Asylum Access model

Our Model

Asylum Access is the only international organization working to make refugee rights a reality in first countries of refuge. Our unique combination of five integrated strategies provides grassroots assistance and changes the legal landscape for refugees and their host communities.

By helping refugees assert their rights, we are putting power back into their hands. Our work transforms the traditional approach of endless humanitarian handouts to a sustainable solution that gives refugees the tools to provide for themselves and make choices about their own lives.

Asylum Access makes refugee rights a reality using five tools:

Individualized Legal Assistance

Individualized Legal Assistance

Our advocates provide legal information, counsel and representation to refugees and asylum seekers. We help our clients navigate the legal process to obtain refugee status, vindicate workplace rights, access education, healthcare, and financial institutions, and demand equal protection of police and courts.

Community Empowerment Icon Asylum Access

Community Legal Empowerment

While direct legal assistance helps refugees respond to individual rights violations, Know Your Rights workshops help refugees understand their options and how to assert them. Refugee leaders also receive training to provide basic legal assistance to others in their community, and launch their own social justice initiatives with our support. To facilitate self-sufficiency, we also organize refugee work rights workshops and women’s groups for survivors of gender-based violence.

Individualized Legal Assistance Icon Asylum Access

Policy Advocacy

We advocate for changes in law and policy that improve refugees’ access to rights, working with government officials and global decision-makers to develop and promote solutions to systemic rights violations. This enables refugees to assert their fundamental rights, so that they can move freely, achieve self-reliance through access to safe and lawful work opportunities, integrate in local communities and thrive in their new home.

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Strategic Litigation

We establish legal precedents for refugee rights through test cases in local and regional courts. Our strategic litigation works in tandem with our policy advocacy. Ultimately, we aim to reduce the need for legal aid by making refugee rights the norm, so that refugees can access their rights automatically without having to fight for them.

Movement Building Asylum Access


We provide direct legal assistance and education to over 16,000 refugees annually in Ecuador, Panama, Malaysia, Thailand and Tanzania, reaching hundreds of thousands more through policy advocacy and strategic litigation. Yet that won’t be enough to ensure the rights of the world’s 17 million refugees. That’s why we’re building a global movement, supporting the next generation of refugee rights leaders through our Refugee Rights Toolkit, and leading the campaign for refugees’ rights to work around the world.

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