Ongoing and concluded PhDs

PhD researcher or student information

Niroshan Ramachandran

Discipline: Sociology

Degrees BA: Bachelor of Social Work


MA Advanced Development in Social Work

Masters in Development Studies

PhD Research Information

Asylum Seekers and Refugees' Experiences of Social Protection Services in the UK

Brief description:

The primary focus of this paper will be given to the perception and experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in the formal social protection. Currently, harsh migration controls, anti-immigrant policies and restrictions on service provision are challenging asylum seekers and refugees’ access to formal social protection in the host countries. In the UK, several new policies have also been introduced to regulate the social protection services for asylum seekers and refugees. Hence, the extent to which the formal social protection for refugees and asylum seekers is achieved in the UK needs to be understood and examined. This research adopted a predominant focus on the perceptions and experiences of asylum seekers and refugees, as it will be beneficial in exploring and examining the contemporary struggles within the restricted resource environment in the UK. However, it will also include key informants to explain their point of views that are attached to the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees. A triangulated approach in this research will help to understand the full picture and/or provide detailed insights into different dimensions in the formal social protection.

In the recent years, asylum seekers and refugees’ access to formal social protection received increased attention from scholars in the West. It is crucial in the host countries because it enhances the social status and safeguards social rights of vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees by ensuring their access to social welfare/services. However, the support towards asylum seekers and refugees is hampered by an overall unsupportive political climate and exclusionary practice in the UK. A significant amount of evidence suggests that the controlling and exclusionary policies in the UK have affected formal social protection of asylum seekers and refugees by contributing to diminished social support and restrictions on service provision. As a result, asylum seekers and refugees are facing difficulties and challenges in access to formal social protection which is hindering their survival and integration in the UK.

While the existing literature suggested a negative and restricted environment for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, there are important research gaps and needs on the perceptions and experiences of asylum seekers and refugees with social protection, and the extent to which asylum seekers and refugees have been affected. Significantly, how asylum seekers and refugees are experiencing and navigating through the restricted resource environment to achieve their formal social protection has to be examined. Furthermore, there is a lack of knowledge on how formal social protection functions in an environment controlled by the policies and the negativity in the UK. Therefore, how service providers are practising and performing their anticipated roles in the formal social protection within the restricted environment should also be explored.


The participants of this research will be asylum seekers, refugees and key informants from Liverpool and Glasgow. Fifty asylum seekers and refugees, and twenty key informants (such as social workers, professionals, advocates and policymakers from the state sector, non-government and charity organisations) will be identified through purposive and snowball sampling. This research will use focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, participant observations and field notes as data collection methods.

Keywords: Glasgow, social protection, Refugee, Experience, Asylum Seekers

Language(s) of writing: English

Country: United Kingdom

Home University:

Edge Hill University


Department of Social Sciences

Supervisor: Zana Vathi
Start date: 04-09-2017
PhD current status: PhD Ongoing
PhD research funded by: Edge Hill University
Name of grant: Research Institute Thematic Awards (RITA)
Added to catalogue on: 15-10-2018

Additional information: