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date: 06 August 2020

Refugees and asylum‐seekers.locked

  • Jonathan Morley


A refugee is a person fleeing persecution or suffering, under the entitlements of international law. The largest proportion of the world's refugees live in poverty‐stricken countries of the Third World, to which they move from neighbouring areas afflicted by war, dictatorship, famine, drought, or other natural disasters. The term ‘asylum‐seeker’ is specific to Britain, denoting applicants who may be granted official refugee status, humanitarian protection, or discretionary leave to remain. Those rejected during the asylum process are, in effect, illegal immigrants attempting to enter the country by false means: they are returned to their home countries or moved to a third state (either one they have passed through to reach Britain or a further point of stoppage). Since the accession of the east European states to the European Union in 2004, debates on illegal immigration have become applicable almost exclusively to non‐white immigrants.

Until the late 19th century there ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Oxford Companion to Black British History.

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