You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map

You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map

Evaluation of the Refugee and Migrant Advice Service

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has commissioned NatCen Social Research (NatCen) to evaluate the Refugee and Migrant Advice Service (RMAS).

RMAS is the second alternative to detention being piloted in the UK under the Home Office’s Community Engagement Pilot (CEP) series. NatCen also evaluated the first alternative to detention pilot, Action Access (findings published in January 2022).

What is the evaluation of Refugee and Migrant Advice Service?

The Refugee and Migrant Advice Service (RMAS) provides support and legal advice to people who do not have immigration status in the UK (and are therefore liable to be detained), to resolve their case while living in the community.

RMAS is delivered by a charity called the King’s Arms Project and is funded by the Home Office. The UNHCR have also been involved in designing the project. You can find out more information about the service here.  

UNHCR has asked NatCen Social Research to evaluate RMAS. Our research will provide information on how the programme is working, and how well it is meeting its aims.

Who are NatCen Social Research?

We are the largest independent social research organisation in the UK. We carry out research and evaluation to inform social policy. You can find out more about us at

What does the evaluation involve?

NatCen has been conducting desk-based research to understand planned RMAS activities. We are also talking to:

  • people using the Refugee and Migrant Advice Service
  • people running the service and supporting participants
  • charities and organisations working on asylum and immigration

We are now entering the final phase of our research. We are looking to interview a third cohort of people who have participated in the pilot, and obtain final reflections from stakeholders involved in or affiliated with the delivery of the service. We will invite pilot participants and stakeholders to take part in this research.

Why take part?

The research will inform the development of alternatives to detention in the UK and in other countries. By taking part in the research, you could help inform future Home Office decision-making about immigration processes in the UK.

What will taking part involve?

If you have been invited to take part in an interview, we will provide you with a written information sheet about your participation ahead of time. The interview will likely take up to one hour, and will take place via Microsoft Teams/Zoom or telephone. 

Why have I been selected to take part?

You have been invited to take part because you have either participated in the pilot or are a stakeholder involved in or affiliated with the delivery of the pilot or related support.

Is participation voluntary?

Yes, participation is completely voluntary. You do not have to take part in the interview, and you may choose to stop participating at any point without giving a reason. You can also choose not to talk about certain topics.

Whether you decide to take part in any evaluation activities or not will in no way affect you, your participation in the pilot or your immigration status/case.

How will NatCen use my information?

We will use the information we gather to write a report for the UNHCR about the pilot’s success. The report may include quotes from interviews but will not include any names or personal details.

With your permission, we will record the interviews so we have a record of what you said. Only the NatCen team will have access to the recordings – we won’t share them with King’s Arms Project or the Home Office.

For more information on how we will handle your personal information, please refer to the Privacy Notice.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the research, please email us at:

  • Privacy Notice

    In line with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), there are certain things that we need to let you, a research participant, know about how your information will be processed. 

    Read more