Refugees ‘flood’ Britain for new homes
Send migrant scroungers home now
Do these sound familiar? They should: they’re all actual recent British newspaper headlines. For years now, the British media has been giving a largely negative press to those who come to the UK seeking shelter from overseas. The net result is that the terms ‘refugee’, ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘migrant’ are banded about willy-nilly and – in the eyes of the UK public, at least – have become largely inter-changeable.
This is palpably a nonsense. It makes as much sense as, say, banding together plumbers, carpenters and electricians as a single entity. True, they all do household improvement work, but you’d hardly call out a sparky to fix your blocked toilet. (And if you did, I hope you’d remember to stand well back as he approached the cistern with a live cable.) In the same way, there’s a world of difference between supposed refugee labels.
Still, I appreciate that understanding so many labels can be a headache, so here’s my idiot-proof, short and sweet guide:
A person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been decided.
Someone whose asylum application has been successful and who is allowed to stay in the UK having proved they would face persecution back home.
Refused asylum seeker
A person whose asylum application has failed and who has no other protection claim awaiting a decision.
Someone whose entry into or presence in a country contravenes immigration laws.
Someone who has moved to another country to work.
Each year, thousands of new arrivals and rejected asylum seekers in the UK find themselves destitute and in a hopeless limbo situation – cut off from government support and yet unable to return home for fear of persecution. (You can check out the recent excellent Guardian article on this issue.) That’s generally when the Red Cross steps in to help, but the negative headlines don’t make our work any easier.
We’ve just produced a new video highlighting this vulnerable group’s daily struggle for survival, and a powerful report – titled Not gone, but forgotten – highlighting the dire hardships destitute asylum seekers face and the urgent need for a more humane asylum system.
Please, check them both out and forward them on.