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Title: Asylum seekers and refugees in the UK: the role of refugee community organisations and refugee agencies in the settlement process
Author: Calvar, Javier
ISNI:       0000 0001 3514 7078
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 1999
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Using a qualitative approach, this study looks into the experiences of refugees during settlement in Britain, their perceptions and expectations of community associations and refugee agencies and the services these provide. Focused on the Colombian and the Somali refugee communities in London, the research is based on eight in depth interviews with personnel from refugee organisations and 31 with refugees themselves: 16 with Colombians and 15 Somalis. One mixed-sex group discussion with Colombian refugees and two, one male and one female, with Somalis were also conducted. This was complemented with direct observation and an extensive review of the existing literature. The research shows that English language skills, transferability of previous skills and employment experience, circumstances of flight, racism and discrimination, cultural differences between the country of origin and the UK, and availability of adequate health-care services and accommodation are key factors affecting refugee settlement. The findings also show that word of mouth was the most common medium of gaining awareness of refugee organisations for both the Colombian and the Somali refugees, followed by printed material. Whilst the Somali refugees were generally satisfied with the organisations they had approached, the Colombians expressed a high level of dissatisfaction. The findings lead to the conclusion that refugees' socio-cultural background and the reasons behind their flight are likely to shape both their settlement and their attitudes towards refugee organisations in the country of exile. Whilst the research suggests that there is a long way to go before refugee organisations can satisfactorily meet the needs of refugees in Britain, it also shows a pervasive lack of feed-back systems in those organisations. The study concludes with a number of recommendations to facilitate settlement, arguing that unless the available resources are used more efficiently, the effects of current legislation will be disastrous for the refugee population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available