GeoJournal

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 15–26

Choice or circumstance: The UK as the location of asylum applications by Bosnian and Somali refugees

  • Kate Day
  • Paul White
Article

Abstract

Questions concerning why asylum seekers make their applications in particular countries rather than others have not been fully researched. Some explanation can be found via aggregate migration theories, but there is a need to consider the circumstances of individual movers. Respondents here were drawn from amongst Bosnian and Somali refugees in northern England. The interviews showed that asylum movement is of a variety of types, with two stage migration commonly involved – firstly immediate flight to a neighbouring haven, and secondly on to a more permanent place of settlement. Very few respondents had any real choice in where they ended up. Instead, family circumstances, cultural connections, and the actions of a variety of institutions produced scenarios in which there was generally no alternative to the actual destination arrived at. It is suggested that a mix of individual level and institutional explanations is needed to understand patterns of asylum destinations.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Day
    • 1
  • Paul White
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of SheffieldUK

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