Thu | Nov 23, 2017

Immigration Corner | Facing deportation from the UK

Published:Tuesday | October 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I have a relative who is in the United Kingdom illegally and facing deportation. What can he do to enable him to stay there?

- G.M.

Dear G.M.,

There are some options available to persons who are in the United Kingdom illegally. For instance, persons who are living there illegally might be able to apply for leave to remain or British citizenship. If those applicants are successful, they will be able to legally work and receive benefits if they need them.

Also, persons who choose to return to their home country may be eligible to get assistance to return there. It is advisable that persons should seek legal advice prior to making the application.

There are several ways that persons may become legal residents. The legal professional will advise persons which route best suits the prospective applicants' circumstances.

There are several organisations that offer free and confidential advice. The organisation named Citizens Advice can help persons to find advisers locally who will be able to assist persons to understand their options to live there legally.

Persons can also call the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, who will provide free and confidential advice about prospective applicants' options and their chances of success. They should contact:

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Telephone: 020 7553 7440

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Calls cost up to 12p per minute from landlines, 3p to 45p from mobiles.

As stated previously, there are various ways that a person may be eligible to become a legal resident in the United Kingdom and this will largely depend on the circumstances.

A person who is an illegal resident usually has a unique set of circumstances and as such, is advised to seek specialist legal advice. Persons might be able to apply to stay in the United Kingdom if: they are between 18 years and 24 years of age and have lived there for more than half of their lives; they have been living in the United Kingdom for a long time; returning to their home country would be dangerous; they have got strong relationships in the United Kingdom; they have got children in the United Kingdom.

If persons have children living in the United Kingdom illegally, for example, if they have not been registered for British citizenship or leave to remain, it is important to register them as soon as possible.

It should be noted that if persons cannot live in the United Kingdom legally but choose to remain there, life could be difficult. Those persons might be exploited at work; struggle to find housing, as they will not be eligible for government help; be detained and removed from the country.

Persons who choose to leave the United Kingdom may be able to go back to their home country voluntarily with help from the government. Depending on the circumstances, persons might be able to get extra help to arrange and pay for the journey. Persons can call the Voluntary Departures and Assisted Voluntary Returns team to find out what help is available. The contact details are:

Voluntary Departures and Assisted Voluntary Returns

Telephone: 0300 004 0202

Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Calls cost up to 12p per minute from landlines, 3p to 45p from mobiles.

I hope this helps.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com