Supporting people through the streamlined asylum process - Refugee Council

Supporting people through the streamlined asylum process

Guidance on supporting people who have received a Home Office questionnaire.

The Home Office recently announced plans to address the backlog of decisions on people’s asylum claims by December 2023 by streamlining the processing of asylum applications. This streamlined asylum process will make fast decisions for people who lodged their claims before 28th June 2022 and are from five countries: Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

To date 12,500 people, mostly living in Home Office accommodation, have received a questionnaire in English from the Home Office with the request to complete and return in English within 20 working days. Refugee Council has set out below how you can support people who have received a questionnaire to safely respond to the Home Office.

1. Explain the purpose of the questionnaire and who can help them to complete it.

2. Assist them to access legal help to complete the questionnaire.

Only Immigration Advisors registered at Level 2 or solicitors are qualified to assist people to complete the questionnaire. It is very important that you do not assist people to complete the questionnaire if you are not qualified to do so, as you may damage their claim and place people in danger. If you have received a questionnaire, speak to a qualified and regulated immigration advisor if you can If you don’t have an immigration representative you can find your nearest OISC Level 2 advisor by searching HERE or your local immigration solicitor HERE. Some specialist organisations can also provide lists.

3. Encourage people to complete and submit their questionnaire on time.

Even if a person has been unable to complete their questionnaire, it is important that they respond if only to advise that they could not find the legal help needed to complete it. The Home Office intends to conduct interviews, during which people can share their story hopefully with the support of a legal representative.

4. Help them to request an extension.

People are entitled to request an extension of up to 10 days to complete the questionnaire. You can assist someone to write to the Home Office to request an extension.

The following pages may be helpful in searching for legal support.

The Law Society

You can search for Legal Aid solicitors on this website by entering a postcode and ticking ‘immigration’

Law Centres Network

Law Centres offer legal advice, casework and representation to individuals and groups. All Law Centres are independent and operate on a not-for-profit basis.

Search for your local law centre.