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Migration to the UK: an introduction


This is a brief introduction on some areas of discussion on the topic of migration and immigration to the UK.  It looks at the post-WWII era and more narrowly the period from 2010 under the Coalition and Conservative Governments and the Immigration Acts of 2014, 2016 and 2019 and further legislation under the post-2019 governments and Home Secretaries.

In a difficult and complex area, which has profound implications for society, this is an attempt to indicate some key points and to signpost to key sources of information and available resources. 

For more information on migration topics and UK policies, see the subject guide to Government and Society and the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham (2019).  

It is important to note that there are distinctions between the following groups: asylum seekers, refugees, migrants - or immigrants - considered illegal and those considered legal.  However, these can often become blurred, both in general thinking and legislation: for example, those with refugee status who are later taken into the general immigration system.

Respected immigration lawyer Colin Yeo (2020) outlines the background and developments in UK Immigration laws and their effects on people's lives, offering a detailed but accessible introduction to the whole topic.

Please note that here are further guides and resource lists from the University of Birmingham on Equality, Diversity and related issues.  See: Equality and Diversity Guide including the section on Resource Lists

Some references to individual books or articles may require University of Birmingham membership and login for full access.  It is intended that most material should be openly accessible where at all possible.


Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of Birmingham (2019) Institute for Research into Superdiversity.  Available at: (Accessed 19 June 2019)

Library Services, University of Birmingham (2020)Equality and Diversity. Available at: (Accessed 29 June 2020)

Library Services, University of Birmingham (2019) Government and Society.  Available at: (Accessed 28 June 2019) 

Yeo, C. (2020)  Welcome to Britain : fixing our broken immigration system. London:Biteback Publishing.

Integration poster: sketch portraits against multicoloured backdrop

geralt / 21808 Images - Pixabay no attribution required.  Available at: (Accessed 29 June 2020)

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