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Unit information: Migration, asylum and human rights: EU and global policy perspectives. in 2020/21

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Unit name Migration, asylum and human rights: EU and global policy perspectives.
Unit code SPOLM0042
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Ms. Ann Singleton
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The Unit covers the main elements of the development of asylum and migration policies in the UK and the EU in a global context of human mobility. The focus is on the consequences of policy implementation both within and beyond the borders of the EU, addressing the impacts on human rights and civil liberties of asylum seekers, recent migrants, EU citizens and non-EU citizens. The Unit will include an overview of the historical importance of migration in the development nation-states, international and regional political blocks and of the global economy. The emergence of immigration and asylum as key policy concerns for the EU will be examined in an international context. The Unit will include an examination of the consequences of Brexit for free movement and mobility. Analysis of policy development will include the securitisation of migration policy, policy transfer and the role of the EU in the world.

This Unit is designed to provide:

An up-to-date understanding of population movements in a global context and an overview of the historical development of asylum and migration policy and legislation in the European Union. It will include a thorough grounding in the role of EU institutions and the Member States in producing and implementing Justice and Home Affairs policies.

A comparative analysis of EU policies in the context of the global and regional activities of the UNHCR and current debates around proposed changes to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention and the Dublin III Regulation.

An understanding of the processes of asylum and migration policy development in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in the context of the EU and of Brexit.

A comparative examination of the impact of asylum and migration policies on human rights and citizenship legislation at national, EU and global levels.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On the successful completion of this unit, students will be able to understand:

1. The emergence of migration and asylum as key policy areas at national, European and global levels, specifically how policy in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, on migration and asylum, developed in the European Union before and since the entering into force of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999.

2. How to access sources of data on asylum and international migration and how to critically interpret statistical data on flows and stocks of migrants and asylum-seekers.

3. How UK policies on asylum and immigration have been influenced by and have influenced the development of European Union policies and legislation, including policy discussions about Brexit.

4. The consequences for human rights and civil liberties of communities and individuals, including unaccompanied minors and trafficked migrants, of the securitisation of asylum and migration policy formation.

5. Which international fora, in addition to the European Union, are key players in the debates around policy on asylum and migration and how their activities are likely to impact on national and EU level policy developments.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through blended learning involiving a combination of syncronic and asyncronic sessions, including online lectures, study groups and self-directed exercises

Assessment Information

4,000 word written assignment which tests the learning outcomes of the unit. This assessment is associated with Intended Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

Reading and References

  • Boswell, C. and Geddes, A., (2011) Migration and mobility in the European Union Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Castles, S., de Haas, H. & Miller, M., (2014) The Age of Migration Fifth edition. Basingstoke; Palgrave Macmillan Location: JV6032 CAS
  • Kraler, A, Jandl, M. & Hofmann, M. (2006) ‘The evolution of EU migration policy and implications for data collection, in M. Poulain, N. Perrin & A. Singleton (eds) Towards Harmonised European Statistics on International Migration, Louvain-l-Neuve, Presses universitaires de Louvain
  • Sales, R. (2007), Understanding Immigration and refugee Policy: Contradictions and continuities. Bristol, Policy Press.
  • Salt J., (2014), International Migration and the UK. Annual Report of the UK SOPEMI Correspondent to the OECD. London, Migration Research Unit, UCL. Available at;
  • Spencer, S. (2011), The Migration Debate, Bristol, The Policy Press. Location: JV7620 SPE Steiner, N. (2009), International Migration and Citizenship Today. New York, Routledge. Location: JV6035 STE
  • Warnes, A.M. (2002) ‘The challenge of intra-Union and in-migration to “social Europe”’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 28 (1), pp.l 135-52.

Websites covering legislation, policy and analysis of asylum, migration and human rights in Europe, providing links to key legislative and policy texts and to key academic reading: