MCP Glossary of relevant terms

MCP Glossary of relevant terms

The Migrant Children's Project has produced a specialist glossary with terms specific to refugee and migrant children.

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Accession countries

The 10 accession countries which joined the European Union (EU) on the 1st May 2004 are: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta. The government introduced the Worker Registration Scheme for nationals from eight of the ten accession countries (known as the ‘A8’ countries), the two countries not affected being Cyprus and Malta. This scheme was closed in April 2011.

Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in January 2007 and may also be referred to as accession countries.


The status of a child whose housing and other daily needs are provided by the Local Authority under section 20 of the 1989 Children Act. An accommodated child is also known as a ‘looked after child’ (LAC) and there are a range of duties and standards of care owed to these children. Some duties continue after the child turns 18.

Accompanied Asylum Seeking Child (AASC)

According to the UK Border Agency, an accompanied asylum seeking child is a child who:

  • is applying for asylum in their own right; and
  • forms part of a family group; or
  • is separated from both parents and is being cared for by an adult who by law has responsibility to do so or is in a private fostering arrangement.

Administrative removal

An individual may be ‘administratively removed’ from the UK if they fail to comply with conditions of leave to enter or remain or no long have leave to remain in the UK. The spouse, civil partner or child under 18 of a person in respect of whom removal directions have been given may also be administratively removed.

Age disputed

An age-disputed child is an asylum applicant whose claimed date of birth is not accepted by the Home Office and/or by the Local Authority who have been approached to provide support. This term is usually used to refer to people who claim to be children, bur who are treated as adults by the Home Office and/or the Local Authority. Whether an individual is treated as an adult or as a child has significant implications for the way in which the person’s claim for asylum is treated, and the level of support received.

Antenatal care

The care women can expect to receive from their midwives and doctors during their pregnancy. This may mean hospital care, outpatient appointments and care during delivery of the baby, although maternity care is also provided at the primary care level.

Application Registration Card

Every new asylum applicant at the Asylum Screening Unit will receive an Application Registration Card to show that they have applied for asylum. It is also used as evidence of identity and holds identifying information including fingerprints and reporting arrangements in a microchip within the card. It is a credit card sized document carrying the name of the asylum applicant, date of birth, nationality, the place and date of issue, information regarding dependents, the language spoken, and whether the holder is entitled to work.

Article 3 ECHR

Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 (ECHR) states that ‘no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ States who are signatories to the ECHR cannot depart from this principle for any reason or in any circumstances. Where an asylum seeker can make out a case that he or she would be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment if returned to their country, they cannot be removed, even if their Refugee Convention claim fails.


One of the words used to mean ‘refuge’ in accordance with the criteria set out in the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951.

Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT)

The AIT was established by the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004 and heard appeals against decisions made by the Home Office in asylum, immigration and nationality matters. It was abolished on 15 February 2010. Its functions were transferred to the new Asylum and Immigration Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal created by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

Asylum appellant

A person whose application for asylum has been turned down but who has an appeal pending against the decision to refuse to grant status.

Asylum Screening Unit

Asylum seekers who have not declared at port of entry can go to the Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon to make an in-country application for asylum.

Asylum seeker

A person who has applied to the government of a country other than their own for protection or refuge (‘asylum’) because they are unable or unwilling to seek the protection of their own government.

Asylum Support

Destitute adult asylum seekers and their families are not eligible to receive mainstream welfare benefits, but can apply to the UK Border Agency for accommodation and/or support with subsistence. This support was previously overseen by the National Asylum Support Service and referred to as NASS, but it is now “UKBA Support” or “Asylum Support”.


British citizenship

British citizenship provides the right to live in the UK and leave and re-enter at any time. Today, British citizenship can be acquired by birth (if at the time of birth either parent is a British citizen settled in the UK), descent (for a person born abroad, if either parent is a British citizen at the time of birth) or naturalisation.


Case Owner

A Case Owner is a UK Border Agency official responsible for an asylum seeker’s case throughout the process – from application to the granting of status or removal. Their role includes deciding whether status should be granted, handling any appeal, and dealing with asylum support, integration or removal. Each asylum seeker will have a named ‘case owner’.

Case Resolution Directorate

The case resolution process was set up to deal with unresolved cases of those who claimed asylum before April 2007. These include cases that have not been fully determined, applications for further leave, cases awaiting appeal or those who have exhausted their appeal rights but who remain in the UK. These cases are known as “Case Resolution” (formerly Legacy) cases. The majority of these have now been resolved, but outstanding cases are being dealt with by the UKBA’s Case Assurance and Audit Unit.

