Skip to main content
Asylum seekers get a very bad press.

Many people do not know the difference between asylum seekers, economic migrants and illegal immigrants. In fact, people seek asylum because they have suffered persecution at home – imprisonment, torture, death threats – simply for supporting the ‘wrong’ political party or speaking out against corruption, for being gay or marrying the ‘wrong’ person, for belonging to the ‘wrong’ ethnic group or practising the ‘wrong’ religion. These are things we simply cannot imagine in this oh-so-safe country of ours so many people disbelieve them.

On arrival asylum seekers have to report to the UK Border Agency. They are finger printed and issued with an identity card. They have to report back at regular intervals like common criminals. They are not allowed to work and receive minimal benefits which are not always paid in cash. They have to live in the accommodation provided for them (not council houses), they have no choice about where it is and they can be – and often are – moved to a different part of the country at 48 hours notice.

Only 37% of asylum claims are accepted at the first hearing and around a quarter are accepted on appeal. Far from being a ‘soft touch’ the UK takes less than 3% of the world’s asylum seekers. Just 10,000 people, nationwide, are granted leave to remain each year. It can take ten years or more to be granted permission to stay in the UK.