Asylum-seekers may form part of large-scale emigrations of refugees fleeing internal aggression or serious disturbances of public order in their native lands. Frontier rejection of such persons may occur as neighbouring states may claim inability to admit them on a long-term basis. Rejection may be defended as being necessary on economic grounds, although political factors may also be an influence. Asylum is often granted only on a temporary basis, therefore leaving refugees to be constantly seeking permanent asylum, all the while fearful of eventual extradition and possible homelessness.
Expulsion of refugees can give rise to very serious hardship for the refugees concerned. In some cases expulsion measures have in fact led to refugees being sent to a third country which simply returned them to their country of origin.
The agencies of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in all parts of the world have been confronted with requests for the resettlement of refugees who have been granted temporary asylum in one country but who must find a permanent home in another.
Malaysia has denied reports of pushing way the boats of some 10,000 refugees during the years 1990 and 1991. (During the period since 1975, Malaysia has had some 230,000 boat people in its camps.) A USA decision to send 524 Chinese home after interception in mid-Pacific has not been a deterrent. 21 arrive subsequently on other vessels.
Problems relating to the identification of the state responsible for examining an asylum request have acquired a certain prominence. This problem arises when an asylum-seeker has passed though one or more countries before arriving in the state where he or she wishes to submit an asylum request. In such situations the authorities may refuse to consider an application for asylum on various grounds, including the fact that protection was, or could have been, obtained elsewhere. When this occurs, the asylum-seeker is frequently turned away and becomes what has been called a 'refugee in orbit'.