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Asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees

This section is intended to be used in conjunction with 'Race and Ethnicity' above. Asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees have been included as a separate grouping to reflect the volume of relevant material on this theme.

Although immigrants can be distinguished from asylum seekers and refugees in terms of their official status, they appear together in this section to reflect both the wording of relevant legislation, and the focus of existing research findings. Three working definitions follow:

  • Migrants, to the Home Office report (2002) Migrants in the UK: their characteristics and labour market outcomes and impacts, are defined as all those who were born outside the UK.
  • An asylum seeker is someone who is waiting for their application to be recognised as a refugee to be considered by the Government. Under international law, the word 'refugee' has a very precise meaning, as set out in the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the 'Refugee Convention').
  • In the Refugee Convention, a refugee is defined as someone who: has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion; is outside the country they belong to or normally reside in, and is unable or unwilling to return home for fear of persecution.

Further resources

From here you can find some mainly web-based resources relating to this topic.

  • Dr Michael A. Shields and Dr Stephen Wheatley Price (2003) The labour market outcomes and psychological well-being of ethnic minority migrants in Britain, Home Office Online Report 07/03
  • The 'Integration: mapping the field' exercise involved a survey of British research on immigrants and refugees. Part One by Castles et al. (2002) outlined areas which have been researched and identify gaps in the research. Part Two by Fyvie et al. (2003) provides an extensive bibliography, acting as a comprehensive reference to relevant publications, resources, organisations and websites. Integration is a two way process with adaptation required from the host society as well as migrants who have concerns around the issues of identity, belonging, recognition and self-respect. Defining immigrants and refugees is problematic. Current terms do not reflect the diversity within communities. The legal definition of a refugee does not reflect current realities. Boundaries between economic migrants and refugees have become increasingly blurred.
  • Castles, C., Korac, M., Vasta, E. and Vertovec, S. with the assistance of Katrin Hansing, Fiona Moore, Emma Newcombe, Lucy Rix, Soojin Yu (2002) Integration: mapping the field. Volume I: Report of a Project carried out by the University of Oxford Centre for Migration and policy Research and Refugee Studies Centre, contracted by the Home Office Immigration Research and Statistics Service (IRSS), Home Office Online Report 28/03.
  • Fyvie, C., Ager, A., Curley, G. and Korac, M. (2003) Integration: mapping the field. Volume II - distilling policy lessons from the "mapping the field" exercise, Home Office Online Report 29/03.
  • Refugee Council support materials (2011)
  • Roberts, K. & Harris, J. (2002) Disabled People in Refugee and Asylum-seeking Communities, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The presence of disabled people in refugee and asylum-seeking communities in Britain is frequently overlooked and information about their particular experiences is rarely available. The report provides data on the numbers and social characteristics of disabled people in refugee and asylum-seeking communities and interviews with disabled people and service providers on their experience. One key recommendation is a call for greater disability awareness and equality training for those working with refugee and asylum-seeking communities.

Work in this area has been taken forward by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford, which has set up The Migration Observatory, a multi-media platform providing user-friendly access to authoritative and independent analysis of data on migrants and migration issues in the UK, set in an international context. It has also produced a wide range of relevant material, including the following: