Falling behind: the decline of the rights of asylum seekers in the UK and its impact on their day-to-day lives

Samuel Parker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In September 2015 photographs of the body of a young Syrian boy, who had drowned attempting to make the crossing by boat from Turkey to Greece, were published in newspapers around the world. These images led to a rise in public and political sympathy and support for refugees in many EU countries. However, such sympathy was short-lived, prompting some journalists to describe 2016 as ?the year the world stopped caring about refugees? (Safdar & Strickland 2016). In this paper, I begin by discussing changes in UK immigration and asylum policy over the past 30 years and highlighting the ways in which successive governments have introduced legislation that has created a ?hostile environment? designed to deter asylum seekers from entering the UK and to encourage failed asylum seekers to leave the UK. Such policies have restricted the civil and social rights of asylum seekers whilst simultaneously the UK government has focused upon policies for the integration of those granted refugee status only. This paper will report on the findings from interviews conducted with 19 refugees and asylum seekers living in Wales and the ways they spoke about their rights in the UK. Each of the interviewees had been living in the UK between one month and twelve years at the time of interview. The data are taken from a wider project focusing on refugee and asylum seeker integration in Wales. I show how policies introduced in recent years have led to restrictions on the day-to-day lives of asylum seekers in Wales and their ability to integrate, focusing particularly on the accommodation provided to asylum seekers via the current dispersal system and the barriers faced in accessing education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-95
    Number of pages13
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 1 Jun 2017


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