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What is immigration social work?

In January this year, I visited Tate Liverpool. I sat down in a dark room with a few others to watch and listen to stories told by people. As a new social worker, you listen to people telling stories every day. Stories weave webs in and around us, but I know that in social work, we can often become immune to the gravity of the stories we hear. Often these are stories of trauma, oppression, abuse and hardship.


Candice Breitz: Love Story is an exhibition which invites the question, 'If a refugee's story was told by a celebrity, would you pay more attention?'


It got me thinking, as ever, about social work and of course, about learning for new social workers.


The next time you hear a story, listen to a person's narrative or are in the position where you are recording or writing up what they have told you. Stop. Imagine this story being told by someone else. Maybe think of a 'celebrity', or one of your friends or colleagues.
Start to unpick the conscious bias that is impacting your interpretation.

The stories brought be back to my conversation with Jo Schofield. Jo is the managing director of Immigration Social Work Services. She was my first guest on the podcast and is an all round amazing human with a passion for safe, fair and humane immigration processes.


On the podcast we talk about:


  • Hostile environment policy

It's difficult to manage working within a hostile environment policy at the same time as maintaining social work ethics and values.


  • A day in the life

Age assessments, visits, court appearances, giving expert evidence, rewriting policy and supporting organisations to work within the law. No two days are ever the same.


  • Age assessments

There is a very specific process for legally compliant age assessment and in the podcast Jo talks through some of the requirements and misconceptions about age assessments.


  • Nationality and Borders Bill

There are some scary changes coming in the Immigration social work sector and we need to be aware of what is happening as social workers. Jo makes this information accessible and continues to work towards a fair system for children and adults who have faced unthinkable trauma only to enter a country with a hostile environment.


Listen to the podcast here:

Trigger warning:

some of the topics discussed include: war, migration, trafficking, modern slavery, unlawful age assessments, abuse



To learn more from Jo:




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