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Corporate Watch : MIGRATION OVERVIEW : Overview

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Asylum Profiteers

The asylum system is one of the most contentious areas of British politics, as shown by the numerous pieces of legislation on asylum and immigration passed in recent years. It is also one of the most privatised 'public services'. For instance, the Home Office outsources all asylum accommodation in the country to three multinational security companies (G4S, Serco and Reliance), and seven of the UK's 10 immigration detention centres are run by a handful of global corporations.

There is mounting evidence that these contractors are systematically negligent and provide poor services. However, this is routinely overlooked by the immigration authorities and the media alike. One of society's most disadvantaged and marginalised groups, and the problems they encounter daily, are easily ignored or discounted. Without access to resources, they are often unable to voice their grievances and concerns. The result is that a few big companies are able to make vast profits, while compounding the misery of an already vulnerable group of people.

This Corporate Watch research project investigates the private companies involved in four main aspects of the UK asylum system: housing, detention, deportation and the legal process. It aims to expose the systematic failures and abuses that occur, and the policies and practices that enable them to continue.

Related publications

Collective Expulsion: The Case Against Britain's Mass Deportation Charter Flights (November 2013)

A 48-page in-depth briefing on Britain's mass deportation charter flight programme from 2001-2013, covering all aspects from the legal process to private contractors.

You can download a pdf version of the briefing by clicking on this link (free), or you can buy a hard copy from the Corporate Watch online shop (£3).

Yarl's Wood briefingImmigration Prisons: Brutal, Unlawful and Profitable - Yarl's Wood: A Case Study (March 2011)

A 20-page briefing looking at various aspects of the UK immigration prisons system, using Yarl's Wood as a case study.

You can download a pdf version of the briefing by clicking on this link (free), or you can buy a hard copy from the Corporate Watch online shop (£2).

Related news articles


Private jet booked for hunger-striker deportation

November 27, 2013

Are the UK's mass deportation charter flights lawful? (briefing)

July 23, 2013

Beyond Abu Qatada: New research debunks mythical 'crisis' of foreign prisoners (briefing)

April 25, 2013

Deportation Doctors: Armatus providing medics for mass deportation flights

April 25, 2013

UKBA letter to potential deportees institutionalises controversial 'reserves' policy

February 17, 2013

Cost of charter flight deportations increased eight-fold over last decade

January 25, 2013

Many reasons to stop G4S

May 21, 2012

Engagement with the deportation machine?

Magazine #49, Summer 2011

Air Europa reluctant to talk about the 'delicate subject' of forcible deportation

24 March, 2011

New business opportunities: Deportation hostels

10 February, 2011

Deportees get new escorts: Reliance

10 November 2010

G4S guards accused of killing deportee

21 October 2010

Grounding deportation airlines

25 June 2010

Lobbing a spanner into the deportation machine

9 June 2010

Coach parties and deportation: An open letter to WH Tours

9 April, 2010

Air Italy pulls out of deportation contract after pressure from campaigners

2 November 2009

Flying people to torture and death

27 February 2009

Franco-British charter flights to deport Afghan refugees

30 October 2008


After the fire: Home Office crack down on Campsfield witness

19 October, 2013

Yarl's Wood women: “We are not street dogs”

30 September, 2013

New immigration prison planned for Portland, south-west England

23 August, 2013

Capita gets bigger slice of UK immigration cake, chokes on first bites

January 25, 2013

Barnardo's recruiting new PR officer to counter bad publicity

16 August, 2012

Many reasons to stop G4S

May 21, 2012

Serco accused of negligence and assault in Australia

26 September, 2011

Serco dismisses self-harm in immigration prisons as 'bargaining tool'

12 August, 2011

Barnardo’s: We believe in (locking up) children

15 July, 2011

Compulsory O2 mobiles for Yarl's Wood detainees

26 September, 2011

New detention phone system to keep detainees under control

6 April, 2011

New business opportunities: Deportation hostels

10 February, 2011

Missed Appointments: The Nigerian prince and the UK failed immigration system

5 May, 2010

Protests against Serco in solidarity with Yarl's Wood hunger strikers

25 February, 2010

Conditions at G4S Immigration Prison 'Worse and Worse'

2 December 2009

Arora, the latest detention profiteer

16 October 2009

New immigration prison to open at Gatwick this spring

29 January 2009

Expanded detention facility reopened at Manchester airport

18 December 2008

Migrants exploited for cheap labour... even in prison

23 September 2008

Asylum housing

Monitoring G4S and the new asylum housing landlords

20 August, 2012

G4S dumps UPM, chooses new partners to house asylum seekers

4 July 2012

Many reasons to stop G4S

May 21, 2012

New campaign against G4S asylum accommodation Yorkshire

17 February 2012

Asylum seekers to be housed by prison guards

22 December, 2011

No Angel at Celebrating Sanctuary this year

June 18, 2009


IDentity politics: new biometric cards for foreign nationals

13 October 2008