Most of the UK local councils and Government organizations define an asylum seeker as “someone who enters its territory, seeks refugee status and awaits a decision by its Government on his / her application” (London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, n. d.). This means that anyone who enters the UK territory for some reasons of persecution from another country and applies for a refugee status remains officially an asylum seeker as long as the application remains pending. Asylum seekers whose applications are accepted would become refugees. But, part 6 of the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act of the UK explains that the term ‘asylum seekers’ also includes those “who have made no claim for protection under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Optional Protocol of 1967”. The term also includes those people who have children under the age of 18 but failed in their asylum claim (Harvey, 2002: 189).
There are researchers who correctly think that a clear-cut definition is lacking for these terms resulting in confusion on a relationship between asylum and international protection (Kourala, 1997: 274).
Several countries have their own independent immigration laws and policies to deal with the asylum seekers and the UK has also been pursuing its own immigration policy. The policy has surely an objective to achieve. A close examination of its policies and laws reveal that the policies are guided by the objective of discouraging the increasing number of immigrants entering the country.
Available literature on immigration and asylum seekers suggests that majority of the UK people, like the other Europeans, are ready to accept the increasing inflow of immigrants on the condition that immigrants learn all types of skilled work, that they do not seek full welfare benefits and that they accept and adopt the host culture (Liddle and Diamond, 2006: 26).