The new Home Office policy on statelessness
Background on statelessness
Back in 2013 the Home Office introduced a statelessness determination procedure introducing Part 14 to the Immigration Rules. Eligible stateless people can regularise their immigration status and access some of the benefits guaranteed under the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons.
Under Part 14, applicants can be recognised as stateless and granted leave to remain in the UK. If granted leave to remain under Part 14, stateless people can reunite with their families on a similar basis with refugees and have access to nearly the same benefits as refugees.
In April 2019 Part 14 was amended, bringing in the following main changes:
- The duration of leave granted to persons under Part 14 was extended from two and a half to five years.
- Paragraph 407 was amended to require that those granted indefinite leave to remain under Part 14 have had five years leave to remain as a stateless person, rather than a combination of different types of leave as had previously been possible.
The most substantial changes
- A new section introducing changes in how the Home Office should deal with applicants who have outstanding asylum claims and permitting, for the first time, asylum and statelessness applications to proceed in parallel in some circumstances.
- The section on “General grounds for refusal” adds a helpful requirement that even where the general grounds apply, the caseworker “must still consider whether an applicant meets the definition of a stateless person”. If the applicant is stateless and inadmissible to any country (with a right of permanent residence), the Home Office may need to grant leave outside the Rules. The new section on “Further leave applications” also confirms that where the applicant is stateless and not admissible to any other country, but the general grounds apply, the caseworker “should look to grant leave outside the Rules”.
- Changes to the administrative review procedure. These confirm that where caseworking errors are found on administrative review and the case is returned to the statelessness determination team, the case should go to a different caseworker. The new caseworker should reconsider it within three months and their decision should be subject to a “second pair of eyes” check by a Senior Caseworker or Higher Executive Officer. Although not stated in the policy instruction, the applicant should also be provided with reasons why their application for administrative review did or did not succeed. The instructions clarify that, on refusal, applicants must be advised that they are entitled to administrative review. There is also clarification that there is no fee for the administrative review of decisions relating to Part 14 because there is no fee for the underlying application.
Posted on Dec 02, 2019.