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An asylum-seeker is someone whose request for sanctuary has yet to be processed. Every year, around one million people seek asylum.

At UNHCR, we believe that everyone has a right to seek asylum from persecution, and we do our best to protect those who need it.
Greece. Transfers of vulnerable asylum-seekers from the islands to the mainland.

At the end of 2021, there were approximately 6.9 million people around the world waiting for a decision on their asylum claims. For more information and the latest statistics, read our annual Asylum Trends report.

National asylum systems are in place to determine who qualifies for international protection. However, during mass movements of refugees, usually as a result of conflict or violence, it is not always possible or necessary to conduct individual interviews with every asylum seeker who crosses a border. These groups are often called ‘prima facie’ refugees.