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What is an Asylum Seeker?

A person who has been forced to leave their country because they have suffered – or a fearful of – torture, oppression or persecution. They have a legal right to ask for protection and are waiting for a decision on their asylum claim. The Home Office makes the decision. People seeking asylum are not allowed to work.

Who is a Refugee?

A refugee is a person whose asylum claim has been accepted and it has been proved that they would be persecuted if they returned to their country.

Refugees are legally allowed to be in the country and can legally be employed.

Since 2005 refugees have been granted 5 years leave to remain – this can be revoked at any time. At the end of the 5 years, refugees can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Migrant Worker

A migrant worker is a person who has legally applied for job and moved to this country. They pay the same taxes as UK citizens and have to abide by UK laws.

Destitute Asylum Seeker

A destitute asylum seeker is a person who has been through the asylum process and has not been accepted. When their claim is finished they cannot leave the country because there is no safe passage to their country or they do not have travel documents.

When a person’s claim has finished unsuccessfully, they have ‘no recourse to public funds’. This means they do not receive benefits and are not given any housing. They are not allowed to work.

Illegal Immigrant

An illegal immigrant is usually someone who has not followed the immigration rules. The most common illegal immigrant is someone who has outstayed their student or visitor’s visa.