The language and terminology used in the discussion of issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers can be opaque and confusing. Below are some useful definitions of terms commonly encountered in our work with these groups.
A general term to describe those countries which have recently joined the European Union.
Appeal rights exhausted [ARE] This term is used to describe people who have no more opportunities to challenge a negative decision on their asylum claim.
Asylum seekers on Section 95 support are given this Chip and Pin card to access their weekly support via ATMs or shops that accept Visa Debit cards.
Someone who has applied for asylum under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and is awaiting a decision on this outcome [including those who are at different appeal stages]. This usually takes at least six months, though it can take years for someone to convince the Home Office they need sanctuary. While an asylum seeker is waiting for a decision they are given accommodation on a ‘no choice’ basis in a shared house, and about £35 a week for food, clothes and other living expenses.
Also known as Section 4 support.
COMPASS [Commercial and operational managers procuring asylum support] A Home Office contract with providers across different areas of the UK to supply asylum accommodation and support services from 2012. In South Yorkshire this is managed by G4S.
Destitute asylum seeker
Someone whose application for asylum has been turned down, and whose support has been stopped.
Discretionary Leave [DL] A form of permission to stay in the UK for exceptional reasons. This is sometimes granted to someone who does not qualify for protection under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Unaccompanied asylum seeking children [UASC] are sometimes granted Discretionary Leave until they can claim asylum as an adult.
This describes the process where asylum seekers requesting accommodation support are sent to different areas of the UK to be housed. In Yorkshire, Humber and the North-East asylum seekers are sent to Urban House Initial Accommodation Centre in Wakefield, before being dispersed to towns and cities such as Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster etc.
Someone who moves to another country to work.
A person who has come to the UK to join a member of their family, and has been given a right to live in the UK. [Also known as: family joiner.]
Gateway Protection Programme [GPP] The UK resettlement programme for refugees, operated by the Home Office in partnership with the UNHCR. Particular groups of refugees are relocated directly to the UK from overseas and have refugee status (Indefninite Leave to Remain) in the UK immediately. They receive additional support to settle in during their first year in the UK. [Also known as: resettlement.]
Humanitarian Protection [HP] A form of permission to stay in the UK under the European Convention on Human Rights. It is used if someone does not qualify for protection under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, but there are humanitarian reasons for allowing the individual to stay in the UK.
Indefinite Leave to Remain [ILR] This is permission to stay in the UK permanently, without immigration or travel restrictions. It is not the same as citizenship, and so does not mean a British passport or entitlement to vote in general elections. [Also known as: Settlement, permanent residence.]
Initial Accommodation [IA] Temporary housing that is provided to asylum seekers when they are first dispersed to a region. In Yorkshire this is based at Urban House in Wakefield. After this they are moved to S95 accommodation where they stay until their asylum claim has been decided.
Immigration Removal Centre [IRC] A secure unit where asylum seekers are detained
Limited leave to remain
Temporary permission to stay in the UK. This usually lasts between 2 and 5 years and may have restrictions attached, such as permission to work or claim benefits. [Also known as: temporary permission.]
NASS [National Asylum Support Service] This was the section of the Home Office that dealt with asylum support issues. Home Office Case Owners now deal with support issues for their clients.
National Referral Mechanism [NRM] The formal process to identify potential victims of trafficking and refer them to the relevant authority.
No Recourse to Public Funds [NRPF] This term refers to people from abroad who are subject to immigration control and are not entitled to welfare benefits, or public housing. Some people with Discretionary Leave are also subject to these conditions.
Points-Based System [PBS] The system of giving third country nationals permission to enter and stay in the UK to work or to study. It was launched in February 2008 and consists of 5 ‘tiers’ which have different conditions, entitlements and entry-clearance checks.
A person given permission to stay in the UK following their claim for protection under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
Refugee community organisation [RCO] An organisation that is run by members of asylum and / or refugee community. RCOs are usually small, local and practical in purpose.
Refused asylum seeker
see ‘Destitute asylum seeker’
See Gateway Protection Programme and Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme
‘Roma’ is an umbrella term to describe groups of people with similar cultural characteristics including those who describe themselves for example as Roma, Sinti, Gypsies and Kalé. Roma have lived in Europe for over 1,000 years since originally migrating from India and are the largest minority in Europe.
Section 4 [S4] support
Refused asylum seekers who are destitute can apply to the Home Office for support if they are unable to travel back to their country of origin through no fault of their own. This is known as ‘Section 4’ because it was introduced by Section 4 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Support consists of accommodation and non-cash subsistence payments accessed by an Azure card. [Also known as: hard case support.]
Section 4 Payment Card
A way of providing cashless support to refused asylum seekers. [Also known as: Azure Card.]
Section 95 [S95] support
Asylum seekers who are destitute can apply to the Home Office for support to cover essential living needs and accommodation while their asylum claim is processed. This is known as ‘Section 95’ because it was introduced by Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. It also usually covers refused asylum seekers with families. [Also known as: Section 95.]
Asylum seekers who do not wish to be dispersed and accommodated by the Home Office may be eligible for support under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to meet living expenses. This is provided in cash payments. [Also known as: subs-only.]
Third country national
A migrant from outside the EEA.
The process of moving a person from one country to another in order to exploit them. Exploitation may mean forced labour, prostitution or other practices similar to slavery.
UK Border Agency [UKBA] This was an agency of the Home Office between 2008 and 2013. Its work is now undertaken by two units of the Home Office: visa and immigration services and immigration law enforcement.
UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
This international agreement, along with the 1967 Protocol, forms the foundation of asylum and refugee processes in 147 countries, as it outlines the minimum standards for the treatment of refugees. It defines a refugee as: “A person 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 or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.” [Also known as: 1951 Convention, Refugee Convention, 1951 UN Refugee Convention.]
Unaccompanied asylum seeking child / children [UASC] Children under the age of 18 who have claimed asylum in the UK but do not have a parent or guardian in this country. Local authorities have a duty to care for these children. [Also known as: separated child / children.]
A migrant who is in a country without permission: in the UK, someone who does not have permission from the Home Office to be in the UK. [Also known as: irregular migrant.]
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] A United Nations agency which leads international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of refugees.
Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme [VARRP] A Home Office programme to assist asylum seekers who decide to return home voluntarily.
Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme
A scheme set up by the Government in 2014 to resettle Syrian refugees. Initially taking just over 200 refugees, it was later expanded to take 20,000 during the period to 2020. Refugees arriving under this scheme are granted five years’ Humanitarian Protection – unlike those arriving under the Gateway Programme who are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.