Asylum seekers are people who move across borders in search of protection, but who may not fulfil the strict criteria laid down by the 1951 Convention. Asylum seeker describes someone who has applied for protection as a refugee and is awaiting the determination of his or her status. Refugee is the term used to describe a person who has already been granted protection. Asylum seekers can become refugees if the local immigration or refugee authority deems them as fitting the international definition of refugee.
The definition of asylum seeker may vary from country to country, depending on the laws of each country. However, in most countries, the terms asylum seeker/asylee and refugee differ only in regard to the place where an individual asks for protection. Whereas an asylum seeker asks for protection after arriving in the host country, a refugee asks for protection and is granted this protected status outside of the host country.