Asylum Seeker Decision-Making in Journeys to the United Kingdom

(March 2022 – December 2022)

NatCen International, in collaboration with the University of Westminster, was commissioned by the Home Office to complete a project examining why asylum seekers decide to travel to the UK. This work was funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The project included an in-depth rapid evidence assessment (REA) of 200 documents and 29 in-depth stakeholder interviews with Home Office officials, academics, and civil society organisations in the UK, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The research is the first of its kind in applying behavioural insight methods to the asylum space. Findings from the study fed into the development of a multidimensional decision-making model based on the findings of the REA and interviews. This model considered the macro-, meso-, and micro-dimensions of asylum seeker decisionmaking and explored interdependencies between these different factors. The model adds to existing behavioural models such as COM-B and EAST to account for the complexity and fluidity of asylum seeker decision-making, supporting policy makers and analysts to design suitable interventions on these topics.