In legal terms, a person who has asked for asylum in the UK and is waiting for a decision on that claim is called an asylum seeker. Although some asylum seekers might enter the UK illegally, once they have applied for asylum they are no longer ‘illegal’.  The right to claim asylum is in international law. Governments are obliged to provide protection to people who meet the criteria for asylum. The UK has signed these international laws and they are part of UK legislation.