This website contains the words of asylum seekers in Hong Kong. There are some 7000 recognized asylum seekers in Hong Kong; most are from South Asia or Africa. Asylum seekers, upon entry into Hong Kong, often turn to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which has an office in the city, to declare themselves as asylum seekers. Many asylum seekers also turn to the Hong Kong government to file claims, since Hong Kong is a signatory of the Convention Against Torture.
Claims often take three or more years to evaluate. Once they have surrendered themselves to immigration authorities and emerged from a brief period of detention, asylum seekers can obtain from the Hong Kong government minimal rental assistance and groceries each month. On this amount it is possible to survive, but only barely.
Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in Hong Kong, although some do anyway since it is so difficult to survive otherwise. Asylum seekers’ dream is to obtain refugee status in another country, most typically Canada or the United States; but very few are able to attain this status. Meanwhile, they wait, and wait, and wait, forbidden to use their skills to benefit the society they find themselves in. This website tells their stories.