Akaba Alsoufi – Trainee

Myth Busting !

What does asylum seeker mean?
The definition of an asylum seeker is someone who has arrived in a country and
asked for asylum. Until they receive a decision as to whether or not they are a
refugee, they are known as an asylum seeker. In the UK , this means they do not
have the same rights as a refugee or British citizen would; asylum seekers are not
allowed to work.

What does refugee mean?
A person who has been forced to flee their country in addition to escape war,
persecution or natural disaster.

What is the difference between asylum seeker as refugee?
·An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking international protection but whose
claim for refugee status has not yet been determined. In contrast, a refugee is
someone who has been recognised under the 1951 convention relating to the status
of refugee to be a refugee.

The 1951 Refugee Convention is the key legal document that forms the basis
of our work. Ratified by 145 State parties, it defines the term ‘refugee’ and
outlines the rights of the displaced, as well as the legal obligations of States
to protect them.

Numbers and facts:
According to the united Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), by the end of 2017 there were 121,837 refugees, 40,365 pending asylum cases and 97 stateless people in the UK. That is around one quarter of a percent (0.25%) of the UKs total population.
· Asylum applications to the UK are relatively low – 26,350 in 2017. They increased
slightly in 2015, when there were 32,733 applications for asylum, but this was still
significantly lower than the peak of 84,000 applications back in 2002.
· 85% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. The least developed countries host one third of the total number of refugees globally. At the end of 2017, the country hosting the most refugees was Turkey – home to 3.5 million refugees. Other significant host countries for refugees were Pakistan (1.4 million), Uganda (1.2 million) and Lebanon (998,850).
· In 2017, in the EU Germany received the highest number of asylum applications (199,200), Italy the second most (128,800) and France third (98,800). The UK RECEIVED 5% of the asylum applications lodged in the EU in 2017.

Can asylum seekers enter the UK legally?
Because there is no legal way for the asylum to inter the UK, there is nothing called an illegal asylum seeker. “The 1951 refugee convention acknowledges that refugees
may enter countries through irregular routes and should not be penalised for this,”
Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy at the Refugee Council

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