Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Asylum Aid releases new film for asylum appellants


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Last March, Asylum Aid and NatCen held a discussion about our research findings on women and asylum appeals, kindly hosted by Garden Court Chambers. The most practical of the resulting recommendations was from barrister Kathryn Cronin: to produce an online resource to let asylum appellants know what to expect at the immigration tribunal. At the same meeting Protection Gap Advocate, Princess Onyeukwu, stated:

Once you see people coming to the Tribunal, everybody is so anxious. You can’t get much of a good evidence from somebody that is so so anxious.

It was recognised that having more information would reduce this anxiety and people would feel more confident and engaged with the process. This is particularly important in order to be able to disclose traumatic experiences.

Meanwhile, Professor Nick Gill of Exeter University was finalising research based on observations of asylum tribunals and came up with a parallel recommendation about producing a video for asylum appellants.

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Nick and I produced a script based on the research evidence of asylum seekers with experience of appeals and tribunal observations. We chose animation as the clearest format to provide an information video that would help asylum seekers know what to expect.

The animation process included holding three focus groups of people with experience of the asylum appeals process. On watching the final animation, they told us:

If I was seeing this video I would have been feeling more confident

Being told is not enough, knowing what it looks like is helpful

So in November 2018 we were pleased to launch Going to your Asylum Appeal Hearing: Information to help you, a 13-minute animation explaining the procedural aspects of going to the First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). We hope that legal representatives will show it to their clients.

The film was made with the kind support of No5 Chambers. On seeing the film, S Chelvan, barrister at No5 said: “this video is going to be a vital resource for people seeking asylum chartering through the minefield in an easy and digestible format”.

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Debora Singer

Debora Singer

Debora Singer has worked at Asylum Aid, now part of Migrants Resource Centre, for more than a decade. Her work involves lobbying and campaigning on the rights of women seeking asylum, particularly through the Charter of Rights of Women Seeking Asylum. She is a co-author of Through her eyes: enabling women’s best evidence in UK asylum appeals, newly published by Asylum Aid and NatCen. In 2012 Debora was awarded an MBE for services to women seeking asylum.