By Andrew Nyamayaro
I have been contacted by a number of my fellow Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom regarding a letter dated the 15th of November 2017 purporting to be written by Mark Thompson, Director General, UK visas and Immigration. The letter gives notice that the UK government is suspending past and present asylum applications from Zimbabweans.
I have contacted the Home Office regarding this letter so that they confirm whether or not the letter originated from them. At the moment I do have serious doubts that this letter came from the Home Office.
However even if this letter emanated from the Home Office, the decision to universally suspend all past and present applications is ridiculous. This decision can be challenged successfully in a court of law. A person seeks asylum in a foreign land because they have a fear of persecution for reasons mentioned in the definition of a refugee. A refugee is:
“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
As we are aware there has been a development in our country and the army is in charge until everything comes back to normalcy and certain people who were looting the country have been brought to justice. The Army is keeping its cards close to its chest and understandably so. Boris Johnson in his speech said:
“…. And I will say frankly to the House that we cannot tell how developments in Zimbabwe will play out in the days ahead – and we do not know if this marks the downfall of Mugabe or not. We call for calm and restraint….”
At the moment its not clear what’s really going to happen and it will be foolishness for the UK government to suspend any asylum applications and indeed to try to revoke any refugee status for any Zimbabwean based on the current events in Zimbabwe. The UK government on its website has actually issued a warning to its citizens in Zimbabwe.
My advice to anyone which refugee status or is seeking asylum in the UK is to contact your solicitor and indeed the Home Office for clarification.
This leads me to the next part of my article. Let’s assume that indeed all applications are suspended and any refugee status for any Zimbabwean in the UK is revoked, what options do you have?
- Contact your lawyer on ways to challenge the Home Office. The Home Office as a matter of practice will contact you directly or through your lawyer.
- If you have family in the UK, you may make an application for leave to remain on the basis of family life.
- If you have been in the UK for a long time, you may make an application on the basis of private life in the UK
- If you work or you are studying, you may consider to switching to the points based applications.
- If you have settlement, consider naturalisation as a British citizen
- You may make an application for leave to remain outside the Immigration rules
- If you have an EEA family, then you may make an application as an EEA family member
Please note this list is not exhaustive and your personal circumstances determines which application to make.
As a fellow Zimbabwean I am also observing the developments back home with a keen eye. My hope is for a better and prosperous Zimbabwe from now on!
Andrew Nyamayaro is the principal of Tann Law Solicitors, a specialist immigration, employment, family, charity and corporate law firm in Coventry. He can be contacted on e-mail [email protected] or office phone 02477632323 or mobile 07568635782.
Visit Tann Law Solicitors’ website at www.tannlaw.co.uk
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on immigration law. It is not intended to replace the advice or services of a solicitor. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information.