'Permanent Temporariness' as a Critical Lens: A Framework for Social Work with Forced Migrants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The realities of increasing numbers of forced migrants in Global North countries, including families and children, are shaped by a regime of permanent temporariness-the granting of temporary status for prolonged periods. This uncertainty-producing state means that people are temporarily banned from deportation, but their futures remain unclear and they have almost no access to rights, including social services. Whilst the role of temporality in understanding migrants' everyday realities is gaining attention in migration scholarship, such a perspective has seldom been integrated into social work literature. As such, this article offers to adopt permanent temporariness as a critical lens for social work with forced migrants in ongoing precarious situations. It offers a conceptualisation of the meanings and implications of permanent temporariness for the lives of forced migrant families and children, manifesting on the individual, familial and extra-familial levels. Thus, the present article highlights the critical role that legal liminality plays in organising people's lives and intensifying other coinciding post-migration challenges. Finally, implications for a temporal-aware approach in social work with displaced families and individuals are discussed, calling into question the linearity of social work frameworks and the necessity and feasibility of a future-oriented intervention in situations of prolonged uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-796
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • family
  • forced migration
  • liminality
  • social work practice
  • social work research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of ''Permanent Temporariness' as a Critical Lens: A Framework for Social Work with Forced Migrants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this