In 1981 BCAR and SCOR merged to form the British Refugee Council. Alf Dubs, a refugee who had come to Britain from Czechoslovakia as a child in 1939 on one of the first of the famous ‘Kindertransport’, became Chief Executive in 1988 and led the organisation until 1995.
- In the early 1980s, around 20,000 Iranians - most of them students - and 1,500 Poles were given permission to remain in the UK in view of the situation in their countries of origin.
- In the mid and late 1980s, significant numbers of Tamil, Ghanaian, Ugandan and Somali asylum seekers arrived independently in the UK.
- During two months in 1989, more than 3,000 Kurds came to seek asylum. Issues around admission policies, detention and removal of Tamil and Kurdish asylum seekers in particular, had a considerable impact on the Refugee Council's decision to strengthen its advocacy work as well as supporting refugee communities to enable them to receive refugees.