Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Migrant Workers

Information on Asylum Seekers in Wales and the UK

Asylum Seekers

An asylum seeker is someone who is waiting for their application to be recognised as a refugee to be considered by the Government.


Asylum Seekers are dispersed to four agreed 'dispersal' areas in Wales by the Home Office. The agreed dispersal areas in Wales are Newport, Wrexham, Cardiff and Swansea.

UK-Wide Asylum Figures:

Asylum applications in the UK from main applicants increased by 14% to 33,380 in the year ending September 2016, the highest number of applications since 2004 (33,960). However, numbers of asylum applications in the third quarter of 2016 (7,146 in July toSeptember) have been considerably lower than in the same quarter of 2015(10,231 in July to September).

In the year ending September 2016, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Iran (4,822), followed by Iraq (3,127), Pakistan (2,937), Afghanistan (2,567), Syria(2,102) and Bangladesh (1,927). Most applications for asylum are made by people already in the country (89% of applications in the year ending September 2016) rather than immediately on arrival in the UK at a port.

There were 1,704 grants of asylum or an alternative form of protection to Syrian main applicants at initial decision in the year ending September 2016. The grant rate for Syrian applicants was 86%, but some of those not granted will have been transferred to have their case assessed by another EU member state (third country), and other applicants may have been found not to be Syrian following investigation.

An additional 4,162 people (including dependants) were granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) in the year ending September2016. Since this scheme began in 2014, a total of 4,414 people have been resettled. In the year ending September 2016, an additional 715 people were also resettled in the UK under the Gateway Protection Programme and the Mandate Scheme.

Including dependants, the UK had the sixth highest number (41,000) of asylum applications within the EU in the year ending September 2016. Germany (781,000), Sweden (112,000) and Italy(108,000) were the 3 EU countries that received the highest number of asylum applications, together accounting for 70% of asylum applications in the EU in that period.

Details taken from Gov.UK Immigration Statistics July - September 2016


Refugees in Wales

A refugee is 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 to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country..."  Article 1, The 1951 Refugee Convention.

Refugee status is given when the Home Office considers that the person fits into the definition as set out by the 1951 UN Convention Relating to Refugees.  As of 30th August 2005 those granted refugee status in the UK will be given 5 years leave to remain.

Migrant Workers

Generally the term "migrant worker" refers to a person who is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State of which he or she is not a national. In Wales and the UK the term migrant worker is increasingly used to refer specifically to East European Citizens.

The distinguishing factor between migrant workers from European countries and those from non European Union countries, is the process or procedure by which they enter the UK to work procedure by which they enter the UK to work.

 Information for EU Migrants - post Brexit

Information for EU Migrants - post Brexit Welsh

Published on: 10 March 2010