Magazine article New Internationalist

Refugee, Asylum Seeker, Illegal Alien, Economic Migrant

Magazine article New Internationalist

Refugee, Asylum Seeker, Illegal Alien, Economic Migrant

Article excerpt

A refugee is defined by the UN as one with 'a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion'. There are currently around 15 million refugees in the world - many fleeing armed conflict. People also speak of 'economic' and 'environmental' refugees - those fleeing poverty or environmental degradation or catastrophe, though these don't always fit the UN's definition.

Asylum seeker is a term increasingly used for a refugee applying for asylum in a particular country. If granted asylum they gain 'refugee status'.

Illegal alien or undocumented allen describes a person who has entered a country without proper documentation. Some will be refugees, others undocumented workers or economic migrants. An economic migrant is a person who has come to a foreign country primarily for work purposes. …

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