Certificate of Travel

A Certificate of Travel, also known as the ‘Home Office travel document’ can be issued to people who have Humanitarian protection or Discretionary Leave. A Certificate of Travel is not valid to travel to the country of origin. It replaced the brown Certificate of Identity document.

Certified - ‘clearly unfounded’

When the Home Office believes that the asylum seeker comes from a safe country and would not face persecution if they returned, it deems it a “clearly unfounded” case. Applications from individuals from these countries may be dealt with via a shortened procedure.

Common Travel Area

It includes the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Except in limited circumstances, the movement of a person who is ‘subject to immigration controls’ between these places is not immigration controlled.

Competent Authority

A Competent Authority is an organisation or person who has been granted legally delegated or invested authority, capacity, or power to perform a designated function. In the case of the National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking, these are the UK Border Agency and the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

Convention Travel document (CTD)

A blue travel document issued by the Home Office to people with refugee status and at least 6 months permission to stay in the UK remaining upon payment of a fee for the purpose of travel abroad. The CTD is valid for all countries, except the country of origin.



When a person is removed on the grounds of public policy, health or safety. An individual may be deported is convicted of a criminal offence and receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or more. Deportation is not the same as the ‘administrative removal’ of those who are simply ‘unlawfully present in the UK

Discretionary leave (DL)

Time limited permission to stay, granted where the Home Office has decided the individual does not qualify for refugee status or humanitarian protection but where there are other strong reasons why the person needs to stay in the UK. This is the most common form of leave given to unaccompanied asylum seeking children when there are no adequate reception arrangements in their country of origin. It is normally given for three years or until the individual reaches 17.5 years of age – whichever is the shorter period. There are certain other specified reasons where DL would be granted to an asylum seeker.


Dispersal is the process by which the UK Border Agency moves an asylum seeker to accommodation outside London and the South East of England. They are first moved to initial accommodation while their application for asylum support is processed. Once the application has been processed and approved they are moved to dispersal accommodation elsewhere in the UK.

Dublin II Regulations

The Dublin II Regulation provides EU member states with a mechanism for allocating responsibility to a single member stat for processing an asylum claim.


Eligible children

One of the four categories of children entitled to leaving care services under the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Children (Leaving Care Act) 2000. Eligible children are children who are aged 16-17 and who have been looked after by a local authority for at least 13 weeks since they were 14 years old and who continue to be looked after.


English for Speakers of Other Languages, the principal form of publicly funded English language provision in the UK.1 ESOL courses cover:

  • speaking and listening
  • reading and writing
  • vocabulary
  • punctuation and grammar


Eurodac is a large database of fingerprints of applicants for asylum and illegal immigrants found within the EU. The database helps the effective application of the Dublin Convention on handling claims for asylum. By comparing fingerprints, Member States can determine whether an asylum applicant or a foreign national found illegally present within a Member State has previously claimed asylum in another Member State or whether an asylum applicant entered the Union territory unlawfully.

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 (ECHR)

The ECHR is an human rights treaty which was incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998. Asylum seekers are entitled to protection under Article 3 ECHR and cannot be returned to a country where their right to protection under this Article would be breached.

European Economic Area (EEA)

Countries that are members of the European Union together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Exceptional leave to remain (ELR)

ELR was granted to asylum seekers who the Home Office decided did not meet the definition of a refugee as defined in the Refugee Convention, but should be allowed to remain in the UK for other reasons. It was abolished on the 1 April 2003 and has been replaced by two types of leave: “discretionary leave” and “humanitarian protection”.

Executive Agency

An Executive agency is a public institution that delivers government services for the United Kingdom government, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland Executive. An agency does not set the policy required to carry out its functions - these are determined by the department that oversees the agency.


Failed asylum seeker

Someone who has applied for asylum, been refused and has no appeal pending.

Family Returns Process

The process introduced by the UK government from February 2011 to manage the return of those families who have exhausted their right to remain in the UK.

Family reunion

Family reunion is the policy enabling people with Refugee or Humanitarian Protection status to bring their immediate family members (husband/wife, dependent children under 18 years of age) to join them in the UK.

Fast track procedure

The fast track procedure is used to determine asylum applications from people who the UK Border Agency (UKBA) assess to be ‘suitable’. Applications in the detained fast track are held at an Immigration Removal Centre and the initial decision on their case and any appeals happen at a faster pace than in the community. A case is considered suitable for the fast track process where it appears to the UKBA that the asylum claim can be decided ‘quickly’.

