We had religious problems…We ran a small church… and tried to do what was good for the people but were targeted by others .T h ey started killing and attacking brothers and sisters in the church and then started coming after me…Had to find a way out fast. If you don’t pay the police you get trouble Just over one third said they had been ill-treated in their home country with another third mentioning intimidation. Fewer than half had specifically chosen to come to Ireland – for most it was simply a secure European country. Ireland’s a civilised country I could be at peace here Participants recounted stories outside the experience of people who live in stable and prosperous countries. Documentation on countries of origin would in general corroborate respondents’ stories,though, the existence of conflict can make it difficult for an asylum seeker to prove the truth of his/her story. The results of the survey challenged the stereotypical impression that asylum seekers are likely to be poor and ill educated. Overall, those who participated in the study came to Ireland with high levels of education and vocational skills. Almost 70% reported they had eleven years of schooling or more. Less than one in ten were without formal educational qualification with proportionately more men than women in this category.Almost half (46%) reported they had completed some third level examination or acquired a vocational qualification or diploma at third level.Higher proportions of respondents from Eastern Europe were represented at both extremes of the qualification continuum. Participants from the countries of the ex-USSR were clustered more at the upper end, while those from Africa covered all parts of the spectrum. The majority (55%) reported they had either fair or excellent English while 28% said they had very little spoken English or none at all. Overall,more than half of those from Africa reported they had excellent English in contrast with less than one third from countries of the ex-USSR and just 10% from Eastern Europe. Some of the respondents expressed frustration at the non-availability of English language classes or the haphazard nature of the tuition offered. While these classes fulfilled an important social function, they had limitations because of the shifting composition and the disparate levels of students.The Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform is now providing some funding for English classes. Previous occupations as described by respondents were categorised using the Irish census classification. More than one fifth fell into the higher managerial or lower managerial and close to one fifth into the intermediate non-manual category.A further one fifth were classified in the semi-skilled category and 7% in the unskilled.A quarter of respondents were not classified – a high proportion of these had been students.