterilization or castration, so-called “corrective rape,” domestic violence, forced sex work, institutionalised violence at the hands of the police, and even death.

Is UK Immigration LGBTQ+ Friendly?

Whilst the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act accommodates various policies seemingly designed to assist LGBTQ asylum seekers, our experience has shown that a ever growing culture of disbelief exists in the Home Office which sadly means that may genuine victims of persecution are not believed by the UK Government and their asylum claims are refused leaving victims exposed to severe danger and uncertainty.

Recent Home Office LGBTQ+ Cases

A recent Guardian article published in late 2019 lifted the lid on the seemingly prevelant culture of disbelief that the Home Office has adopted towrds LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.

It revealed that the UK Home Office has refused at least 3,100 asylum claims from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) nationals from countries where consensual same-sex acts are criminalised.

At least 1,197 LGBT Pakistanis were refused asylum after making a claim for protection on grounds of sexual orientation between 2016 and 2018, according to an analysis by the Liberal Democrats of figures published by the Home Office. A further 640 LGBT Bangladeshis and 389 Nigerians had their claims on the same grounds refused during the period.

In Pakistan, “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” is punishable with life in prison, while Amnesty reports that “transgender people continued to suffer harassment and violent attacks” there. In Bangladesh, Amnesty reports that “LGBTI activists continued to be routinely harassed and subject to arbitrary detention by state and non-state actors”.

In Nigeria, homosexual acts are punishable by up to 14 years in prison and displays of same-sex affection are also outlawed. After Pakistan and Bangladesh, Nigeria produces the largest number of asylum claims based on sexual orientation.

Sadly many of our clients have experienced this hostile approach when attempting to claim asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation and fear of persecution.

Amongst the turmoil and negative undertone, there is however an underlying veneer of hope as we have had great successes against the Home Office on behalf of our clients. We have a growing client base of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers who have successfully obtained lawful UK residency.

UK Immigration Solicitors & LGBTQ+

At UK Immigration Solicitors, we are passionate about inclusion and equality and strongly advocate freedom of expression without fear of persecution or reprisals.

Over the years we have fought fiercely for our LGBTQ+ clients to ensure that their individuality and rights are not eroded by draconian and insensitive laws it’s just a fact of life that one size does not fit all and the blanket application of Government immigration  policies raises serious concerns as well as the very real harm of grave injustice.

Over the years, we have taken on a record caseload due to the worldwide persecution of LGBTQ+ people of various nationalities but, as conditions deteriorate for LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive people around the world, the number of individuals reaching out to us having arrived in the UK from Russia, the Middle East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa has significantly increased.

We understand, promote and demand equality for all and are strongly apposed to all forms of discrimination. We believe in life (and love) without borders and are passionate about fighting for the rights of our communities.

We are an equal opportunities employer and are proud of our own LGBTQ+ employees and clients alike.

We accept and champion your cause, so we understand your struggles and stand united with you to overcome injustice.

Asylum based on Sexuality

The UK bills itself as a “Gay friendly” metropolis and is very vocal about its pro-gay mantra so one would be forgiven for thinking that the UK would welcome gay asylum seekers fleeing persecution with open arms but the reality unfortunately conceals an uncomfortable veneer of bias.

The UK is proud of its own gay culture but remains sceptical, dismissive and at times, downright hostile towards gay foreigners who are seeking to claim asylum based on their sexuality.

Whilst it is perfectly possible to apply for asylum in the UK based on sexuality, the prospects of success for this of application are limited and it is absolutely imperative that applications are prepared diligently and tactfully by somebody who not only understands the inevitable challenges ahead but is able to use their expertise and skillset to come up with a winning strategy enabling them to navigate and overcome such challenges.

In short, possible but improbable unless a seasoned practitioner can even the odds between the applicant and the Home Office.

We’ll use the case of Nigerian asylum seeker Adeniyi Raji to illustrate the above.

Mr Raji fled his home country of Nigeria in order to avoid persecution he faced as a result of his sexual orientation.

When he arrived in the UK, he was detained, and the UK Government has been actively trying to deport him ever since

Nigeria is one of several African countries that adopt a hard-line approach to homosexuality and therefore homosexuality is a criminal offence carrying a punishment of imprisonment for up to 14 years!

There are no facilities for same sex marriages. Moreover, the mere display of same sex affection is a criminal act and again is subject to draconian punishments.

For UK asylum seekers based on sexual orientation, there are many hurdles to overcome.

By default, for a claim of asylum to be upheld, the applicant must be able to unequivocally prove that homosexuality is against the law in the country they have fled but it doesn’t stop there!

The UK Government also require you to demonstrate that any laws are actually enforced by the country in question and actually go even further to ask the applicant to prove and give examples of steps that the country takes to enforce its laws against homosexuality.