First reporting event

Shortly after the screening interview the asylum applicant will be asked to attend a ‘first reporting event’, where they will meet the UK Border Agency (UKBA) case owner who will deal with their case and have the procedures explained to them, in particular the ways in which the UKBA expects the applicant to keep in touch with them during the course of the asylum process.

First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

The First-tier Tribunal was established on 15 February 2010, alongside the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) as part of the Unified Tribunals framework created by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The new chambers replace the former Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) is an independent Tribunal dealing with appeals against decisions made by the Home Secretary and his/her officials in immigration, asylum and nationality matters.

Former relevant children

One of the four categories of children entitled to leaving care services under the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. Former relevant children are young people aged 18-21 who have been either eligible children or relevant children. A young person over 21 who is still receiving support from a local authority with education or training will be a former relevant child until the end of his/her programme of study.

Former unaccompanied asylum seeking child

This term refers to those who arrived in the UK as unaccompanied asylum seeking children but who have now reached 18 and who are therefore no longer children according to the law.

Further Education

Further education courses can be studied at schools, colleges, and from home through distance learning. They are for people who are 16 years old or over, and include:

  • academic courses, including GCSEs, AS and A Levels, and Scottish Highers
  • work related courses, for example National or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (NVQs or SVQs)
  • basic skills courses, including English language, literacy and numeracy
  • courses that do not lead to a formal qualification
  • Access courses
  • continuing or adult education



HC1 form

Application form for help with medical costs

HC2 Certificate

Certificate which allows someone to claim free prescriptions and some dental and optical services.

High Court

The High Court can consider applications against determinations made by the lower courts in England and Wales. This normally takes the form of a statutory review which is a paper-based examination made by a single judge, who will determine whether the law has been correctly applied.

Higher Education

Higher education courses are provided by colleges and universities and can also be accessed from home through distance learning. They include the following:

  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ 4 or 5) linked to a degree, a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) or other job-related courses, such as a Diploma in Social Work (DipSW)
  • most foundation degrees
  • Higher National Diplomas (HND) and Higher National Certificates (HNC)
  • undergraduate degrees, such as Bachelor’s degrees (including BA, BSc, BEng, BDS, LLB) and undergraduate Master’s degrees (including MSci, MPharm)
  • postgraduate qualifications, for example Master’s degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas, PhDs

Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into the UK law.

Humanitarian protection (HP)

Humanitarian protection is a form of immigration status. It is granted by the Home Office to a person who it decides has a need for protection because there is a serious risk that their rights under Article 3 ECHR would be breached; they would be unlawfully killed; or they would face the death penalty. It is granted for five years in the first instance.


Illegal entrant

A person who has entered the UK in breach of immigration law, for example, because they have entered the country without passing through immigration control (a clandestine entrant) or because they have lied about their intentions on entering the country (for example, someone with permission to enter as a student, but whose real intention is to work). This is sometimes the correct term for people who are described in the media as ‘illegal immigrants’ - a term that has no meaning in immigration law.

Immigration judge

Immigration judges are the judges who sit on the First-tier and Upper Tribunals (Asylum and Immigration Tribunal). They hear appeals against decisions made by the Home Office in asylum, immigration and nationality matters.

Immigration Removal Centre

Immigration Removal Centres (previously Immigration Detention Centres) are mainly used, under Immigration Act powers, to detain people who are waiting decisions on their asylum claims or who are being forcibly removed from the UK following an unsuccessful asylum application. It is government policy not to detain children who are seeking asylum except in ‘exceptional’ circumstances. Despite this, many are detained either as part of a family or because their age is disputed by the Home Office.

Immigration Rules

The Rules made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department (the Home Office) under statutory powers to control the entry and stay in the United Kingdom of non-British nationals.

Immigration Service (IS)

The part of the UK Border Agency that regulates entry into the UK at ports, screens asylum seekers, manages asylum cases and has contact with asylum seekers, and enforces removal of people who do not have permission to remain in the country.

In-country applicant

Individuals who get into the country first (either clandestinely or on the basis of another reason, such as a visitor) and then claim asylum ‘in country’ are known as ‘in-country applicants’, as distinguished from ‘port applicants’, who lodge their claim for asylum at a port (a point of entry to the UK - either airport, sea port or train terminal in the case of Eurostar).

