IATE Term of the Week: Asylum Seeker

March 17, 2017 10:40 am

This week MEP Cecilia Wikström, leader on the reform of the Dublin asylum system, stated that all Member States must share responsibility for hosting asylum seekers arriving in Europe and that those who refuse to do so should not get solidarity funding from other EU Member States. This is why we decided  that the IATE term of this week should be asylum seeker.


According to the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), since 2015 “Europe is facing an unprecedented displacement crisis and today, more than 65 million people are forcibly displaced as a result of violent conflicts and natural disasters. According to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, “every year, around one million people seek asylum” in the world.

The term asylum seeker is defined in the Oxford Online Dictionary as A person who has left their home country as a political refugee and is seeking asylum in another (country):‘only asylum seekers who are granted refugee status are allowed to work in the country’. IATE’s definition explains that an asylum seeker is a Third country national or a stateless person who has made an application for asylum in respect of which a final decision has not yet been taken. The term refugee is often used as a synonym of asylum seeker, but the truth is that both terms have different meanings that do not make them fully equivalent. Unlike asylum seeker, the term refugee is defined by IATE as Someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. Thus, the term asylum seeker often refers to refugees who have applied for asylum outside their country of origin.

Here you can see the entries for asylum seeker in IATE:

iate entries

Contribute to IATE! Update this term in your language. A terminologist for the respective language will revise your answer and decide whether to validate them. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.

There are several posts on the issue of asylum/migration in our blog:

GIMP_IATE_term_of_the_week_asylum seeker

Written by Olga Smirnova, study visitor from the University of Luxembourg and Katerina PalamiotiTranslator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee and Foodie at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.

Olga Smirnova is a Study Visitor at Terminology and Coordination Unit. She holds a BA in Linguistics from Tambov State University in Russia and she is currently doing MA in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. Native Russian speaker, speaks English and German and is currently learning French and Chinese. Her research interests include cognitive linguistic studies, multiculturalism and translation.


  • European Parliament News (2017). No EU solidarity funds for member states refusing asylum-seekers, says lead MEP. Available at: http://bit.ly/2nzRVlO (Accessed: 17 March 2017).
  • European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (2017). Refugee crisis in Europe. Available at: http://bit.ly/2mBDb5M (Accessed: 17 March 2017).
  • The UN Refugee Agency (2017). Asylum- seekers. Available at: http://bit.ly/2n5jMgy (Accessed: 17 March 2017).

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