Coping with Vulnerability: The Limbo Created by the UK Asylum System

Amy Louise Cortvriend

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Upon arrival in the United Kingdom (UK), asylum claimants undergo a complex application process with no guarantee of being granted leave to remain. Throughout this process, applicants live in ‘limbo’ with no certainty regarding their future. They are forced into poverty, are at risk of destitution and often live in substandard accommodation, all of which causes further harm, compounding the circumstances from which they have fled. This paper explores the stress and vulnerability faced by male asylum seekers during the application process and how they cope or resist vulnerability during this time. Based on narrative interviews, this research finds that the most stressful experiences for participants include living in ‘limbo’ throughout the asylum application process and beyond. As such, many coped by using distraction techniques, seeking support and through cognitive restructuring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-74
JournalInternational Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


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