Asylum (see also Refugee)
A form of protection given by a State to a person who is unable to seek protection in his/her country of citizenship and/or residence in particular for fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

Asylum seeker (see also ‘Refused asylum seeker’)
Someone who has made a claim for asylum, and is awaiting determination of their case.

Asylum Support
The national support system in the UK for dispersed asylum seekers, formerly known as ‘NASS’ (National Asylum Support System). This can include housing and financial support depending on individual circumstances – see the UKBA website for more details.

Deportation (also known as ‘removal’)
The removal of a person who is not a national by the State from its territory to another country or territory after refusal of admission or termination of permission to remain.

The restriction on the freedom of movement of either an asylum seeker or a refused asylum seeker through their physical confinement in a detention centre.

Detention centre (also known as Immigration Removal Centres)
A specialised facility in which detained asylum seekers are confined sometimes on arrival or once their claim has been refused. There are 11 such centres in the UK.

The situation of asylum seekers lacking the means to meet basic needs of shelter, warmth, food, water and health for a variety of reasons.

The system to provide accommodation to asylum seekers in towns and cities around the UK, introduced in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s main funding body for social science research. It is a non-departmental public body established by Royal Charter in 1965 that receives and distributes central government funding for research to academics in universities and other institutes on the basis of open competition.

Forced labour
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines forced and compulsory labour as ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily’

Government programme to resettle agreed numbers of refugees from UNHCR refugee camps in the UK.

Informal economy
Refers to the diversity of economic activities that are not regulated by the state, whether self-employment in unregistered enterprises, wage labour in unprotected jobs or unwaged labour in the household economy.

International Labour Organisation (ILO)
An international organisation of the United Nations comprised of representatives of governments, employers and workers whose role is to devise and oversee international labour standards such as workers’ rights, health and safety, child labour and equality.

International migrant
A non-UK national who comes to live in the UK. Migrants include asylum seekers, refugees, EU and non EU migrants.

Irregular migrant (sometimes known as ‘undocumented’ or ‘illegal’ migrant).
Someone who enters or remains in a country without legal permission from the state, either because they entered clandestinely without permission, or because they entered in another visa category and have stayed after their visa entitlement expired.

Labour exploitation
Usually used to define situations of one or more of the following kinds of practices: low or no pay, long hours, insufficient breaks, broken promises, bullying, contravention of labour rights.

Someone who moves to another country to reside.

The movement of people between places.

Migrant worker
A non-UK national working in the UK.

Migration Yorkshire (formerly the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Migration Partnership)
A local authority-led regional migration partnership, hosted by Leeds City Council, that provides services to migrants and undertakes a number of strategic planning and advocacy roles. See Migration Yorkshire website.

According to the 1951 Geneva Convention, a refugee is a person who because of a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside their country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of the country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned before, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it.

Refused asylum seeker (or failed asylum seeker)
Someone who has applied for asylum and been refused.

To give legal status to irregular migrants without documentation, including permission to work.

Broadly defined as any transfer of money from migrants living in the UK to beneficiaries (e.g. family or dependents) residing in other countries, typically the migrants’ country of origin.

Slaves (see Slavery)

A system in which people are treated as the physical property of somone else, held against their will and are either forced to work by that person, or sold to others for the same purpose.

The recruitment or transportation of people by threat or coercion in order to have control over another person for the purpose of exploitation (see

The United Kingdom Border Agency, formerly the Borders and Immigration Agency (BIA), and before that, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), part of the Home Office.


Sources: Lewis, H., Craig, G., Adamson, S. and Wilkinson, M. (2008) Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants in Yorkshire and Humber, 1999 – 2008: a Review of Literature for Yorkshire Futures. Leeds: Yorkshire Futures (; European Migration Network (2010) Asylum and Migration Glossary: a tool for better comparability. Brussels: European Migration Network