Immigration and Asylum – Important words and what they mean (English)


Immigration Immigration means moving from one country to live in another country.

People who work in immigration in the UK work with people who have moved to this country.

Asylum Seeker A person who has left their country to go somewhere safer and has applied to be given refugee status in another country.
Refugee A person who has left their country and is allowed to stay in another as they have proved it is unsafe for them to go back to their country.
Refugee Status If you are given refugee status it means the Home Office have allowed you to stay in the UK as a refugee.
Asylum Process The steps you take to apply to get refugee status in the UK.
Age Assessment If you don’t have any documents to prove how old you are (for example a passport or birth certificate) and the Home Office or your social worker don’t believe you are the age you say you are, they will do an ‘age assessment’.

This involves one or more meetings with two social workers. They will ask you questions to decide what age they think you are.

The Home Office The government department responsible for immigration.
An appeal If you get an immigration decision you think is wrong you can ask a court to decide if it is correct or should be changed. A solicitor/lawyer helps you do this.
Court A place where legal decisions are made by a judge.
Substantive (Big) Interview The big interview where the Home Office asks you the reasons you are unsafe in your country and decides whether to give you refugee status in this country.
Legal Aid Money from the government to pay for solicitors for people who haven’t got enough money to pay.



Immigration Lawyer / Solicitor The person who knows about the law and can help you apply for refugee status from the Home Office, or appeal decisions.
Translator / Interpreter A person who changes the words of people who speak different languages so they can understand each other.
Appropriate Adult Someone to look after you and support you to speak for yourself in an age assessment or your big interview with the Home Office.
Judge The person in a court who makes a decision about your case during an appeal.
MP (Member of Parliament) The person from government responsible for your local area.

If you’ve been waiting for a very long time for your interview or decision on your case you can ask your MP to write to the Home Office.

You The most important person in this process!