As a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the United Kingdom has a legal obligation to consider all applications for asylum, or sanctuary, made in this country. Under the UN Convention anyone has the right to ask for asylum in another country if they are suffering persecution in their own.

In this region integration work with asylum seekers and refugees is led by the East of England Strategic Migration Partnership.

Who is an asylum seeker?

In the UK we define an 'asylum seeker', as someone who has fled to the UK, lodged an asylum claim with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) at the Home Office and is awaiting a decision on that claim.

Who is a refugee?

If a person has their asylum claim granted they become a refugee. For this to happen they must have demonstrated a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. In addition, they must be unwilling or unable to seek protection from their own country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.

The UK has a proud heritage of welcoming refugees, many of whom make a huge contribution to the enrichment of our national life, and some of whom have gone on to become well-known public figures through their achievements, despite facing immense adversity.

What is integration?

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has agreed a Europe-wide definition of integration as:

"a long-term, two-way process of change that relates to both the conditions for and the actual participation of refugees in all aspects of life of the country of durable asylum as well as to the refugees' own sense of belonging and membership of European societies. The objective of integration programmes and policies should be the establishment of a mutual and responsible relationship between individual refugees, civil society and host states which promotes equality, self-determination and sustainable self-sufficiency and acceptance and positive action in favour of refugees by European governments and societies."