Cardiff is the tenth largest city in the UK and the capital of Wales, with a population of 346,100 in the 2011 census. The city’s heritage as a port has led to Cardiff possessing a more ethnically diverse population than Wales as a whole, with 15.3% of residents coming from non-White ethnic groups and 13.3% of the population born outside the UK in 2011. Cardiff has seen major redevelopment since the 1990s, with the city centre and Cardiff Bay areas being regenerated and the local economy shifting towards finance and business sectors. The city is also home to the devolved National Assembly for Wales, an elected administrative assembly with the power to directly shape legislation in Wales.
Whilst Cardiff has historically been home to small numbers of asylum seekers and refugees due to its port location, these numbers increased with the implementation of dispersal following The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, leading new communities to be established in the city and a range of Refugee Community Organisations to emerge. Since initial dispersals, the total number of asylum seekers supported in Cardiff has fallen from 1,220 at the end of 2003 to 863 at the end of 2012. However, this fall has been relatively modest by comparison to other dispersal cities and has been outpaced by the fall in numbers nationally. As a result the city’s percentage share of all asylum seekers supported in the UK has risen from 1.5% at the end of 2003 to 4.3% at the end of 2012. Within this context, the Welsh National Assembly and Welsh Refugee Council have been keen to promote equal access to services for asylum seekers and refugees, with the Assembly introducing a specific Refugee Inclusion Strategy in 2008.