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Commonly asked questions on settlement for refugees

By Rumbidzai Bvunzawabaya

This is a three part series on commonly asked questions regarding settlement protection. I have received many questions from people who have been granted 5 years refugee status. This leave to remain is now coming to an end and people would like to know how to apply for settlement.

Rumbidzai Bvunzawabya
Rumbidzai Bvunzawabaya

In the migrant communities there are many informal advisors. Some of the information is accurate but not all of it is correct.

We at RBM Solicitors have written up a short guide with information gathered from the UKBA website and also from our own experience.

This guide is merely a guide and if a case is complicated then it is advisable to seek legal advice at all times.


A person who has been recognised as a refugee or person in need of Humanitarian Protection will usually be granted five years limited leave to enter or remain along with any dependants included in the initial claim or before a decision is made. When the leave to remain is due to expire they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain for themselves and any dependants.

Can settlement or indefinite leave to remain ever be refused?

An application for settlement can be refused. The circumstances where it can be refused are as follows:

• Where the person is liable for deportation – this would arise where a person has been convicted of a criminal offence and the Secretary of State has signed a deportation order. This would be after all the court cases in relation to the deportation order have been held and appeal rights exhausted.

• If the leave to remain was obtained by deception – This essentially means if the Home Office became aware that the facts set out in the initial asylum claim were not true. We have come across a case like this where siblings fell out and reported each other to the Home Office.

• If a person ceases to be a refugee by their own actions – examples of this can be where the refugee returned to their country of origin.

Other examples can be where a person claimed asylum on the basis of their affiliation to a particular political party and then subsequently leaves that party and joins the opposition. An example would be in Zimbabwean cases where a person claims asylum on the basis of being a member of the MDC but later joins the Zanu PF.

Examples in this particular aspect are not exhaustive and each case depends on the facts.

Which application form should I use?

SET (Protection Route). This form is available on the UKBA website.

All applications must be made in writing. Any attempt to make an application in any other way or by telephone or email will not be accepted. The address to send applications is on the form and the Home Office website. Applications must not be made more than one month before the expiry or they will be rejected.

Applications cannot be made using the same day service.

There is no application fee required.

In the next post will be dealing with refugees who have a criminal record. If you have any questions or need further advice please contact RBM Solicitors on 02476520999 and ask for Heather or Shanelle. We are able to offer appointments on the same day for SET Protection applications. Contact us today.

Mrs. Rumbidzai Bvunzawabaya, Solicitor, RBM Solicitors