Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the United Kingdom
Most governments seek to restrict the number of people seeking protection by reducing social benefits, detaining asylum seekers, and applying a narrow legal interpretation of who can qualify as a refugee. Refugees often suffer from a wide spectrum of health problems which have implications not just for these individuals, but also for their host countries. There are good reasons for a country to address such special health care needs. The UK has passed several pieces of refugee legislation, including the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 that dispersed asylum seekers and refugees out of London with responsibility decentralized to local government and voluntary agencies. Asylum seekers and refugees have particular health needs that frequently reflect the traumas they experienced in their countries of origin, their difficult journey, and the exclusion they may experience in the host country. Local services and health professionals need training to respond appropriately to these health needs.
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