A new era or more of the same? Asylum policy in the UK

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This paper examines the development of asylum policy in the UK. It explores the policies of successive Conservative governments (1979-1997) and Labour's responses to Conservative policies while in opposition. On winning an election in 1997, the new Labour government has done little to reverse the policies of the previous Conservative administrations. In fact, Labour has continued with the dual approach of restricting immigration and curtailing the social citizenship rights afforded to asylum seekers in the UK. Successive governments, both Conservative and Labour, have argued in favour of increasingly restrictive immigration controls as a means of maintaining good race relations. The justification put forward by both political parties for the curtailment of social welfare entitlements has been to deter 'bogus' asylum seekers who abuse what is perceived to be the generous welfare system. The paper concludes that the election of a centre left government in the UK has had little impact on asylum policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000


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