Child refugees and asylum seekers

A refugee is someone who has been given the right to stay in the UK because they're unsafe in their home country. If you're a child refugee or asylum seeker or, if you know someone who could be, we can help.

Being a child refugee

There are lots of different reasons why people leave the country where they were born or grew up, including:

  • joining family abroad                                              
  • escaping war or violence
  • finding safety                                      
  • coming to study or work
  • being able to look after their children.                                                     

Who are refugees and asylum seekers?

Asylum seekers are people who come to the UK because they are unsafe in their home country. 

Refugees are people who have had their asylum claims accepted by the UK government. They have the right to stay in the UK for up to 5 years. After that they can apply to stay in the UK indefinitely.

You have the right to

  • feel safe at home and outside
  • continue your education, including going to school or college
  • have your views heard
  • get support with your basic needs, like having somewhere to live, food and clothing.

3 facts about refugees

  • Refugees make up just 0.18% of the UK population.
  • More than half of the world's refugees are from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.
  • Famous refugees include Rita Ora, Bob Marley and Albert Einstein.

Applying for asylum

Applying for asylum can be a long process and it's normal to go to lots of meetings.

You'll usually go to these with your family. If you're applying on your own and you're under 18, you may be asked to go with your social worker or another responsible adult

If you don't understand anything, remember it's always okay to ask questions. You can also ask for an interpreter to help you communicate at the meetings. 

Organisations such as the British Red Cross provide support for young refugees.

We can help you contact your local Children's Services and find a social worker. 

If you're a child refugee or asylum seeker applying for asylum in the UK can be a hard process. But no matter what's happening we're here for you and can help you find ways to cope and feel better.

Things you can try:

  • talking about your feelings. This can help you to feel more confident
  • taking a break by going outside for a walk or jog
  • asking your parents or carers when you need something
  • writing about how you're feeling, on paper or with our mood journal
  • joining after school clubs and activities to make friends.

I wish for...

Wish tree

Use the Art Box to create a wish tree showing the things you wish for. Draw a picture of a tree, and write the things you want on the branches. You could also simply draw something you wish for and save it in your art box.

Create my wish tree

Living in the uk

Celebrating difference

The world would be a very boring place if everyone looked the same, spoke the same and did the same things. Having different people around is a really positive thing.

Some people find new or different things scary. So the more they come to understand or hear positive things about a culture or religion, the better they might feel about it. 

You could ask people questions about their beliefs and explain more about your faith, religion or values. This could be a way of learning about each other and about the things that make us who we are. Celebrating our differences can sometimes help us meet new people, make friends or stop bullying from happening.

Helping someone you know

There are lots of ways to support someone who has come to the UK as an asylum seeker. It can help to imagine what it would be like coming to a new country, and how you'd like people to treat you. 

Here are some things you can do:

listen - letting someone know you're there for them can help them to feel cared for. It can also be an important way of reassuring a child refugee or asylum seeker who feels anxious about speaking English as a second language. 

ask about their background - refugees coming to the UK can find it hard to fit in. Sharing stories about the differences between countries shows interest and will help you get to know each other

do things you both enjoy - this can help them take their mind off things. Things can feel unfamilar in a new country and it can help to show someone the different things they can do.