Birmingham responding to the migration crisis

Our researchers are helping refugees integrate to their new communities and keeping women and girls safe, and we are offering scholarships to students seeking sanctuary.

World-class research by the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) has helped promote understanding of the ongoing migration crisis through recognising the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers, and is transforming refugee integration policy and practice. Researchers in IRiS seek to understand and challenge local and national responses to migrants fleeing conflict, poverty and persecution and highlight the most pressing issues these marginalised groups face.

A warmer welcome and real integration

The real-world changes brought about by Professor Jenny Phillimore and Dr Lisa Goodson's research identified good practice in refugee integration, uncovering what does and does not work, shaping national policy and improving services for refugees. IRiS has developed a toolkit and range of resources to assist local authorities and practitioners on how to welcome refugees, ranging from education and social care to community safety, health and employment.

A journey fraught with risk for women and girls

IRiS's work also spreads awareness of the risks for those forced to flee. The SEREDA project examines the nature and extent of sexual and gender based violence experienced by forced migrants throughout their journey. Based on over 300 interviews with survivors and practitioners, Professor Phillimore has highlighted threats including modern slavery and sex trafficking. As she explains: 'Over 82 million people were forcibly displaced in 2020 – half of them women and girls who may have faced violence at any stage of their journey, with safety by no means certain when they reached their country of refuge.'

Ongoing need for migration support

As economies continue to struggle and ongoing conflicts in many regions force more people to flee, it looks unlikely that the migration emergency will abate soon. As Professor Phillimore concludes: 'The war in Ukraine has resulted in high levels of forced migration, and conflicts continue throughout the world. With women and children making increasingly difficult journeys to seek safety, it is critical we learn from mistakes of the past to inform policy and practice in the future.'

The University is committed to providing a welcoming environment for asylum seekers and we are passionate about becoming a University of Sanctuary. Scholarships are to be offered to students who have sought refuge in the UK and are unable to access mainstream UK student funding. Up to five asylum seekers from anywhere in the world currently living in the UK will be offered a full tuition-fee waiver and funds of £5,000 to help with living costs.