According to UK Conservative MP Adam Holloway, quoted in the Daily Express:

“Likewise, we have people in this country who have come here, claimed asylum and then go back on holiday in the places where they’ve claimed asylum from."

Is there any evidence for this claim?

(Edit: literally speaking, this question is true if there are at least two people for whom it is true. It may be implied that Mr. Holloway MP considers this to be somewhat typical. I prefer answers addressing the implication, i.e. that this is not exceptional, but answers focussing on individual cases are also welcome.)

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    I'm not sure the question is meaningful. In order for it to be "factually" true, there would only need to be at least two (to justify the plural) refugees who had done this. But the intent of the statement being questioned is to make a generalization about an entire group, which is not meaningful and inherently discriminatory except in very particular circumstances. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 14:45
  • It is likely in reference to this: youtube.com/watch?v=r2DQE0Z9S0c
    – Anon
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 5:28
  • The claim also exists for asylum seekers in Germany: telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/27/…
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


No, there is no evidence for this claim.

The reason the MP - Adam Holloway - thinks this is that his barber - a refugee - wasn't available one day:

“We have people in this country who have come here, claimed asylum and then they go back on holiday in the places where they’ve claimed asylum from,” Holloway said. “I couldn’t have my hair cut the other day for that reason.” source

However, the person in question says that he was not in Iraq but in Great Yarmouth, England:

But Shivan Saeed, who regularly cuts Holloway’s hair at Kent Barbers, Gravesend, has now come forward to reveal that, far from going to Iraq, he in fact spent a week with his family in a caravan in Great Yarmouth.

“It’s dangerous to go back to Iraq – if I wanted to go back there why would I have come here?” the 23-year-old told the Daily Mail. “Next time I see him, I will tell him. I am not annoyed – I am alright with it. He just got it wrong.”source

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    @HopefullyHelpful: I can't tell if this is supposed to be an allusion to estival precipitation in the UK or a failure to understand British English. In case it's the latter: A caravan in Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand does not involve camels. It is a trailer you can live or spend your vacation in.
    – user34684
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 12:48
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    It's not really British English, it's called like that everywhere. Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 13:18
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    @DmitryGrigoryev It's not called that in the US. In the US a caravan is a group of vehicles travelling together. An RV (recreational vehicle) is the vehicle that you drive and live in. If referring to a trailer and not a vehicle then they'd usually be called a 5th wheeler or a camping trailer. Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 14:29
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    @DeanMacGregor - no, that has always been called a "convoy" and caravan was used for RVs in the US in the past. It's probably a local thing, but it is famously immortalized in song... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convoy_(song)
    – Jasmine
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 18:37
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    @Jasmine That convoy is the more popular word to refer to a group of cars does not mean that caravan doesn't share its meaning. For instance, here's the MW definition. If you look caravan up in a thesaurus, you should find convoy. If you google for caravan dealers in the US version of google you get no sites in the first page about vehicles to live in. Unsurprisingly if you do the same with google.co.uk you get nothing but sellers of vehicles you could live in. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 13:02

While it is not about the situation in the UK themselves, it is, however, evidence that suggests similar cases could have occured there as well.

In Switzerland refugees from Eritrea were suspected to have been on holidays in Eritrea[1]. This caused quite some uproar in the country and led to, partially drastic, counter-measures[2].

However, we should not forget that refugees often have to leave their families behind (especially in the case of Eritrea where a main reason is often objection to military service). So it is partially understandable that some of them would be willing to take high risks and even travel there.


[1] Machen Flüchtlinge Heimatferien? (Tagesanzeiger, 16 jul 2015)

[2] Asylbewerber auf Urlaub riskieren ihren Status (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 6 jul 2016)

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    Note that the article states that it is unknown where the refugees are traveling, and that it is to be assumed that most of the people from Eritrea are likely traveling inside northern europe. The SEM estimates that there are 20 cases per year where there is a suspicion that eritrean refugees may have been traveling to Eritrea. the second article says that there are no actual findings, but that it is assumed that most of the eritrean people who do travel to Eritrea are not refugees.
    – tim
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 14:55
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    -1 as i find it worded quite misleading. A more neutral stance would be In Switzerland around 20 refugees per year were suspected to have been on holidays in the country they fled from Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:26
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    That means actually not a single person was caught so far, otherwise they would have surely mentioned that fact which would reinforce the statement they wanted to make.
    – Nobody
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 11:47
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    The crucial line in this answer, "refugees from Eritrea were found to have been on holidays in Eritrea", isn't supported by the linked source, which appears to say only that this is suspected by some, even though it would be illegal (and bizarre) for them to do so. The article goes on to admit at the end that Eritrean refugees are sometimes confused with non-refugee Eritreans in Switzerland, who do travel to Eritrea (and have no reason not to). Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 13:22
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    I see this answer has now been edited. It's better, since it's no longer misrepresenting its own sources, but it doesn't really say anything now... It's now essentially "There's no proof this happened in the UK, and there's no proof it happened in Switzerland, either, though some people there worry about it". I guess it's worth keeping as an example that this is a widespread concern (but one with no proof) Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 11:49

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