Dispersal of asylum seekers and processes of social exclusion in England

PhD thesis

Hynes, P. 2006. Dispersal of asylum seekers and processes of social exclusion in England. PhD thesis Middlesex University Social Policy Research Centre
TypePhD thesis
TitleDispersal of asylum seekers and processes of social exclusion in England
AuthorsHynes, P.

This thesis investigates the compulsory dispersal of asylum seekers introduced following the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999. This policy was formulated in an environment of mistrust towards asylum seekers had an explicit deterrence
element and was the first time refugees without secure status were dispersed across the UK.
This thesis examines the formal and informal social exclusion inherent in this system and the specific impacts on the ability of asylum seekers to access services and
maintain or create social networks. These were investigated in order to explore the sense of 'belonging', 'inclusion' and longer term effects on the process of resettlement for those awarded refugee status.
The main methods used were qualitative combined with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software to provide a spatial analysis of dispersal. Field research carried out between November 2002 and February 2005 consisted of in-depth interviews, focus groups and participant observation with asylum seekers, refugees and key informants in three dispersal locations. Interviews were also conducted with
policy makers and other key informants in London. A range of published and unpublished secondary sources have been utilised.
A key finding was that multiple forms of social exclusion of asylum seekers exist. These different forms relate to the declining entitlements of asylum seekers as well as the geography, structure and process of the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) system. A significant relationship between dispersalocations and areas of deprivation combined with the tensions of the structure and process of implementing dispersal results in a system that maintains asylum seekers in a state of limbo or liminality. It was found that the system offers limited space available for the
restoration of social trust and virtually no space for the restoration of political or institutional trust.
It is concluded that the primary lens for understanding the experiences of social exclusion of asylum seekers throughout dispersal is policy-imposed liminality and
that resistance to liminality is the way in which asylum seekers begin to acquire a sense of 'belonging' or 'inclusion'.

Research GroupSocial Policy Research Centre (SPRC)
Department nameSocial Policy Research Centre
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print12 Jan 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jan 2011
CompletedAug 2006
Output statusPublished
Additional information

A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

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