Newcastle upon Tyne, a post-industrial city in the North East of England, has long been committed to hosting refugees. Although the city has suffered drastic cuts in government funding and faces high levels of deprivation, Newcastle declared itself a city of sanctuary and participates in several dispersal schemes for asylum seekers and refugees. This paper shows how political support as well as the self-motivating ambition to be a city of sanctuary are driving forces behind the city’s commitment to hosting refugees. This study then proceeds to explore the integration experiences of refugees in Newcastle, with a focus on housing, employment and the relations between refugees and local residents. While an overall positive picture emerges across these areas, language barriers, the refusal to accept refugees’ previous qualifications and experiences of racism remain major obstacles to integration. Moreover, the gulf in funding and support between resettled refugees and former asylum seekers greatly aggravates the latter’s access to housing and employment and contributes to a lower feeling of safety among this group.
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