The Truth about Asylum Seekers


A refugee is a person who is recognised by the government as having a fear of being persecuted in their country for reasons of….

  • Race

  • Religion

  • Nationality

  • Member of a group

  • Political Opinion

Usually, when someone flees from their country and arrives in the UK they have to claim asylum in order to be granted refugee status.  An Asylum Seeker is someone who is still waiting for the decision to be made as to whether they will be granted refugee status or not. 


Asylum Seekers are not economic migrants coming to the UK through choice or to look for work.  They are fleeing from grave danger in their home country, have often been tortured, imprisoned or threatened and experienced a great deal of trauma on their journey to the UK.  Everyone has the right to seek asylum and contrary to what the media often report, there is no such thing as a bogus asylum seeker or an illegal asylum seeker. 


In 2018 27, 044 people applied for asylum in the UK but only 14,308 were actually granted asylum. The nationalities with the largest number of asylum applications in 2018 were: Iranian, Pakistani, Iraqi, Sudanese, Bangladeshi.


When someone first arrives in the UK and claims asylum they are provided with support from the British government.  They are given accommodation which may be anywhere in the UK plus £37.75 a week to live on.  They do not have permission to work and receive around half of what a British citizen would be entitled to on benefits.  If someone’s asylum claim is refused then their support is stopped and they are told they should make plans to return to their home country.


Reasons for Refusal

A person’s asylum claim can be refused for many different reasons.  A refusal does not necessarily mean that it is safe for someone to return to their home country.  Someone may be refused because they do not have enough evidence to support their story or because there have been miscommunications during their interviews due to poor translation. 


Over 25% of asylum refusals are overturned on appeal  which shows that there are often errors made by the Home Office when they first review someone’s case. Once someone’s claim has been refused any support or benefits from the government are withdrawn, even though they have a right to appeal the decision and submit fresh evidence to support their claim. 


Refused asylum seekers become trapped in destitution and cannot see a way to escape from this situation.  Therefore, destitute asylum seekers are not here, ‘to take our houses, jobs and benefits’ because they have little or no access to such things. These people have ‘chosen’ destitution because they fear that their lives will be in danger if they are forced to return to their home countries. Exact figures for destitute asylum seekers are unknown as often people would rather remain invisible as they fear being deported.