Leave to stay
Provisional figures for 2002 suggest that around three out of ten asylum seekers made successful applications. Ten per cent were granted refugee status.
A further 24% were given Exceptional Leave to Remain (ELR), which has now been phased out and replaced with two new categories of leave.
Refugee charities believe that after the appeals process has been completed about 50% of all asylum applicants remain in the UK.
Once someone has been granted refugee status they are allowed to stay in the country indefinitely. This is confirmed with a letter marked with the bureaucratic sounding "ICD.0725".
Being termed ELR meant that the Home Office did not consider an applicant a genuine refugee but did think it would be dangerous for them to return to their own country.
People granted ELR have permission to stay in the UK for between two and four years.
However, from April 2003 ELR was replaced with new categories that the Home Office said together would be applied "more sparingly" than ELR.
'Humanitarian Protection' is a grant of limited leave for someone denied asylum but, subject to exclusions (for example, if they are a war criminal), is able to demonstrate a need for protection in the UK.
'Discretionary Leave' is a grant of limited leave applied for one of a defined number of reasons (for example, they are an unaccompanied asylum seeking child for whom adequate reception arrangements in their country are not available).
Both categories of leave last for a maximum of three years before they are reviewed.