We have used Nigeria for this example and it is no secret that Nigeria not only has anti homosexuality laws but is relentless in enforcing them also in the misguided belief that they can prevent and in some cases, even cure ‘gayness’.

As if the already cumbersome obstacles asylum seeks must overcome were not enough, sadly the list is not exhaustive.

In addition to proving you are homosexual, homosexuality is illegal and that the laws are strictly enforced, you will also have to demonstrate that you would be at particular risk if the UK were to deny your claim and return you to the country you had fled.

But what if the persecution is not coming from the police or the authorities, but rather comes from so called “third-party actors”?

Third party actors are non-official and non-Government parties such as local community leaders or even local mobs organised by social media protagonists.

The challenge for any applicant who has already managed to overcome the preceding problems to get to this stage, there are yet further mountains to climb.

Whilst proving the existence of these third party non state actors may not be too difficult to prove in a country like Nigeria, UK asylum seekers must also be able to demonstrate that if they were returned, their respective government would not be able to provide them with sufficient protection from this danger. This, conversely, also means that asylum seekers must show that there are not any other areas of the same country that they can be returned or be relocated to safely to remove the risk of persecution.

In our example case, Mr Raji was also threatened with arrest and mentioned and has received extensive media coverage in the national press hence he has a well-documented history and exposure to risk irrespective of where he was in Nigeria should he be deported there.

Nigeria is by no means unique in its stance against homosexuality.

The prime and most prolific country is Pakistan closely followed by Bangladesh.

In Pakistan, “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” is punishable with life in prison, while Amnesty reports that “transgender people continued to suffer harassment and violent attacks” there.

At least 1,197 LGBT Pakistanis were refused asylum after making a claim for protection on grounds of sexual orientation between 2016 and 2018, according to an analysis by the Liberal Democrats of figures published by the Home Office.

A further 640 LGBT Bangladeshis and 389 Nigerians had their claims on the same grounds refused during the period.

In Bangladesh, Amnesty reports that “LGBTI activists continued to be routinely harassed and subject to arbitrary detention by state and non-state actors”.

Those of you that have arrived or are about to arrive on UK shores having experienced persecution based on sexuality or those that have been forced to act “heterosexuality” in a bid to avoid repercussions will know only too well that life as a closet homosexual in countries where homosexuality is illegal can be pretty bleak.

Getting to the UK is only a small part of the challenge, being able to finally find a welcoming home is an entirely different battle.

Our expert team understand these issues and can help you navigate the legal minefield that is asylum in the UK.

We are friendly, approachable and passionate about fighting for your rights.

See how we can help you now by speaking with our supportive team on 0203 384 4389

Is claiming UK Asylum easy for LGBT?

Sure, the UK is gay friendly but ask any gay asylum seeker and they may paint a very different picture.

The root of the problem seems to stem from the inherent culture of disbelief that the Home Office has adopted when assessing the credibility of gay asylum claims. The Home Office has attempted to be judge and jury in considering credibility and their requirements although vaguely theoretically effective, are anything but when applied to real life practical cases.

How does an asylum seeker who has escaped persecution and fled repression by trying to stay off the Government radar produce unequivocal evidence that they are genuinely gay and have faced persecution?

This question centres on a real-life conundrum for many…

Should you be openly gay and risk being beaten, jailed or even killed just for sake of collecting evidence along the way or should you try to prioritise your safety by keeping quiet in hope that you can escape the repression and find a land that welcomes the real you?

The risk with the latter of course is that you may not be able to collect compelling evidence and face an agonising and exhausting journey ahead to produce evidence of your homosexuality.

Furthermore, it is seldom the case that persecutors will leave a well-documented trial of their abuse behind in a Home Office friendly dossier.

This, naturally, presents its own challenges and plays directly into the UK Governments self-serving and flawed asylum requirements.

The Home Office’s press team regularly gloat about their close partnerships with gay rights organisations but all is perhaps not as it seems and most independent operators have come to realised that there are serious failings in the UK Government’s policies and an urgent reform is required in the interests of justice and equality.

UK Immigration Solicitors are well versed in the area of gay asylum and have an intricate knowledge of the complexities involved in trying to secure victory in the face of ever-growing challenges.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised and find your self-confused with nowhere to turn, do not despair, we can help you understand your position and will evaluate your circumstances and confirm your positions and options for free!

Speak to a member of our team to get instant answers to your questions on 0203 384 4389.

Humanitarian Protection

Humanitarian Protection

If you are unable to claim asylum upon arrival to the United Kingdom, but you can successfully prove you will face serious consequences if you return to your home country, we can provide you with legal advice on how to proceed. Some of the reasons people apply for asylum include encountering the death penalty, unlawful killing, and torture.