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of immigration status given by the UK Border Agency. ILR is also called ‘permanent residency’ or ‘settled status’ as it gives permission to stay in the UK on a permanent basis. Prior to the 30th August 2005, those recognised as refugees were always given ILR at the time of their status being accepted. This has now changed and refugees are only granted a period of 5 years leave to remain called Refugee Leave.


Judicial review

A legal mechanism by which statutory agencies (among others) may be challenged on how they have applied their processes or interpreted or applied the law relating to their legal duties. The decision of government departments, local authorities or the lower courts can be challenged, and challenges can sometimes be made to Home Office decisions by using judicial review.


Kinship care

Care of a child by a close relative other than a parent, for example a grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle or step parent.


Lawfully present

A person who:

  • has current permission to remain in the UK;
  • is awaiting a decision on an in-time application for an extension of that permission;
  • is appealing against a decision to refuse an extension; or
  • is awaiting the outcome of such an appeal.

The person will only become unlawfully present when any appeal has been finally determined and they have exhausted any appeal rights.

Leave to enter

The permission given by an immigration office as a port of entry to the UK to enter the country. Leave to enter is usually limited as to time (for example, a typical tourist visa gives permission to enter the country for six months) and may also contain conditions such as a prohibition on working or on claiming ‘public funds’.

Leave to remain

The permission given by the UK Border Agency official to someone to extend an existing permission to stay in the UK. Leave to remain can also be limited as to time and may contain various prohibitions (on working or claiming ‘public funds’). Time limited leave to remain may also explicitly allow the recipient to work or claim benefits in the case of minors granted discretionary leave.

Leaving care support

Leaving Care support is provided to young people to help them through the transition process from being supported in a residential or foster care setting towards independence in the community. Leaving Care Services offer practical one to one support to young people along with help and advice in accommodation, health, education and employment issues, and this support can continue until the young person is in their early twenties and has established a degree of independence.

Legacy case

The term used to describe older asylum applications, most of which were filed before March 2007, which the UK Border Agency claims to have predominantly resolved. Outstanding cases are now dealt with by the Case Assurance and Audit Unit.

Legal representative

A legal representative is a barrister or a solicitor, solicitor’s employee or other authorised person who acts for an applicant or appellant in relation to the claim.

Legal Services Commission (LSC)

The body set up under the Access to Justice Act 1999 to administer public funding for legal help and representation. The LSC issues contracts to solicitors’ firms and advice agencies to conduct legal work, including asylum and immigration work.

Limited leave

The permission that is given to enter or remain in the UK for a specified period of time, sometimes with other conditions attached.

Local authority

Overall administrative body for a geographic area.

Local Safeguarding Children Board

The objective of a Local Safeguarding Childrens Board (LSCB) is to coordinate and to ensure the effectiveness of their member agencies in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and to ensure that these key agencies work effectively together. LSCBs consist of representatives from local authorities, health bodies, the police and others.

‘Looked after’ children

Children who are being accommodated by a local authority, generally under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, or who are subject of a care order under section 31 of the Children Act 1989. Children who receive assistance under section 17, even if this includes the provision of accommodation, are no longer ‘looked after’ children since 7th November 2002.


Merton Compliant

A term used to describe a local authority age assessment that has been conducted in accordance with the case law on age assessment and is therefore fair and lawful. The term derives from the Merton judgment of 2003 which gives ‘guidance as to the requirements of a lawful assessment by a local authority of the age of a young asylum seeker claiming to be under the age of 18 years.’


National Asylum Support Service (NASS)

See Asylum Support.

National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking and ensuring they receive the appropriate care. Authorised agencies, such as the Police, UKBA, Social Services and certain NGOs, who encounter a potential victim of human trafficking, can refer them to the Competent Authority (CA). The initial referrer is known as the ‘First Responder’. In the UK, the CAs are UKHTC and the UKBA.


Naturalisation is the process of becoming a British national.

New Asylum Model (NAM)

The New Asylum Model was introduced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for all new asylum claims made from April 2007. NAM entails a ‘case owner’ from the UKBA who is responsible for processing the application from beginning to end.

Non-compliance refusal

A ‘technical’ refusal of an asylum claim on the ground that the applicant has not complied with a direction given by the UK Border Agency - for example, the asylum application form has not been returned within the specified time or the applicant has failed without good reason to attend a UKBA interview. An asylum seeker refused on non-compliance grounds can still appeal against the refusal.

Non-suspensive appeals (NSA)

When a claim for asylum falls under the non-suspensive appeals process it means that the applicant only has the right to appeal against a negative Home Office decision once outside of the UK.


Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)

The Commissioner regulates the provision of immigration advice in the UK.

Ordinarily resident

A person is found to be ‘ordinarily resident’ if they are living voluntarily in a country for settled purposes ‘as a part of the regular order of his life for the time being.’ The residence has to be lawful and not in breach of the immigration laws. The concept of ‘ordinary residence’ is different from ‘habitual residence’ which is used to determine a person’s entitlement to certain benefits.


A person who was lawfully in the UK but whose leave to remain has now expired and who did not apply for an extension of that leave while it was still current. Overstayers are in breach of the Immigration Rules and are liable to being removed.


The Palermo Protocol

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 2000

Panel of Advisors

The Refugee Council, the largest voluntary organisation in the UK supporting asylum seekers and refugees, provides services to children through its Panel of Advisors. Its role is to help a child gain access to legal representation and other support. Any agency dealing with any unaccompanied child should check that the referral has been made.

Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility is defined in section 3(1) Children Act 1989 as being:

"all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property".

The term parental responsibility attempts to focus on the parent’s duties towards their child rather than the parent’s rights over their child.

Points-based immigration system

The system used by UK Border Agency for applicants who wish to enter the UK for work, training or study. Tier 4 regulates children between age 4 and 17 who wish to enter the UK to study.

Port applicant

Individuals who lodge their claim for asylum at a port (a point of entry to the UK - either airport, sea port or train terminal in the case of Eurostar) are called port applicants and are distinguished from those who get into the country first (either clandestinely or on the basis of another reason, such as a visitor) and then claim asylum in country.

Private Fostering

Private fostering is an arrangement where a child under 16 years of age, or 18 if they are disabled, is being cared for and accommodated by someone who is not their parent, guardian or close relative (grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle or step parent) for a period of at least 28 days.

Public funds

Asylum seekers and many other categories of entrant into the UK are prohibited from accessing public funds. The Immigration Rules define public funds as: Income Support; income based Job-Seekers Allowance; Attendance Allowance; Severe Disablement Allowance; Carer’s Allowance; Disability Living Allowance; Council Tax Benefit; Housing Benefit; Child Benefit ; State Pension Credit ; Child Tax Credit; Working Tax Credit; and emergency housing (for example, under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Acts). This does not include provision from local authorities’ children’s services under the Children Act 1989, or funds for education. Refugees are entitled to access public funds, as are unaccompanied asylum seeking children given ‘discretionary leave until age 18’.


Qualifying children

One of the four categories of children entitled to leaving care services under the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. Qualifying children are children under 21 and who have ceased to be looked after, accommodated or fostered after the age of 16.

Qualifying period

The period of time which you must have been living legally in the UK before you can apply for permanent residence or naturalisation.



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 to or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the country …’ as set out in the Refugee Convention 1951.

Refugee Convention

Refugee Convention means the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and the 1967 Protocol. These are the key international legal instruments which define who is a refugee and sets out their rights and the legal obligations of states.

Refugee Leave/Refugee Status

Refugee status is awarded to someone the UK Border Agency recognises as a refugee as described in the Refugee Convention. Time limited permission to stay granted to those recognised as refugees in the UK since the 30th August 2005. Refugee Leave is granted for a period of five years after which the refugee is eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Relevant children

One of the four categories of children entitled to leaving care services under the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Children (Leaving Care Act) 2000. Relevant children are children aged 16-17 who are no longer looked after by a local authority, but who were looked after for at least 13 weeks after the age of 14 and have been looked after at some time while they were aged 16 and 17.


Removal is a process whereby immigration officers enforce return from the UK to another country.

Removal centre

See ‘immigration removal centre’.

Removal directions

The determination by UKBA that the young person has no further valid claim preventing their compulsory return to their country of origin. A date will be set for his/her removal.


Most asylum seekers who are not detained are expected to report to a reporting centre or police station.


Safe third country

The Home Office deems certain countries to be places where a refugee is safe from persecution – for example, all EU states, Canada, the USA, Switzerland and Norway. If an asylum seeker travels through any of these states en route to the UK, she or he may be returned there on grounds of having travelled through a safe third country.

Screening interview

A screening interview is a meeting between asylum seekers and immigration officers to establish: identity, route to the UK, liability to return to a third country, eligibility for UKBA support, liability to prosecution, liability to detention and suitability for being dealt with under the fast track procedure. During the interview asylum seekers have their photo and fingerprints taken and are issued with an asylum registration card. The screening interview is not the place to explore the claim for asylum.

