[Text on screen]: What’s the difference between refugees, asylum seekers and migrants?

A refugee is someone officially recognised as seeking safety from harm in a country other than their own.

An asylum seeker is also someone seeking safety, but who is not yet officially recognised as a refugee.

A migrant is someone who voluntarily moves from one place to another, usually to find work or better living conditions.

Everyone in the UK is protected by The Human Rights Act regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. But what specific rights do these people have?

Anyone has the right to seek protection from persecution under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 1951 Refugee Convention states that no refugee should be prevented from entering a country. Refugees have the right to remain in the UK either long-term or indefinitely.

Under the Refugee Convention, they have the right to housing, education and work...and the right to not be returned to their home country if the threat persists. Refugees must abide by the laws of their host country.

Asylum seekers have the right to stay in the UK but only while they are waiting for the government’s decision on their status. They do not have the right to work...except in very exceptional circumstances. But they do have the right to housing and cash support from the government.

Housing isn’t always supplied immediately...so asylum seekers can sometimes find themselves living on the streets. If the government decides a person needs protection, they will be given the right to stay in the UK for a limited period and they can apply to stay permanently after 5 years.

Unlike refugees, migrants are still protected under the laws of their own government as well as ours. They have the right to work and receive equal wages for equal work. Depending on their visa, they may also have the right to access benefits. There are many reasons someone may need to leave their home.

We all have the right to be treated with dignity and respect...and every state has a part to play in protecting that right.

This video was co-produced with Young Citizen and RightsInfo.


Whats the difference between migrants, asylum seekers and refugees?

Published on 29 Nov 2019

What’s the difference between migrants, asylum seekers and refugees?

There are many reasons for someone needing to leave their home country, be it war, education or even marriage. Each person in the UK is protected under human rights law, no matter their citizenship or immigration status. Learn more about the similarities and differences with this informative video, co-produced with Young Citizens.

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