Eligibility Requirements

Humanitarian Protection can be applied for in circumstances where the following may apply:
  • Execution or death penalty if they return to their home country
  • Verification from the home country if the execution in on the statue books pertaining to the offence in question
  • Subject to unlawful killing by the home country or a risk of possible assassination exists in their home country
  • Subject would endure inhuman treatment, resulting in severe torture if they return to their home country

 Exception

Applicants who apply for Humanitarian Protection may be refused if they:
  • have committed or are suspected of committing a war crime, crime against peace, a crime against humanity, or another crime grave in nature
  • present a serious threat to society or they are responsible for instigating acts or convinced others to commit
  • committed crimes outside the United Kingdom which would be punishable crimes in the UK.

Family Members

If you are granted Humanitarian Protection by the UK Government, members of your family may also apply to join you in the UK. These include family members who are:
  • Under 18
  • Grandparents
  • Parents
  • Dependents 18 or over
  • Civil partners
  • Spouses
  • Unmarried partner
Relatives who plan on joining family members who have successfully obtained Humanitarian Protection will have to prove that anyone now intending to join them was with them before they fled their home country.
In some cases, people may find themselves not being officially recognised as a citizen of any country and consequently, they find that they cannot obtain a passport or travel document to prove entitlement/citizenship. This is called being stateless. If you are stateless or have become a victim of human trafficking, our expert team can assist you in making a strong application for Humanitarian Protection.
Call our expert team for assistance now on 0203 384 4389

Same Sex Partners

Same Sex Partners

If you are in a same sex relationship and are partner of a British Citizen or of a person who is present and settled in the UK, you can apply to join your partner by obtaining a UK same sex partner visa. Our team are proud of our proven track record in successfully obtaining UK Same Sex Partner visas for our valued clients.

This type of visa can be applied for from both inside and outside of the UK.

If you are outside the UK

If you are not in the UK but you are the same sex partner of somebody who is settled in the UK, you can apply to join them if you can meet the suitability criteria set out in the Immigration Rules.

There are various requirements which focus on aspects of your relationship, income, living circumstances, English language etc which all need to be met in order for your application to be successful.

Our expert team have fist hand experience of dealing with same sex partner visas and can assist you in ensuring your prospects of success are the best they can be.

If you are inside the UK already

A same sex partner visa can be also applied for from inside the UK. Those who are settled in the UK can apply for their partners or those who are already subject to a different visa may be

Considering this route?

This area of immigration can be particularly challenging. As with many visa types, early preparation and attention to detail are absolutely essential pre-requisites to ensure maximum prospects of success and to avoid making costly errors which can sometimes prove impossible to rectify.

UK immigration law is by nature extremely complex and subject to constant changes. The UKVI has strict criteria relating to different types of visa. Therefore, it is essential you get the right legal advice from an expert UK immigration lawyer to make sure your application is successful, first time. We will guide you through every step of the process, putting you in the best place possible to get a good result.

 

Call our friendly team now on 0203 384 4389

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    WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF USING UK IMMIGRATION SOLICITORS?

    Immigration rules are complex and subject to regular changes and revisions. This itself presents problems as it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of and have complied with any changes to the routes, processes and evidence requirements. 

    Failure to meet strict rules is likely to result in the application being refused which, in turn, is likely have an emotional and financial strain on you and your family. 

    It is our job to ensure we are fully aware of the latest immigration rules, policies and procedures. We don’t leave matters to chance. Once you become a client of ours, we explain our strategy and tell you exactly how we propose to get you the right result. We will pinpoint the positives and negatives of your circumstances and explain where issues may arise and what would need to be done to fix them. We provide step by step guidance and advice throughout the entire process professionally. Our vast experience allows us to foresee problems before they arise and pro-actively adopt a strategic action plan.

    Our legal fees are always agreed and fixed with you right at the beginning of your case, so you have complete peace of mind and control over the costs to ensure there are no restrictions or unpleasant surprises.

    There are many online agencies, advisors and marketing companies who claim to be immigration experts but, provide very little expertise.

    Let us be very clear here, if you are paying for someone just to fill in the forms for you, you should think about how you can put that money to better use and avoid gambling with your future by using inexperienced and ineffective companies.

