Most discourse related to refugees has been and continues to be related to humanitarian issues. Yet, humanitarianism as a theoretical framing is no longer sufficient for understanding refugee-fuelled migration. The politics of such migration currently dominate policy discourse and Hong Kong is no exception. Asylum seekers continue to seek refuge in a city that neither wants them, nor is sympathetic towards them. The study reported here seeks to understand this context from the point of view of asylum seekers and their supporters in the community and offers an alternative theoretical framework that reflects Hong Kong asylum seekers’ experiences. A qualitative methodology was employed to understand the contexts and asylum seeker experiences. Results indicated that extraordinary institutional pressure is exerted on asylum seekers who cannot settle in Hong Kong but who, in the meantime, are forced to rely on inadequate social protection to survive.