UK Immigration Policy and the Welfare of Children Seeking Asylum

  • Tracey Maegusuku-Hewett

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The wellbeing and rights of children who come to the UK either as dependents of adult asylum seekers or as unaccompanied children seeking asylum in their own right are obscured by a political discourse that is focussed on problematizing immigration control and a 'managed migration' agenda. In response there is an emerging body of predominantly NGO commissioned and England based literature that tends to focus upon the incongruence of immigration control with children's psychosocial wellbeing and rights. As important as this literature is in the agitation for policy change, there is a dearth of literature that encompasses a more complex and holistic picture of children's lives to include, not only the stressors that children face, but sources of resilience that bolster children as they negotiate forced migration and resettlement.

    Following the Immigration and Asylum Act (1999), Wales has become 'home' to dispersed children and families, and unaccompanied children who arrive of their own volition. The cultural landscape of Wales may bring distinctive experiences associated with language, culture, belonging and exclusion. Furthermore, there is a paucity of research that examines the transference and 'fit' of central government immigration policy within devolved Wales.

    This thesis addresses these lacunae and adopts a case study approach to explore how children experience forced migration and residence in Wales within the confines of the asylum system. Subsidiary research questions examine the wider macro issues of the applicability of UK asylum policy at the devolved level of governance. The final component of the research centres upon an exploration of ecological psychosocial sources of resilience that bolster young refugees in make sense of their experiences, and in their negotiation of forced migration and resettlement in Wales.
    Date of Award16 Oct 2008
    Original languageEnglish

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