Asylum Policy in the West: Past Trends, Future Possibilities

  • Matthew J. Gibney
  • Randall Hansen
Part of the Studies in Development Economics and Policy book series (SDEP)


For much of the post-war period, ‘asylum’ and ‘immigration’ were distinct concepts and processes. Throughout the West, asylum was bound up with the Cold War: ‘protection’ meant protection from Communism, and the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘defector’ were synonymous. When the public thought about refugees, to the extent it thought about them at all, it associated them with Hungarian freedom fighters or Soviet ballet dancers, both of whom were popular figures. As for immigration, it meant different things in different countries: in the settler societies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it was a permanent movement of people who sought to try their luck in the New World. In the traditional emigration countries of Europe, it referred to the putatively temporary movement of guest workers who were expected to feed the European economic machine for a few years before returning home. The important point is that, in both cases, the two movements were everywhere separate.


Asylum Seeker Western State Refugee Status State Territory Illegal Migrant 
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© United Nations University — World Institute for Development Economics Research 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Gibney
  • Randall Hansen

There are no affiliations available

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