Undocumented Migrant Children in the UK

January 2010 – June 2012
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This project was part of a comparative project on irregular migrant children in the US and the UK, which was carried out in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University, Washington, DC. The study estimated that 120,000 irregular migrant children live in the UK. A large majority of these are either born in the country or migrated here at an early age. These children were brought up in the UK, educated in British schools and many speak English as their main language.

This research examined the ways in which lack of legal residence status is experienced by migrant children and their families, and how these intersect with ‘race’, country of origin, ethnicity, gender, religion, poverty and housing. The project also explored the challenges faced by service providers in working with this client group. In doing so, it looks to advance knowledge on the experiences and everyday lives of undocumented children in Britain; to cast light on the challenges facing the communities in which they reside; to explore services and resources available to them in relation to health, education and employment; and to contribute to the policy debate on how to reconcile and balance the implications of two policy objectives affecting irregular migrant children, namely the protection of all children and immigration enforcement.

Principal Investigator

Nando Sigona


Vanessa Hughes


Barrow Cadbury Trust