asylum seeker

GC: n

S: UNESCO – (last access: 25 October 2018); UNHCR – (last access: 25 October 2018).

N: 1. – asylum (n): Early 15c., earlier asile (late 14c.), from Latin asylum “sanctuary,” from Greek asylon “refuge,” noun use of neuter of asylos “inviolable, safe from violence,” especially of persons seeking protection, from a- “without” + syle “right of seizure.” So literally “an inviolable place.”
– seeker (n): Early 14c., agent noun from seek (Old English secan “inquire, search for; pursue; long for, wish for, desire; look for, expect from). The religious sect of the Seekers is attested from 1645.
2. A person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been concluded.
3. A person who invokes the protection of the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees before the national authorities of a State and claims persecution to gain official refugee status in that country.
4. An important piece of this is that refugees are protected by international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention. But even the terms refugee and asylum seeker are often confused.
Someone is an asylum seeker for so long as their application is pending. So not every asylum seeker will be recognised as a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum seeker.
Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants can return home if they wish. This distinction is important for governments, since countries handle migrants under their own immigration laws and processes.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 25 October 2018). 2. REFCOUNC – (last access: 25 October 2018). 3. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 25 October 2018). 4. HABHUM – (last access: 25 October 2018).


CR: asylee, asylum, displaced person, immigrant, internally displaced people, international protection, refugee.