This article argues that the notion of ‘illegality’ has become a dominant aspect in social work practice for those who are subject to immigration control and have no recourse to public funds (NRPFs). Drawing together conceptual tools from the theoretical work of Giorgio Agamben and Achille Mbembé, necropolitical exception in social work will be explored to analyse how this has impacted upon racialised bodies within the UK immigration system. The findings presented in this article are based upon Ph.D. research conducted between July 2017 and October 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland, and includes ethnographic qualitative data from case studies with the Asylum Seeker Housing Project. It focuses on interviews that explore the lived experiences of those categorised as ‘illegalised’ migrants to examine the implications of necropolitical exception for those with NRPF, third sector caseworkers and statutory social workers. In framing those with NRPF as ‘illegal’, this article demonstrates that social workers have become drawn into agents of necropolitical exception that demands critical scrutiny.
- no recourse to public funds
- social work