Young asylum seekers banned from studying in the UK

Despite the Home Office assurance that there is “no blanket ban” on education, many young asylum seekers who arrived in the UK as children are being banned from studying “as a matter of course”.

In recent months the legal changes that have occurred mean that anyone claiming asylum is considered to be on immigration bail. The Home Office places restrictions on asylum seekers until their decision for leave to remain has been decided. These restrictions include not being allowed to work, frequent reporting to the police or Home Office and living at a specified address.

However, a significant number of young refugees have an added restriction – not being allowed to study. The primary concern is that if young refugees are not aware of the ban and they continue to study they will be in danger of breaching their bail conditions that could in turn affect the outcome of their asylum appeals.

A Home Office spokesperson has stated that there is nothing in the immigration rules to prevent asylum seekers from studying. However, if an asylum seeker has exhausted their appeal rights or has committed immigration offences then they will be banned from studying.

The restrictions on studying can have a negative effect on young asylum seekers especially those who have been in care as unaccompanied minors. Young asylum seekers are offered financial assistance and post care. Nevertheless they cease to receive this support once they are banned from studying.

Mohammed 22, who has been in the UK since 2011 arrived as an unaccompanied minor. He was studying GCSEs in mathematics and English as a second language when he received paperwork from the Home Office that confirmed he could no longer study.

Mohammed stated that he went to report to the Home Office when he was told that there were new papers for him. He was told not to worry and that nothing had changed. It was only when he sought legal advice that he was made aware of the fact that he could no longer study.

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