Waiting in the Austrian asylum system: The well-being of asylum-seeking children in a phase of liminality

Stella Wolter (Corresponding author), Rosa Tatzber, Birgit Sauer

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


This article sheds light on the waiting period experienced by asylum-seeking children in Austria. We argue that this period can be defined as a ‘phase of liminality’ in which ‘precarity’ of asylum seekers is produced. The article analyses how children experience institutional settings that produce precarity in relation to their well-being. The aim is to contribute to a sound understanding of children's experiences while waiting for an asylum decision and to a child-centred perspective on children that focuses on their needs, wishes and agency. The article draws on 27 interviews with asylum-seeking children living in a basic services accommodation in Vienna, conducted in 2020 and 2021. The findings demonstrate the importance of listening to asylum-seeking children to support their well-being during this phase of liminality and implementing child-centred asylum policies that are responsive to children's well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-819
Number of pages14
JournalChildren and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 506016 Migration policy
  • 506015 Asylum policy


  • asylum system Austria
  • asylum-seeking children
  • liminality
  • precarity
  • waiting

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