Respecting asylum seekers: conceptualising and balancing rights and immigration control in the welfare state

Katie Bales

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

6 Downloads (Pure)


The presence of asylum seekers within the UK and their claims to social welfare and employment rights presents one of the greatest challenges to sovereignty and the traditional constructs of Marshallian citizenship. Yet in an increasingly cosmopolitan world the UK’s obligations stretch beyond responsibility for its own citizens, as evidenced by the case of asylum seekers whom upon the declaration of seeking refuge must be admitted to the State and provided with subsistence to avoid destitution. Accordingly, the UK is bound by a number of international instruments that provide rights outside the legal constructs of UK citizenship which results in conflict between the traditional boundaries of social inclusion centred on citizenship, and those based on universal human rights. Drawing upon a number of primary and secondary sources, including international human rights law and cosmopolitan theory, this thesis analyses the welfare and employment arrangements for asylum seekers in the UK using NGO data to ascertain the impact of policies in practise. It argues that the withdrawal of social rights from the asylum seeking community over the last two decades has resulted in a significant imbalance between the rights and interests of the State and those of asylum seekers. In light of these conclusions, the thesis recommends that the Government adopt a cosmopolitan approach to welfare provision which prioritises human need over immigration status and suggests a number of reforms which will better respect the asylum seeking community. In doing so, it is hoped that the study will contribute to the development of an ethical asylum support system which reflects the humanity of its subjects. Within the current political climate such an exploration is considered crucial as the specific policies of the asylum support system and their impact upon human rights remain relatively unexplored within academic literature.
Original languageEnglish
  • Smith, Rhona, Supervisor
  • Moosavian, Rebecca, Supervisor
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Respecting asylum seekers: conceptualising and balancing rights and immigration control in the welfare state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this