With many thanks to Donald Campbell for sharing, you can find the Home Office research report on asylum journeys here. It’s well worth a read in full but here’s a few selected highlights:
Social networks often play an important role in shaping migrant decision-making and movements (p20)
Where migrants can exert a degree of agency over their destination choice, social networks often play an important role in shaping their journeys. These networks are usually understood to comprise friends and family members, community organisations and intermediaries.
Welfare policies and labour market access have little impact on migrant decision making (p24)
Economic rights do not act as a pull factor for asylum seekers. A review of the relationship between Right to Work and numbers of asylum applications concluded that no study reported a long-term correlation between labour market access and destination choice. Very few migrants have any experience of a welfare state such as exists in the UK and imagine that they will be able to (if not expected to) work and support themselves upon arrival.
Does grant rate act as a pull factor for asylum seekers (p25)
Evidence does not suggest that grant rate has a significant impact on an asylum seeker’s choice of destination, and it is not clear whether migrants have accurate information on grant rates. Social networks, shared languages and diaspora communities more likely motivate asylum seekers to reach certain destinations.
What might explain why some migrants travel from France to the UK to claim asylum? (p26)
For those living in these makeshift camps, life is often uncertain and precarious, with camp clearances and forced evictions that can lead to damage and confiscation of personal belongings and reported police brutality and abusive practices. There is often limited access to water and sanitation facilities, while many depend on local associations for food distributions. This may act as a factor driving onward movement out of France, a small portion of which is to the UK.