Dr Katie Bales is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol. She specialises in forced migration, work and the welfare state. She has been exploring the issues that impact the lives of asylum-seekers and refugees in the UK – including their working rights, access to employment and how the law regards immigrants. Katie has also examined low wages paid to detainees in immigration centres and access to education for asylum-seekers. She is currently working on a new study of international perspectives on detention centres.

Katie has undertaken research for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Human Rights Commission, examining the State's compliance with human rights obligations (with a particular focus on welfare reform and the immigration detention of children). In addition to her research and teaching, Katie is co-editor for the Futures of Work blogsite with Bristol University Press. She is also a trustee for the Bristol City of Sanctuary Charity and a founding member of the Sanctuary Scholarships working group which helped to establish a scholarship scheme for asylum-seekers and refugees seeking access to Higher Education.

Katie holds a PhD in Law from Northumbria University.


2017 - Excellence Award for Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme
2019 - University of Sanctuary Award and Social Mobility Award


15/03/2018 - ‘Voice’ and ‘Choice’ in Modern Working Practices: Problems with the Taylor Review, Industrial Law Journal
04/07/2018 - Unfree labour in immigration detention: exploitation and coercion of a captive immigrant workforce, Economy and Society
27/11/2018 - The 'future' of work? A call for the recognition of continuities in challenges for conceptualising work and its regulation, University of Bristol Law School
18/08/2019 - Michael Adler: Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment? Benefit Sanctions in the UK, Journal of Law and Society
30/09/2019 - The Immigration Industrial Complex: A Global Perspective on 'Unfree Labour' in immigration detention, Futures of Work
01/04/2020 - COVID-19 and the Futures of Work, Futures of Work

You can find out more about Katie on her University of Bristol staff profile at: https://www.bristol.ac.uk/people/person/Katie-Bales-a577005b-dfe6-4f5b-ae38-3f70573c6e2b/

Katie can be found on Twitter at KatieBales2.

In an attempt to save money and increase voluntary returns, the UK Government intends to make over 2,900 families refused asylum homeless. But which families and at what cost?

University of Bristol law lecturer Katie Bales, an activist involved in yesterday’s protest, told MailOnline today: "Staging a fake meeting in order to trap migrant workers was unnecessary and morally reprehensible."

"I believe education is one of the greatest ways to allow the asylum seekers to integrate into the country," says Katie Bales, a lecturer in Bristol University and a pioneer in the campaign for Sanctuary Scholarship.

In June 2017, ten immigration detainees launched a judicial review action against the Home Office challenging the payment of ‘slave’ like wages for labour undertaken within immigration detention.

On 8 June 2016, the University of Bristol announced the launch of the 'Sanctuary Scholarship scheme', which provides access to higher education for forced migrants facing major barriers to accessing education.

Don Lane’s employment contract for his work as a courier described him as an “independent contractor”. This meant he was neither an “employee” nor a “worker”, so not entitled to legal rights such as protection against dismissal...

The UK's new right to study rules are another manifestation of its ‘hostile environment’ for immigrants, say Katie Bales and Bridget Anderson.

Britain's labour laws are in desperate need of reform. Working people are increasingly engaged in work that pays poorly, is insecure and contains few avenues of redress if they are treated unfairly by their employers.

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