Disclaimer: The information provided in these policies/this section is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting upon it.
There is sometimes confusion about the difference between the terms ‘refugee’, ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘economic migrant.’ Here are some definitions:
Refugee: someone who is in need of protection and would be at risk of persecution if they returned home. Under international law the word “refugee” has a very precise meaning: someone 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…” (United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees, 1951)
Asylum seeker: someone who has asked to be recognised as a refugee and is waiting for the government to make a decision. They have made themselves known to the authorities and are part of an on-going legal process.
Refused asylum seeker: someone who has had their claim for asylum turned down because the Home Office has decided that they do not need protection in the UK
Economic migrant: a person who leaves their home country to work in another country.
Sheffield City of Sanctuary have a great A-Z of definitions on their site which includes a lot more terms and acronyms!
Keeping up-to-date with facts and figures can be difficult. Here are some sites where you can access the latest data:
The Refugee Council publish regular briefings and statistics, including a quarterly briefing on the Home Office’s statistics release. They also have a Top Facts page with 20 top facts based on the Sep 2018 Home Office statistics.
UNHCR has a section on ‘Asylum in the UK‘ which addresses commonly asked questions eg. how many refugees are there in the UK?
‘How many asylum seekers and refugees are there in the UK?’ – an article published by the House of Commons Library in March 2019 with some useful infographics.