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

UKBA to Libyans: PLEASE don’t claim asylum


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The UK Border Agency can be very generous and understanding when it wants to be. For some reason, Libyans currently in the UK whose visas are running out are being told that they don’t need to meet the rules required for an extension, they don’t need the right evidence and they don’t even need to pay the fee. Why would UKBA show such generosity? Because they are desperate to avoid Libyans claiming asylum and pushing up the asylum numbers.

A new de facto application form has been created to accompany an FLR(O). There is massive repetition between the new ‘questionnaire’ and the FLR(O). UKBA just don’t do simple, as the nightmare of the Points Based System shows.

Whether a Libyan would have a good claim for asylum at the moment is an interesting question. One’s instinct is to say ‘of course’ but UKBA would probably set up a flight to Benghazi (perhaps without the help of William Hague and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office?) and assert there was an internal flight alternative. Anyone dealt with any such claims or seen any instructions on Libyan asylum claims?

The full text of the announcement is as follows:

Libyans who wish to extend their leave under the Immigration Rules should apply in the normal way using the relevant application form. Where an individual is unable to meet some requirements of the Rules or provide some of the required evidence they should state why this is not possible, explaining any exceptional circumstances. We will consider applications on a case-by-case basis and we may use our discretion when reviewing cases.

Any Libyan national, with continuing lawful leave or previous lawful leave that has expired since 22 February 2011, who does not meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules but are unable to return to Libya may now be allowed to temporarily extend their stay in the UK.

Applications can be made on the FLR(O) form. Discretion may be applied in exceptional circumstances to grant a further period of leave for up to 6 months outside the Rules. Please see the FLR(O) application form on the right side of this page.

We have also made provision for those Libyan nationals who are unable pay the necessary application fee. In these circumstances Libyan nationals should complete the ‘questionnaire for Libyan migrants of limited means’ on the right side of this page.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


6 Responses

    1. Spot on FM, Spot on. Also wondering if they might use the fact that someone applies on FLR(O) rather than claiming asylum against them if they do subsequently claim asylum, especially if they don’t state that they fear going back on the form. Also – if they do state that the have a fear on return – as the new special questionnaire asks them – will they be telling them that they should claim asylum?!

  1. It would be nice if all of UKBA’s applications had facilities for those “who are unable pay the necessary application fee”

  2. UKBA’s instructions say that if someone expresses a fear of returning to their own country it should be assumed they want to claim asylum.

  3. I am currently dealing with a number of Libyan cases and am trying to advise on this. And it is a difficult call for clients. The policy will apparently only result in a grant of leave for 6 months. So i’m inviting UKBA to ALSO consider Art 8 issues and to grant a proper period of DL in the only application i’ve done so far under this new policy. In this particular case the family in question have decent ZH Tanzania – type arguments. They instructed that they wanted to go ahead and apply in this manner and didn’t want to claim asylum.
    For those who badly need support and/or accomodation, cynical as it sounds, asylum might be the better option if they’re in need of NASS support.
    With appeals i’m considering instructing counsel to ask the IJs to remit this matter back to SSHD if the asylum claim is weak ie if asylum claim only really turns on Art 15c or crediblity is poor and the only fact accepted is that they are Libyan. So if all else fails, ask if SSHD wants to apply this policy.
    Obviously it’ll be interesting to see how it develops and it’s better, as my collegue says than some of the ‘secret’ policies there’s been in past.

  4. Like EUmovement said it would be nice if they made that for all applications. The UKBA is the biggest con going. Moneymaking machine for the Goverment ripping off the honest to protect the dishonest. Maybe I can complain to the UKBA stating that all applications should be treated equally and that they are now discriminating against all other applicants who have to pay the full cost off an application.