Ilona Pinter

Ilona Pinter

PhD candidate

Department of Social Policy

Connect with me

Key Expertise
Asylum support, NASS, Children’s rights & voices, Right to work, Poverty

About me

Research topic:

Needs, experiences and outcomes of children and families living on Home Office asylum support in the UK

Before starting my PhD, I worked as a Policy and Research Manager at The Children’s Society leading the organisation’s influencing and research work on child poverty, destitution, asylum, immigration and trafficking policy. There I managed research and influencing projects on destitution within the immigration and asylum system, legal aid for separated children and the impact of family debt on children’s mental-health and well-being. I also co-chaired the Refugee and Migrant Children’s Consortium, a coalition of over 50 organisations across the UK working collaboratively to promote the rights and welfare of children and young people within the UK’s asylum and immigration system through policy, legislation and strategic litigation.

I did my undergraduate degree at Northwestern University (US) in Communication Studies and completed an MSc in Social Psychology at the LSE in 2005. I’ve worked in both the private and charity sector, in strategic communications, capacity-building, policy and research.  

Research interests:
My general research interests are forced migration, belonging, poverty and destitution, children’s rights and welfare, racial discrimination and inequality, and access to justice.

I’m interested in researching poverty and inequality within the UK’s immigration and asylum system, and in particular the impact on children and young people. While there is already a good deal of research on unaccompanied children who are seeking protection in the UK, much less is known about the needs, lived experiences and outcomes of children who are in the UK seeking asylum with their families. My PhD research will aim to capture children’s own experiences of living on asylum support – the parallel support system provided to families by the Home Office. I will also be looking at the ‘right to work’ policy in relation to children. My research is ESRC funded

Supervisors: Dr Isabel Shutes, Dr Tania Burchardt


Pinter, I. (2024) Statutory exclusion from social security: experiences of migrants in the UK; in L. Gregory and S. Iafrati (Eds.) Diversity and welfare provision: tensions and discrimination in the 21st century. Bristol: Policy Press. 

Expertise Details

NGOs and third sector; qualitative research with young people and families; UK policies affecting children and young people who are subject to immigration control; irregular migration; advocacy; parliamentary and government engagement