resettlement to the United Kingdom
Resource Person: Katia Bianchini
Centre for Applied Human Rights,
University of York, Law & Management Building, Freboys Lane York YO10
Email: kb726 [at] york [dot] ac [dot] uk (kb726[at]york.ac.uk)
For more detailed information on resettlement to the UK, a full country profile can be viewed here at Know Reset.
The Gateway Protection Programme is operated by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA), which receives referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Programme allows up to 750 refugees every year to enter the UK for resettlement.
The applicant must be a Convention refugee, that is a refugee under the terms of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (hereafter '1951 Convention' and '1967 Protocol').
In addition, the applicant’s liberty, safety, health, or other fundamental human rights must be at risk in the country where he/she has sought refuge; or, he/she must be facing no possibility of long-term security in that country.
The Mandate Refugee Programme is applicable to mandate refugees only, that is individuals who have been granted refugee status by UNHCR. The application is made at UNHCR and, if it passes the first screening, is referred to UKBA for the final decision. The application can be made at the British embassy if there is no UNHCR office in the country of refuge. To qualify, the mandate refugee must satisfy two requirements:
- the UK must be the most appropriate country for resettlement: consideration is given to the refugee’s circumstances in the country of refuge, such as local integration prospects, living conditions, whether the refugee has any physical protection needs, and whether there are any close relatives in other countries.
- the refugee must have close ties to the UK: this is usually interpreted as having close family members, but also possible history such as periods spent in the UK as a student. Close family members are defined as the refugee’s spouse, children under the age of 18, parents and grandparents over the age of 65. Only in exceptional circumstances the following family members would meet the close-tie requirement: parent/grandparent under 65, adult son or daughter, sister, brother, aunt, uncle. The family members in the UK do not need to have been accepted as refugees, but must be settled or have limited leave in a category leading to settlement.
Family Reunification for Resettled Refugees
If the person is a recognised refugee or is benefiting from humanitarian protection in the UK, the family reunion programme allows him/her to be reunited with his/her family members (that is, those who were part of the family unit before he/she fled).
Only pre-existing families (the spouse, civil partner or unmarried/same-sex partner plus any children under 18 who formed part of the family unit at the time the sponsor fled to seek asylum) can apply to enter the UK. However, UKBA may allow family reunion for other family members if there are compassionate reasons why their case should be considered outside the Immigration Rules.
The application is made at the British embassy of the country where the family members are living.
Indefinite leave as the parent, grandparent or other dependent relative of a person present and settled in the UK
Under the immigration rules a person can apply for indefinite leave to enter the UK at the British embassy of the country where he/she is residing if the following requirements are met:
is related to a person present and settled in the UK in one of the following ways:
- mother or grandmother who is a widow aged 65 years or over; or
- father or grandfather who is a widower aged 65 years or over; or
- parents or grandparents travelling together of whom at least one is aged 65 or over; or
- parent or grandparent aged 65 or over who has entered into a second relationship of marriage or civil partnership but does not have financial support; or
- parent or grandparent under the age of 65 if living alone outside the UK in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances and mainly dependent financially on relatives settled in the UK; or
- the son, daughter, sister, brother, uncle or aunt over the age of 18 if living alone outside the UK the most exceptional compassionate circumstances and mainly dependent financially on relatives settled in the UK;
- is financially wholly or mainly dependent on the relative in the UK; and
- will be accommodated and maintained adequately without recourse to public funds; and
- has no other close relatives in his own country for financial support.
It is not a requirement that the applicant has been granted refugee status.
Leave to enter or remain in the UK as the child of a parent, parents or a relative present and settled or being admitted for settlement in the UK
Under the immigration rules a child can apply for indefinite leave to enter the UK at the British embassy of the country where is residing if the following requirements are met:
is to accompanying or joining a parent, parents or a relative in one of the following circumstances:
- both parents are present and settled or are being admitted on the same occasion in the UK; or
- one parent is present and settled in the UK and the other is being admitted on the same occasion for settlement; or
- one parent is present and settled in the UK or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and the other parent is dead; or
- one parent is present and settled in the UK or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and has had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing; or
- one parent or a relative is present and settled in the UK or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and there are serious and compelling family or other considerations which make exclusion of the child undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for the child's care;
- is under the age of 18; and
- is not leading an independent life, is unmarried, and has not formed an independent family unit; and
- will be accommodated and maintained adequately without recourse to public funds.
Furthermore, it is not a requirement that the applicant has been granted refugee status.