The Home Office Policy On Statelessness

In 2013, the Home Office initially issued a procedure to determine statelessness in Part 14 of the Immigration Rules. The rules allowed individual stateless people to effectively regularise their immigration status and access some of the benefits guaranteed under the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons.

Under Part 14 of the Immigration Rules, applicants could be deemed stateless and granted leave to remain in the UK. Subsequently, if you were granted leave to remain you could be eligible for family reunification on a similar basis with refugees and have access to most of the same benefits as refugees.

Part 14 was amended in April 2019, to bring the following three main changes:

  1. The duration of leave granted to persons under Part 14 was extended from two and a half to five years.
  2. New provisions were added to Paragraph 403 – subparagraphs (e) and (f) – bringing in new requirements to be granted leave to remain as a stateless person.
  3. Paragraph 407 was amended to require that those granted indefinite leave to remain under Part 14 have had five years leave to remain as a stateless person, rather than a combination of different types of leave as had previously been possible.

The most significant changes:

  • A helpful section has been provided which introduces the changes in how the Home Office should deal with applicants who have outstanding asylum claims and permitting, for the first time, asylum and statelessness applications to proceed in parallel in some circumstances.
  • The General Grounds in Part 9 of the Immigration Rules prevent certain applicants from being granted permission to stay in the UK under any part of the Immigration Rules, for example if they have committed certain criminal offences.
  • The UK’s statelessness determination procedure unfortunately does not currently allow a full right of appeal; instead, there is the possibility of Administrative Review – which means asking the Home Office to decide if it has made a ‘caseworking error’ in refusing an application. This therefore provides for increased scrutiny in cases where the Home Office administrative review team finds that an error has been made and the case is returned to the statelessness determination team for a new decision. If such is the case, the case should go to a different caseworker, who should reconsider it within 3 months; and their decision should be subject to a check by a Senior Caseworker or Higher Executive Office.
  • The Travel documents section has also been amended to confirm that a Stateless Person’s Travel Document may be issued to a person who is stateless but has not been granted permission to stay in the UK as a stateless person. For example, if a person who is stateless but refused leave under the general grounds but granted leave outside the Rules.