HK Asylum Guide
The HK Asylum Guide is a mobile app that offers a simple step-by-step guide on the application process for refugee protection in Hong Kong. The app is a ‘one stop shop’ for information on the asylum seeking process under the Unified Screening Mechanism in Hong Kong. In addition to being an information repository, the app also enables asylum seekers to be put in touch with case managers who can help with navigating more complex situations and connect asylum seekers to legal, social welfare, and/or mental health support. The app was developed by international law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, on behalf of their pro-bono client, Justice Centre Hong Kong. Justice Centre Hong Kong provides direct assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, and other forced migrants in Hong Kong, and this app helps make the Centre’s resources more easily accessible to those requiring assistance while also freeing up staff time to concentrate stretched resources on offering tailored, in-depth legal assistance. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is also contributing to the app by assisting with translation of information in the guide. The app is free, accessible in English or French, and available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. An online website version of the guide is also available.
Theory of Change
Making resources easily accessible and translating complex legal procedures helps reduce barriers and uncertainty for asylum seekers navigating the process.
The HK Asylum Guide App provides information on applying for asylum in Hong Kong as well as on appealing a negative decision. All information is presented in a step-by-step, question-and-answer format. For applying for asylum, the app lays out seven steps for making a non-refoulement claim and also includes important information on success rates, what may happen if an application is successful/unsuccessful, and what support the government will provide while a case is pending. Similarly, for the appeal process, the app lays out six steps for launching an appeal and presents detailed information on how to find a lawyer who can assist in processing the appeal. The app contains a glossary where important legal terms and concepts are appropriately defined. For questions or more complex situations, users can navigate to the “contact us” section, where they can provide some details about their case, share their contact information, and be connected with case workers from the Justice Centre Hong Kong.
Between December 2020 and June 2022, the HK Asylum Guide app received over 9,000 views. The HK Asylum Guide App was named the winning project in the ‘Social Justice’ category of the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Asia-Pacific Awards 2021.