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Economic status has no impact on refugee status. A refugee is someone who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. It makes no difference whether a refugee is rich or poor – the point is that they are at risk of, or have experienced, persecution.

Many refugees who come to Australia are educated middle-class people whose advocacy work, political opinions or profession (e.g. journalists, lawyers) has drawn them to the attention of the authorities and resulted in their persecution.