Undesirable but Unreturnable Migrants

Impediments to the expulsion of migrants suspected or convicted of serious criminality pose an increasing challenge for public policy in both the national and international spheres. These obstacles can be ‘practical’, such as the lack of means to send the person to their country of origin, or ‘legal’ in nature, as where human rights standards prevent removal. However, even though such cases appear comparatively few in number, they tend to attract significant public interest due to the real concerns that they generate for State migration control, the integrity of the institution of asylum, the role of human rights in contemporary society, and the bringing to justice of perpetrators of serious crimes.

The project ‘Undesirable but Unreturnable?’ brings together a network of academics, policy-makers and policy bodies to stimulate new cross-boundary debate on the challenges posed to national and international public policy by excluded asylum-seekers and other migrants who are suspected of serious criminality but cannot be removed from the territory of a host State.

Key publications and other outputs

Key institutional activities

  • RLI/CICJ, Policy engagement launch event, ‘Undesirable and Unreturnable: the treatment of excluded asylum seekers and other migrants’, Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (Geneva, 2016)
  • RLI/CICJ, 2-day International Conference on ‘Undesirable and Unreturnable? Policy Challenges around Excluded Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants Suspected of Serious Criminality but Who Cannot be Removed’ (London, 2016)
  • RLI/CICJ, 1-day Workshop on ‘Undesirable and Unreturnable? Policy Challenges around Excluded Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants Suspected of Serious Criminality Who Cannot be Removed’ (Amsterdam, 2015)
  • RLI, Workshop on ‘Undesirable and unreturnable: the UK’s response to excluded asylum seekers and other migrants suspected of serious criminality’ (London, 2014).

The work between 2014 and 2016 was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and run jointly by the Refugee Law Initiative (School of Advanced Study, University of London) and the Center for International Criminal Justice (VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands).