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Policy Briefings: Immigration


Asylum seekers

The Refugee & Asylum Forum, of which the Law Centre is a member, ASPIRES to a society where all asylum seekers are treated with dignity and respect. This campaign identifies six key actions that would considerably improve the situation for asylum seekers living in Northern Ireland.

Aspire campaign information


Asylum seekers

We are a member of Refugee & Asylum Forum. This briefing paper calls for political commitment to protect asylum seekers from destitution. The paper explains how the implementation of the Immigration Act 2016 could make many more asylum seekers homeless and destitute. Northern Ireland must act quickly.

All being well, we will have an opportunity to discuss our concerns with the Committee for the Executive Office on 18 January 2017.

Summary of paper available here.



Refugees / benefits

For a long time now, the voluntary and community sector has been highlighting the problem of newly-recognised refugees facing long delays in receiving their benefits. Delays cause much hardship for refugees and their families and put a considerable strain on charitable organisations. The Syrian VPR Scheme, which resettles a number of Syrian refugees in Northern Ireland, has shone a fresh focus on the issue. The picture is fairly complex and there are many factors that cause delays for refugees.

This paper summarises the issues and proposes three next steps towards resolving this problem. As articulated by the Refugee Asylum Forum, no refugee should experience destitution due to administrative delays in the benefit system.



A video briefing on what Northern Ireland's people and politicians can do to support refugees, including information on the 5 Actions and SAFER? campaign.

In the absence of of any official Northern Ireland data on asylum, we have provided estimated figures. 

The Law Centre is a member of Refugee and Asylum Forum which supports the call for Syrian refugees to be resettled in Northern Ireland. The Forum has identified five key actions that can be delivered by Stormont that would smooth the integration of newly arriving Syrian refugees and that would considerably improve the situation for current asylum seekers and refugees.

In spring 2015, the UK passed the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This Act brings together different types of exploitation under the banner of modern slavery. Human trafficking and forced labour are both included, which are overlapping but different concepts. This briefing provides an explanation of both concepts and suggests that we need to take a broader view of forced labour.

Health and social care / immigration

As of 3 March 2015, new regulations on access to health care for migrants - Provision of Health Services to Persons not Ordinarily Resident Regulations 2015- are in place in Northern Ireland. This briefing provides a summary of the contents of the new legislation. The regulations themselves are detailed and assessing a person’s entitlement to healthcare can be fairly complicated. If in doubt about a person's entitlement, it is recommended to seek advice.




An information briefing for MLAs, with key facts and figures on the refugee population in Northern Ireland, written in preparation for Refugee Week debate at Northern Ireland Assembly 16 June 2014.



Immigration / health / children

Migrants living in Northern Ireland face an acute disadvantage compared to their counterparts in Great Britain with regards to accessing primary healthcare. This disparity risks patients’ health, public health and creates difficulties for medical and social work staff. We call on DHSSPS to remove the Ordinarily Resident test for primary care.

A paper on activities and developments relating to separated children subject to immigration control in Northern Ireland. It draws together key learning in this complex area and sets out actions now required to support this group of children.



Asylum seekers / refugees



Asylum seekers/refugees














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