The UK has a responsibility to refugees because it has signed the 1951 United Nations Convention and the 1967 Protocol on refugees.
The Convention says a refugee is someone who is forced to flee his/her country due to: "a well founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a social group". To be accepted as a refugee in the UK, an individual must first apply for asylum. While the Home Office decides on a claim the applicant is classified as an asylum seeker.
Prior to 1999 we had a statutory responsibility to offer assistance to asylum seekers under the National Assistance Act of 1948. Councils also had a duty to provide accommodation and benefits to asylum seekers whilst they awaited the outcome of their case with the Home Office.
However, following changes in the law due to the Immigration and Asylum Act of 1999, asylum seekers that arrive after April 2000 no longer have a right to assistance and do not have to be provided for by the Council. Instead, the Home Office provides support through the National Asylum Support Service (NASS).
The Home Office UK Border Agency website will help you understand UK immigration control and what your rights and responsibilities are when you make an application
Derbyshire Police and East Midlands Migration Partnership have produced a range of leaflets for new arrivals to Derbyshire. They provide information relating to local councils, residency rights, currency, children and education, healthcare, driving and travel, emergency services, accommodation and employment.