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Bisexual Jamaican Asylum Seeker Wins Right To Stay In The UK

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After a three and a half year battle with the Home Office, a bisexual Asylum seeker from Jamaica has won the right to stay in the UK.

Mr Edwards claimed Asylum status on the grounds that sexual relations between men is illegal in Jamaica and is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Mr Edwards, argued that he was treated unfairly because of misconceptions about bisexuality and that widespread media coverage of his case in Jamaica would endanger his life. At one point a judge ruled that Mr Edwards was “dishonest” about his sexuality despite the fact he was in a relationship with a man through much of his subsequent appeal.

This is not the first time the Home Office has been criticised for its handling of Immigration cases involving bisexual individuals. In January 2014, a prominent Immigration blog published a transcript of questions being asked by the UK Border Agency to a bisexual Asylum seeker. The transcript included questions such as:

  • How did you feel when having sex?
  • How many boyfriends did you have in [country]?
  • How old were you when you discovered you had an attraction for boys?

The man was also asked to provide intimate and graphic details of particular sexual encounters.

Mr Edwards, who was repeatedly detained during the resolution of his Asylum claim, said he had provided intimate pictures of himself with another man to support his claim, but that officials had refused to acknowledge them as evidence of his sexuality.

Despite claims from the Home Office that processes have improved, lobby groups fighting for the rights of Asylum seekers state that people seeking Asylum on sexuality grounds still face years of delays, intrusive questioning and a culture of disbelief.

Anyone seeking Asylum on the grounds of their sexuality needs to seek experienced legal advice as soon as possible to protect their best interests and ensure their case is not delayed unnecessarily.

OTS Solicitors is an Immigration, Employment and litigation firm. Our founding partner, Teni Shahiean, has been ranked in the Legal 500 and is recognised throughout the UK as an expert in Immigration law. To speak to one of our Solicitors, please contact our London office on 0207 936 9960 to make an appointment.

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