1980s

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.

Refugees of different nationalities at English classes, from our Annual Review

  • 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.