More than 65 million people have been displaced from their homes, and the global refugee crisis touches issues of war, poverty, famine, economics, race, religion, gender, politics, policy, and justice. — Jamie D. Aten Ph.D.
Many individuals often interchange the terms “refugees” and “asylees” as if they are the same. When you ask why they do that, you may get another question thrown at you. E.g., “Aren’t they the displaced folks from other countries that seek for protection and refuge here?”
Well, if you look at the matter in this sense, asylees and refugees do not seem too different from each other. Both are immigrants who wish to live in a foreign country that’s a million miles away from one where they get persecuted or terrorized due to nationality, race, political views, et cetera. Nevertheless, there are main points that set refugees apart from asylees and vice versa.
- Location During The Application Process
The procedure of receiving legal status in the new nation is the first thing that differentiates the two. You see, to be able to seek asylum in the United States or any country that offers a similar program, the applicant has to be inside its borders already. In case the person is not, he or she should at least be about to travel and needs that documentation to get admitted at the port of entry.
Meanwhile, applying for the refugee status requires someone to remain in his or her homeland until the decision comes. The possibility of getting approval may be slim if he or she sends the application through the immigration office in another country. It is also not allowed to try to enter the US, for instance, if the person has immigrated to any other nation before applying.
- Some Countries Accept More Refugees Than Asylees
Every government that takes in people whose lives may be in danger in their motherland due to racial or political persecution or terrorism has a cap when it comes to the number of asylum seekers and refugees that can gain protection within their walls. Say, in the United States, the president agrees to accept almost 70,000 persons per year as refugees. However, the asylees that are given legal status are no more than 30,000 applicants.
…refugees, especially those who are made to feel welcome in their host communities, outperform non-refugees when it comes to getting a college education. More education means higher lifetime earnings. — Michael Ungar Ph.D.
An exact reason for favoring refugees over asylum seekers is challenging to get from immigration officers, of course. Both types of displaced fellows need to prove that they cannot stay or go back to their home country because of conflict, maltreatment, or oppression. One can only assume that it is due to the more imminent threat that the former applicants deal with compared to the latter.
- Asylees May Not Have Legal Papers Upon Entering The Foreign Country
As mentioned above, it is one of the few requirements for asylum seekers to inside the country where they seek protection from. That entails that they may be living illegally there for some time. Once the immigration officers round them up, therefore, that is merely when they decide to apply for asylum to avoid getting deported.
Refugees, on the other hand, are the people who do not wish to go through all that trouble. They are trying to be lawful by applying for this particular status before entering their country of choice. Thus, they won’t have to hide from the authorities when there is legal permission in their hands.
Despite all these differences, when asylees and refugees receive an authorized status to go to a specific nation, they will experience the same privileges. The United States particularly allows either to apply for a work permit after that. When a year passes, they can get a green card. Four years later, they may be able to apply for citizenship. It may take the same amount of time to become a naturalized resident in other countries too.