400 Years of Refugee Movement to the UK, June 2018

This timeline provides an overview of the major moments of refugee intake in the United Kingdom. When it comes to the numbers of refugees taken in, approximate figures are listed as historical documentation is often inconsistent on exact figures. 

Researched by Alyssa Girvan


Further Reading

Blaszczyk, Agata. 2017. ‘The Resettlement of Polish Refugees After the Second
World War’. Forced Migration Review, 54, pp. 71-73.

Bloch, Alice. 2000. ‘Refugee Settlement in Britain: the Impact of Policy on
Participation’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 26(1), pp. 75-88.

Chitty. C.W. 1966. ‘Aliens in England in the Sixteenth Century’. Race and Class,
8(2), pp. 129-145.

Gatrell, Peter. 2013. The Making of the Modern Refugee. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.

Gilley, Sheridan. 1985. ‘The Irish’. History Today, 35(6), pp. 17-23.

Griffiths, Pamela. 2001. ‘Counselling Asylum Seekers and Refugees: a Study of
Kurds in Early and Later Stages of Exile’. European Journal of Psychotherapy,
Counselling & Health, 4(2), pp. 293-313.

Gwynn, Robin. 1985. ‘England’s “First Refugees”’. History Today, 35(5), Online.
Available at: https://www.historytoday.com/robin-gwynn/englands-first-

Healey, Ruth L. 2014. ‘Gratitude and Hospitality: Tamil Refugee Employment in
London and the Conditional Nature of Integration’. Environment and Planning,
46, pp. 614-628.

Hochberg, Severin Adam. 1988. ‘The Repatriation of Eastern European Jews from
Great Britain: 1881-1914. Jewish Social Studies, 50(1/2), pp. 49-62.

Panayi, Panikos. 2010. An Immigration History of Britain: Multiculturalism Since
1800. New York: Pearson Longman.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom. 1947. Polish Resettlement Act.
Available at:

Sram, Iqbal & David Ward. 2000. ‘Balkan Briefing (part 4). Kosovo Refugees in the
North West Region of the United Kingdom’. Journal of Epidemiology and
Community Health, 54(4), pp. 314-317.

Stevens, Dallal. 2003. UK Asylum Law and Policy: Historical and Contemporary
Perspectives. London: Sweet and Maxwell

Taylor, Becky. 2016. ‘”Their Only Words of English Were “Thank You”: Rights,
Gratitude and “Deserving” Hungarian Refugees to Britain in 1956. Journal of
British Studies, 55, pp. 120-144.

Taylor; Becky, 2018. Good Citizens? Ugandan Asians, Volunteers and ‘Race’
Relations in 1970s Britain, History Workshop Journal, Spring, dbx055,

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2000. ‘The State of the World’s
Refugees 2000: Fifty Years of Humanitarian Action’. UNHCR.org. Online.
Available at: http://www.unhcr.org/uk/publications/sowr/4a4c754a9/state-

United Nations High Commission of Refugees. 1951. Convention and Protocol
Relating to the Status of Refugees. Available at:

Winder, Robert. 2004. Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain.
London: Little Brown.