An asylum seeker
(also rarely called an asylee
) is a person who flees from one country country and applies for asylum, i.e. the right to international protection, in another country. An asylum seeker may be a refugee
, a displaced person or a migrant, such as an economic migrant. A person becomes an asylum seeker by making a formal application for the right to remain in another country and keeps that status until the application has been concluded
. The relevant immigration
authorities of the country of asylum determine whether the asylum seeker will be granted asylum and becomes an officially recognised refugee or whether asylum is refused and the person has to leave the country again and may even be deported. The asylum seeker may be recognised as a refugee and given refugee status if the person's circumstances fall into the definition of "refugee
" according to the 1951 Refugee Convention or other refugee laws, such as the European Convention on Human Rights
– if asylum is claimed within the European Union. However signatories to the refugee convention create their own policies for assessing the protection status of asylum seekers, and the proportion of asylum applicants who are rejected varies from country to country and year to year.
The terms asylum seeker and refugee are often confused: an asylum-seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been definitively evaluated. On average, about 1 million people seek asylum on an individual basis every year.
Non-governmental organizations concerned with refugees and asylum seekers have pointed out difficulties for displaced persons to seek asylum in industrialized countries. As their immigration policy often focuses on the fight
of illegal immigration
and the strengthening of border controls it deters displaced persons from entering territory in which they could lodge
an asylum claim. The lack of opportunities to legally access the asylum procedures can force asylum seekers to undertake
often expensive and hazardous
attempts at illegal entry