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|To start with the basics, an asylum seeker is someone who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country because of danger back home, and who is waiting to hear the outcome.|
Under international law (the 1951 UN Convention), a refugee is someone who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable to…avail himself of the protection of that country’.
If successful, asylum applicants to the UK are awarded refugee status and then granted ‘leave to remain’ – in other words, legal permission to stay in the UK for five years. If the situation in their home country has not improved after those five years, they can apply to stay permanently.
If unsuccessful in their asylum application, they can be deported or appeal against the decision in a fixed time period. If they can gather fresh evidence to support their application, they can submit a fresh claim.