    We are a fully regulated nationwide, multi award winning law firm that specialises in immigration. Having more than 60 years of combined expertise and having handled more than 8,000 cases we have unrivalled experience and expertise to ensure you get the right result first time around – Don’t take our word for it though, check out our reviews to see why our clients trust us with their futures. We are rated 5* across the board and 98% of our clients have confirmed that they would recommend us to others. *

    We have illustrated our typical scope of service below so you can understand what we do for you as paid of our service:

     

    • Our immigration specialists carry out a free detailed assessment with you to understand your circumstances and needs.
    • The collated information is then reviewed by a senior immigration solicitor who will have no less than 8 years’ immigration experience.
    • Based on the information collected, the senior solicitor will then confirm what your options are and will also confirm if we are able to help you.
    • We will offer you an Agreed Fixed Fee quotation for us to handle your entire case until initial conclusion without obligation. 
    • If we have officially taken your instructions, we will create a client file for you and collect detailed initial information.
    • We will then ensure you receive a personalised one-to-one legal consultation with a senior immigration solicitor who will take your full instructions by exploring your circumstances in detail and advise you on the best way to meet your objectives. The solicitor will explain the relevant legislations and provide you with advice on the steps that we would need to take to get a successful result.
    • The senior solicitor who carried out your legal consultation will then send you detailed written legal advice explaining everything that needs to be done and which documents will be required as part of the process. We will tell you about any problem areas and formulate a strategy to overcome/mitigate these. 
    • We will carefully review any documents that you have provided in support of the application. These documents are then validated and formatted to ensure that they meet the UKVI specified evidence requirements. Where they do not, we will explain what needs to be done to address the issues.
    • Where required, we will prepare any necessary written legal arguments or representations that are required to support your application and gain an approval. Often, we may be required to make discretionary submissions.
    • We will complete a draft application and share this with you to ensure that all parties are happy with the representations that will be submitted to the Home Office.
    • We advise you on what application processing routes are available. In some cases, there are fast track or premium processing routes available. We may be required to book a Home Office appointment on your behalf.  Will also be able to confirm typical processing times for any processing centre in the world. We explain all options, routes and fees comprehensively allowing you to make the best choice.
    • We lodge the application on your behalf using our secure authenticated processes. Whilst your application is pending, we continue to ensure you receive maximum legal protection and ensure that your rights and allowances are upheld throughout the processing stage. We ensure that you are aware of and remain compliant with the immigration rules and regulations during this period. We will also keep you updated on the progress of your matter.
    • If any follow up work is required in response to any queries raised by the UKVI, we will also deal with these as part of the comprehensive service.
    • We secure a decision on your matter and further advise you on the relevant implications of that decision. If required, we will also confirm if any secondary applications are required and brief you on the necessary process and procedure for those also.

    WHY SHOULD I USE UK IMMIGRATION SOLICITORS TO HELP ME?

    Here are just some of the reasons to choose us:

     * We are the UK’s #1 Immigration Specialist Law Firm

    * We are a fully SRA regulated law firm so you are working directly with our in house legal team

    * No agencies, middlemen or outsourcing

    * We have achieved 99% success rate across all application types

    * We have a 24 hour helpline that operates 7 days a week – 365 days a year

    * We have multiple offices across the UK but 90% of our clients are not required to visit in person

    * We have more than 60 years combined immigration expertise

    * Our team have handled more than 8,000 cases

    * We offer a free initial assessment which will explain your options and check your eligibility for your chosen route

    * We operate a 100% Agreed Fixed Fee model with all fees fixed and agreed before work is started

    * 98% of our clients would recommend us to family & friends

    * Our average rating is 4.6/5 across major review platforms (based on over 300 reviews).

    WHAT IS A FREE NEEDS ASSESSMENT?

    If you have an immigration related problem or question, you can have a free assessment with a member of our assessments team.

    The assessor will establish why you are calling and what you are looking for assistance with. The assessor will ask you a series of questions to determine your circumstances in relation to your objectives.

    The assessment is 100% private and confidential. As we are a private law firm, we work with our clients to overturn Government decisions daily. We do not share any information with any third party.

    Although the assessor will be a trained immigration specialist, they are not solicitors and therefore will not give you detailed legal advice or guidance.

    If you want to establish what your options are and the best way forward for you, your assessor will collate the necessary information and then speak with one of the resident senior solicitors at the firm to determine what your options are, if and how we could assist and confirm whether we would be prepared to take your case. If we can assist, you will be provided with an Agreed Fixed Fee quotation which is a single legal fee to cover the firms cost of representation agreed from the outset and binding for all parties.

    The free assessment is no obligation and you are merely given clarity on your position and options to move forward.

    If you have a complex matter or require legal advice regarding a specific issue, you will most likely require a legal consultation.

    This is a separate service and is chargeable at the prevailing rates.

    Please note, UK Immigration Solicitors are a private law firm and are not part of the Government. We do not accept legal aid instructions. Although we are happy to assist genuine callers, we are not a directory service and sadly are unable to provide you with Government telephone numbers.

    To get started you can either call us on 0203 384 4389 or complete the assessment form and one of the team will call you

    What do you want to do next?