Rainbow Flag - St Georges Tower - Castle Quarter & Paradise Street


A refugee is a person who:

‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country’

As quoted from Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

Oxfordshire Community & Voluntary Action have an online resource for asylum seekers and refugees, as well as health professionals, charities and volunteers listing organisations who may be able to provide goods and services.

Asylum seekers

An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee. In other words, in the UK an asylum seeker is someone who has asked the Government for refugee status and is waiting to hear the outcome of their application.

Current system for supporting asylum seekers

Those who claim asylum in the UK will go through a different process. Those thought to have legitimate claims for asylum and are unable to support themselves are placed into accommodation and given an allowance to live on while their claims are considered. This support is funded by the government. Asylum seekers are dispersed across the UK, apart from London.

Simple claims are aimed to be processed within six months, but there are some complex cases that have lasted for much longer. The majority of decisions are made in favour of granting asylum. Once asylum seekers are given status, they are entitled to work and receive benefits – and if appropriate, apply for housing.

The only asylum seekers directly supported by local authorities are unaccompanied asylum seeking children. (Failed asylum seekers may also be supported if they have children or social care needs). Councils also have responsibilities for managing school admissions and any cohesion issues. Becoming a dispersal area is voluntary and there are agreed ‘cluster limits’ in terms of the number of asylum seekers per population that can be placed in any area.

Status of the new arrivals

Refugees will be granted a five year humanitarian protection visa. This will entitle them to access public funds, access to the labour market and the possibility of a family reunion.

How to get advice and help:


Asylum Welcome

Welcomes asylum seekers, refugees and detainees who have fled persecution and danger in their own countries and seek refuge in Oxford and Oxfordshire.

The main office is open for telephone advice, drop-in and appointment advice, food and other forms of support from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The office is open for telephone advice and for pre-booked appointments from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm on a Monday and Thursday.

Unit 7, Newtec Place, Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RE, UK.
Phone 01865 722082
Mobile 07740108550
Fax 01865 792532

Youth Club
Unaccompanied teenagers meet at a youth club on a Tuesday evening.
Email youth@asylum-welcome.org for more information.

Refugee Resource

Refugee Resource aim to relieve distress, improve well-being and facilitate the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants in Oxfordshire, by providing psychological, social and practical support. Three key principles are:

Nurturing a sense of belonging, identity, self-worth and purpose in individuals to facilitate healing after experiences of trauma and dislocation.

Increasing individuals’ capacity to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes with confidence.

Facilitating integration on a psychological, social and community level.

Refugee Resource provides meaningful and supportive services for some of the most vulnerable groups of people within our society and feel that anyone who seeks refuge deserves the best possible support and guidance, in order to re-establish their lives in an environment in which they feel safe.

The Old Music Hall, 106 – 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JE
(Entrance at 54 Marston Street)

Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (10.00 AM to 4.00 PM)
Tuesdays (closed)
01865 403280 / 0845 458 0055
F  01865 403281
E  info@refugeeresource.org
W www.refugeeresource.org
T @RefugeeOxford

Open Door (Oxford)

Founded in 1999, Open Door is a drop-in service for refugees and asylum seekers on Thursdays 11am-4pm at the East Oxford Community Centre. The small charity run by volunteers offers advice, information, support, recreational activities and a free lunch. They provide a welcoming environment for people to meet, make connections, chat to volunteers and friends, gain training and participate in the preparation of a hot lunch (with halal and vegetarian options). They also provide on-going opportunities for refugees to do voluntary work and to learn new skills.
Tea, coffee, biscuits and fruit are also available at the drop in on Thursdays anytime between 11am – 4pm.

Coordinator Mark Greenaway
Email oxopendoor@yahoo.co.uk
East Oxford Community Centre, 44B Princes Street, Oxford OX4 1DD

Refugee Council

The Refugee Council is one of the leading charities in the UK working directly with refugees, and supporting them to rebuild their lives. We also speak up for refugees using our direct work as an evidence base, and ensure refugees have a stronger and more influential voice in decisions that will affect them. We work with a range of partners and in collaboration to ensure we can best support our clients.

The charity was founded in 1951 in response to the UN Convention for Refugees, which was created after World War II to ensure refugees were able to find safety in other countries. Since then, the Refugee Council has provided practical and emotional support to refugees from across the world to help them rebuild their lives and play a full part in society.

Head Office PO Box 68614, London E15 9DQ
Head Office general enquiries call 020 7346 6700
Children under 18 please contact Children’s Section 020 7346 1134

More information about seeking asylum and rights

Nationality and Citizenship pages of the GOV.UK website
Information about immigration, visas, work permits, citizenship and nationality.

UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group

The UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) supports LGBTQI+ people through the asylum and immigration process. Our vision is a world where there is equality, dignity, respect and safety for all people in the expression of their sexual or gender identity.