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Asylum Seekers & Refugees



Asylum Seeker - A person who has left their country of origin

and formally applied for asylum in another country but

whose application has not yet been concluded.

Refugee - “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 or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

The 1951 United Nations Convention definition of refugee status.


Under international law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim.


In the UK, a person becomes a refugee when government agrees that an individual who has applied for asylum meets the definition in the Refugee Convention they will ‘recognise’ that person as a refugee and issue them with refugee status documentation. Usually refugees in the UK are given five years’ leave to remain as a refugee. They must then must apply for further leave, although their status as a refugee is not limited to five years.


The UK is home to approx. 1% of the 25.9 million refugees, forcibly displaced across the world.


80% of the world’s refugees are living in countries neighbouring their country of origin, often in developing countries.

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