South Sudanese in the United Kingdom

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South Sudan South Sudanese in the United Kingdom United Kingdom
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Total population
South Sudanese-born residents
10,671 (2001 UK Census)
Regions with significant populations
Greater London, Brighton, West Midlands
English, other languages of South Sudan
Christianity and Animism

South Sudanese in the United Kingdom (also British South Sudanese)[1] including South Sudanese-born immigrants to the UK and their British-born descendants are an extremely diverse national group, especially in terms of political and religious views. It is thought that the UK is home to the oldest South Sudanese diaspora in the Western World, as well as one of the largest.[2] South Sudanese migrants to the UK have traditionally included asylum seekers fleeing Sudan's second civil war. South Sudanese people live in many of the UK's largest cities and towns.[2]

History and settlement[edit]

South Sudanese granted asylum or exceptional leave in the UK by year[3]
Granted Refused
1989 45 5
1990 15 5
1991 15 10
1992 265 125
1993 1,400 75
1994 50 145
1995 15 60
1996 65 95
1997 75 205
1998 55 65
1999 45 50
2000 180 395
2001 175 595
2002 110 455
2003 155 595
2004 160 1,305
2005 90 900
2006 70 510
2007 80 305

The South Sudanese community in the UK is most likely the oldest in the developed world. The two civil wars, which decimated the South Sudanese population by several million,[4] the earliest immigrants from South Sudan to the UK were asylum seekers.

The nature of South Sudanese migration to the UK changed dramatically and has continued through to the 21st century. Thousands of these displaced persons ultimately fled to the UK, amongst other countries, and claimed asylum.[2]

Asylum applications from South Sudan peaked in 1993 and again in 2004. The majority of applications in the early 1990s were accepted, with applicants either granted asylum or exceptional leave to remain, but since 1994, the majority of applications have been refused (see table).[3]


Population size[edit]

According to the 2001 UK Census, a total of 10,671 people born in South Sudan were residing in the UK.[5] This figure is the fifteenth highest migrant population in the UK of all African nations.[5] The only OECD state with more South Sudanese-born residents is the United States.[5] A 2006 estimate by the International Organization for Migration suggests that between 10,000 and 25,000 South Sudanese are living in London, and anywhere between 3,000 and 18,000 in Brighton. Some 4,000 to 5,000 South Sudanese reside in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region, and the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh are home to just over 1,000 South Sudanese people each. There are also significant numbers of South Sudanese dispersed across the UK in cities and towns including as Dundee, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Leeds, Portsmouth, Newport, Bristol, Newcastle upon Tyne, Stoke on Trent, Leicester, Sheffield, Derby, Southampton and Nottingham.[2]

Culture and community[edit]

Numerous South Sudanese community groups and organisations have been established across the United Kingdom that cater for the country's South Sudanese community, from political organisations and trade unions to refugee organisations and other social and community groups.[2] Besides these bodies and entities, there are a number of less informal social and culture groups that have been set up by South Sudanese in the United Kingdom.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "British Sudanese defends teacher". BBC News. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sudan: Mapping exercise". London: International Organization for Migration. July 2006. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Immigration and Asylum Statistics". Home Office. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  4. ^ "Timeline: Sudan". BBC News. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 3 July 2010.