Asylum Aid and Statelessness
If you are stateless, you do not have nationality of any country. No country will look after you, you cannot vote in any country, and no foreign embassy will extend its help to protect your rights. You often have nowhere you can legally reside, and you cannot legally cross international borders because you lack identity and/or travel documents.
The human costs of statelessness are harrowing. Stateless people are left at risk of destitution, homelessness, exploitation and unlimited immigration detention.
This is one of the most complex areas of international protection– and we are determined to tackle it. Asylum Aid is at the forefront of work on statelessness in the UK.
How we work on Statelessness
Asylum Aid offers free legal advice and representation for applications to remain in the UK as a stateless person under the Immigration Rules, Part 14. Stateless persons in need of legal advice may contact us through our Advice Line on Tuesdays between 1:00 and 4:00pm, on 0207 354 9631. Referrals can be made by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We may also be able to assist with other matters affecting stateless persons, such as applying for asylum or problems with housing or support. If we can’t help, we will do our best to refer you to someone who can.
We collaborate with Refugee Action’s Embassy Liaison Project, which provides volunteers to accompany stateless persons to embassies to seek evidence of their statelessness.
Asylum Aid’s Policy and Communications Team seeks to increase awareness and understanding of statelessness in the UK and to work with the Home Office towards improvements in statelessness decision making. Among other activities, we offer free training (both for lawyers and non-lawyers) on statelessness.
Please contact us if you are interested in training or can provide information about statelessness in the UK from your own work.
Read our briefing notes about statelessness here.
The report, Mapping Statelessness in the UK, found that stateless people in the UK live at daily risk of human rights infringement. It exposed a long-standing gap in immigration and asylum policy, a legal limbo in which many stateless people were lost, unable to obtain permission to remain in the UK, and unable to leave.
In 2013, after strong advocacy by Asylum Aid and UNHCR, the government introduced a statelessness determination procedure, under Part 14 of the Immigration Rules. The government also published its policy on applications to remain in the UK as a stateless person in 2013, and an updated version in February 2016. By the end of 2015, around 1500 people had submitted applications under the Immigration Rules relating to statelessness, with 40 positive decisions and 550 refusals.
Working with others
Asylum Aid is a member of ENS, which brings together non-governmental organisations, academic initiatives, and individual experts committed to address statelessness in Europe.
Key ENS campaigns that Asylum Aid has supported include the #StatelessKids campaign to end childhood statelessness in Europe. The campaign includes a petition calling for action from the European Parliament that has received over 20,000 signatures.
We continue to collaborate with UNHCR and are very grateful for their continuing funding for our statelessness work. In 2014, UNHCR launched a campaign to end statelessness by 2024. Find out more and sign UNHCR’s ‘I BELONG’ petition. UNHCR also has an online training course on statelessness, which you can access here.
UNHCR also publishes lots of helpful statelessness resources on Refworld.