Migrants and Citizens

Analysis: the Green Card lottery

The Hallowe’en terrorist attack that left 8 dead in New York is believed to have been carried out by Sayfullo Saipov, a Uzbekistan national. President Trump lost no time in linking terrorism and immigration: “The terrorist came into our… Read More

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Passports for a Price? BBC Radio 4 “Four Thought”

If you’ve not got time to read about migration, how about listening to this instead?  On this BBC Radio 4 podcast, first broadcast 29 July 2015, I talk about what it means when citizenship itself is for sale…. Read More

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Three Passports

  He is just six weeks old. The limits of his world extend to just a few feet beyond his crib. He still lives in a universe where objects you cannot see do not exist, where hands are… Read More

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50% of your lifetime income is determined by just one variable: your citizenship

When it comes to inequality, birthplace is destiny. In 2012, researchers at the World Bank determined that no less than 50% of our lifetime income is determined by the country we live in — which, for 97% of us, is also the country we were born in. It’s a citizenship lottery – and those of us lucky enough to be born in wealthy states are automatic winners.

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Do we need to worry about Benefit Tourists?

In a week when The Guardian attracted global attention for reporting that ‘thousand of Britons on benefits across EU’, and Philip Hammond, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, made headlines for claiming that Britain is ‘wide open’ to EU freeloaders,  immigration and welfare are… Read More


You can stay, but you have to go…

All gifts come with strings attached: but some have more strings attached than others. In 2008, Tanzania announced it was prepared to offer naturalisation to 162,000 Burundian refugees. Known as the “1972” caseload (to distinguish them from the… Read More

The Citizenship Market

(First published at Democracy in Africa) Citizenship is an artifice. It’s a delicate political construction aiming to weave private freedom and public governance into social cohesion. At its most lofty, we can talk about citizenship as the foundation… Read More

A National Health Service? The Migrant Levy – and Why Citizens Should Care

Should foreigners pay to use the NHS? At first glance, it’s not so unreasonable. After all, as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt points out, it’s a National Health Service. And as the Department of Health’s consultation paper, released today,… Read More

Stuck on repeat: Cameron on immigration

 If you repeat something often enough, people start to believe it’s true.  Just so with David Cameron’s latest comments yesterday that  ‘this open and welcoming economy’ must cut legal aid and other benefits for foreign nationals to avoid… Read More

On Citizenship

What is citizenship for? That’s a question I’ve been asking for the last few years in an academicsetting: but it seemed more relevant than ever this week as I listened to commentators debate the logic of the Government’s… Read More

Feet of clay: Aung San Suu Kyi, UNHCR and the Rohingya refugees

Idolatry is a dangerous habit. As a starry-eyed liberal teenager, I knew the names I was supposed to venerate. Aung San Suu Kyi was on the list, sandwiched somewhere between Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela on… Read More

Wot I did in my Summer holidays

I spent most of my Summer in Uganda, which explains the recent silence on this blog. I’ve been trying to understand how those on the margins of a developing society – especially refugees and migrants – negotiate their… Read More