Migration, vulnerability and wellbeing: exploring outcomes and barriers of access for asylum seekers and undocumented migrants

Talk Code: 
Antje Lindenmeyer
Laurence Lessard-Phillips, Lucy Jones, Jenny Phillimore
Author institutions: 
University of Birmingham (AL, LLP, JP), Doctors of the World UK (LJ)


Little is known about the reported health and wellbeing of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers and the factors that may contribute to shaping this.


Doctors of the World UK is an advocacy group offering primary care and advice to excluded people; a large majority of users of their clinics are undocumented (58%) while 15% are current asylum seekers. We use 6 years of data about service users (N=8,489) to look at their self-reported health and wellbeing profile and the types of barriers to fulfilment of their physical and mental wellbeing (e.g. access to healthcare).


Data collected by clinic volunteers includes self-reported health and wellbeing, life context (work, housing) and any attempts to access healthcare. The reported general health profile of the service users is a lot worse than what is reported in the general population (e.g. 36% rated their health as very good or good, compared with 81% in the 2011 census), with asylum seekers having lower reported general and psychological health. Economic hardship is a reality for an overwhelming majority of the service users, as are difficulties in accessing healthcare services.


The data provides us with valuable information on health and wellbeing of this vulnerable group, especially with regard to exploring the multidimensionality of wellbeing for groups facing vulnerability. The results are especially relevant in identifying areas of concern and practical steps to be taken to improve access to primary healthcare.

Submitted by: 
Antje Lindenmeyer
Funding acknowledgement: 
The study has been funded by a grant from the Nuffield Foundation