© UNHCR/Kim Nelson

About the Commission

The Commission on the Integration of Refugees was convened in 2022 by the Woolf Institute with the aim of improving the integration of refugees in the UK. Commissioners include refugees and former asylum seekers; security officials; lawyers; third-sector workers; clinicians; education and health experts; academics; faith and community leaders; politicians and policy makers from across the political spectrum. They worked together to overcome differences, build consensus, and to find common ground, driven by the evidence.

The Commission received evidence from more than 1,250 organisations and individuals regarding what would be required to improve the integration experiences of refugees and asylum seekers and to identify practical solutions with which to fix the broken system. The organisations and individuals included refugees and asylum seekers; policymakers and politicians; local government and civil servants; third sector workers; academics; faith and community leaders; and many other stakeholders. As an independent and broad-based body, the Commission offers a unique example of consensus building across political differences in a polarised and heated public debate. The Commission’s recommendations are built on robust and wide-ranging evidence, with the voices of those with lived experience at the heart, and have achieved consensus across the political spectrum.


The Commission agrees that the UK refugee and asylum system is not fit for purpose. The UK currently operates a broken refugee and asylum system, which is unfair, unethical, inefficient, open to abuse, and is often detrimental to the integration of refugees. The Commission has agreed on an alternative.

© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Commission Activity

The Commission will run from September 2022 until December 2023. Click here for the Commission’s full terms of reference.  The three core strands of the Commission activity are:

Envisioning a Refugee and Asylum System that Furthers Integration:
Based on the findings from The Commission’s research, evidence and hearings, proposals will be developed for a refugee and asylum system that furthers the integration of refugees.

Local Engagement:
Traveling across the UK, The Commission will take evidence from people and organisations engaged in the integration of refugees with a wide range of views and experience. Assessing the differences in refugee and community experience and integration in these places, it will identify and share best practice.

Economic Modelling:
The Commission will undertake work to understand the costs and benefits of the current system, in so far as it relates to the integration of refugees. It will compare these with the projected costs and benefits of the Commission’s proposed reforms.

Upcoming Events and Hearings

The CIR will undertake local events to hear the expertise, views and experiences from people across the UK.
These will take place across 2022 and 2023 in the following regions:
West Midlands

To find out more about these hearings and how you can get involved, contact us.

The Commission is overseen by a Steering Group that consists of Dr Ed Kessler, Trixie Brenninkmeijer, Professor Cornelius Katona, Professor Hanna Kienzler, Mishka Pillay and Nicola Thomas.