Secondary care

Healthcare in the UK is divided into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ services. Secondary care is specialised treatment, which is normally carried out in a hospital.

Section 4 support

Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 gives the UKBA power to grant support to some destitute asylum seekers whose asylum application and appeals have been rejected. Support granted under Section 4 is also known as ‘hard case’ support.

Self-Evaluation Form

A form issued to children applying for asylum. Forms need to be completed and returned to UKBA within 28 days.

Separated children

Separated children are children under 18 years of age who are outside their country of origin and separated from both parents or previous/legal customary care giver. Separated children are typically asylum seekers, but not in every case.


Smuggling is the transport of a person (with their consent) to another country through illegal means. The vast majority of people entering the UK unlawfully are smuggled rather than trafficked. People smuggling is the facilitation of illegal entry, in breach of immigration law, either clandestinely or through deception of the use of false documentation. In this sense ‘smuggling’ refers to the illegal transport of a person or persons across state borders, which results in a benefit for the smuggler.

Standard acknowledgement letter (SAL)

In some cases, the UKBA will not be able to issue an asylum registration card. Instead, a standard acknowledgement letter may be given which acknowledges an asylum application.

Statement of evidence form (SEF)

A form which unaccompanied children applying for asylum use to set out their grounds for claiming asylum. The form was previously used for all asylum seekers.

Statutory service

A statutory service is a service that is required to exist by law, eg the NHS

Student Support

Student support is provided by the UK Government, either as a grant or a loan, to assist in the payment of tuition fees and living costs during the period of studying. It includes the student loan, tuition fee loan, and grants if, for example, an individual is disabled or supporting dependants. Student Support is not public funds as defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules.

Subject to immigration control

‘Subject to immigration control’ has two different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Section 13(2) of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 defines a person subject to immigration control as ‘a person who … requires leave to remain in the United Kingdom (whether or not such leave has been given)’. Under section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, however, the term is used to determine entitlement to various non-contributory benefits.

The categories of persons who are subject to immigration control under s.115 include:

  • persons who require leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom but do not have it, e.g. asylum seekers on temporary admission;
  • persons who have limited leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom which is subject to a public funds condition, e.g. persons granted leave to enter as a student

People granted refugee status and those refused refugee status but granted limited leave to remain (DL/HP/ELR) are not subject to immigration control within the meaning of s.115 and are therefore entitled to receive the benefits listed above.

Substantive interview

The ‘substantive interview’, or ‘asylum interview’, is when the asylum applicant gets an opportunity to describe to the case owner what has happened to them and what it is they fear in their own country.


Temporary admission (TA)

When somebody applies for asylum they can either be detained or given ‘temporary admission’ while a decision is pending on whether to give them ‘leave’ or permission to enter or remain. Someone given ‘temporary admission’ is served with an IS96 by the Immigration Service. For immigration purposes, someone with temporary admission has not yet been given permission or leave to enter the UK. They are, therefore, liable to detention at any stage while on temporary admission. Conditions of temporary admission may be that the person resides at a particular address and reports to the immigration service after a specified time.


Trafficked children are those who are recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation.


UK Border Agency (UKBA, previously Border and Immigration Agency)

The UK Border Agency is the Government Body responsible for asylum issues, managing immigration control in the UK, including applicants for permission to stay, citizenship and asylum.

UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC)

The UKHTC is a multi-agency unit that provides a point of coordination for the development of expertise and cooperation to combat the trafficking of human beings.

UKBA Support

See ‘Asylum Support’

Unaccompanied asylum seeking child (UASC)

The definition for immigration purposes of an unaccompanied asylum seeking children is given by the UKBA as ‘a person under 18 years of age or who, in the absence of documentary evidence establishing age, appears to be under that age’ who ‘is applying for asylum in their own right; and is separated from both parents and not being cared for by an adult who by law or custom has responsibility to do so’. Children in this situation are also known as separated children or unaccompanied minors (UAM).


United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Undocumented Migrant

An undocumented migrant is a person who is present in the UK without appropriate legal permission to remain.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

The Upper Tribunal was established on 15 February 2010, alongside the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) as part of the Unified Tribunals framework created by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The new chambers replace the former Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Its purpose is to hear and decide appeals against decisions made by the First-tier Tribunal in matters of immigration, asylum and nationality.


"White list” countries

The ‘white list’ was formally abolished in 1999. However, the term continues to be used informally referring to countries whose nationals in general are considered not to be at threat of persecution.


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