I received a BA in English Literature from Durham University in 2007 and an MA in Social Work from Liverpool John Moores University in 2013.  Between 2013 and 2015 I was employed by Cheshire West Council as a Children and Families Social Worker.  Additionally, I have worked with Chinese families in the voluntary sector.

Research and scholarship

Research project

Undocumented Young People, Illegality and Social Work

This study has two aims: to explore undocumented young people’s (16-24) experiences of “illegality” and to examine the role of professional social workers in responding to undocumented young people’s needs.  Undocumented young people’s universal rights and their rights as children are qualified by their status as “illegal” citizens in the UK.  They are unable to benefit from the state’s welfare system without the risk of triggering its immigration system.  Social work, the main profession responsible for distributing welfare services and for safeguarding children in the UK, is involved in the enactment of social policy, including immigration policy.  Therefore, social work practice with undocumented young people is subject to contradictory mandates.  The profession’s responsibility to support vulnerable groups conflicts with duties to report suspected immigration offences and to limit service provision based on migration status.  This practice conflict has received little empirical attention.  The impact on the service received by undocumented young people and the broader significance for social work practice and theory remain largely unexamined. 

This study will engage empirically with the experiences of undocumented Chinese young people.  In-depth interviews and visual methods will be used to explore undocumented Chinese young people’s experiences of “illegality” and the impact of undocumented status on social work practice with young people.  Findings will contribute to an understanding of how to improve: a) social work practice with undocumented young people and b) the UK policy framework relating to undocumented young people.

Supervisors: Professor Steven M. Shardlow, Dr Ala Sirriyeh


I currently contribute to the following modules:


  • BA1 Introduction to Social Work with Children and Families (Law, Policies and Practice)
  • BA1 Inequality and Discrimination
  • BA2 Social Work Theory and Methods
  • BA3 Social Work Research
  • BA3 Applying Social Work Knowledge and Research


  • MA1 Power and Discrimination
  • MA1 Area of Practice 1: Children and Families

Further information

I am a HCPC registered Social Worker and I completed the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment in January 2015.

Conference Papers

  • Machin, H. E. (2016a). Becoming Undocumented in the UK. Making Research a Reality, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and North West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership. Paper presented at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, UK.
  • Machin, H. E. (2016b). A review of Time in Literature Relating to Undocumented Young People. Social Science Postgraduate Symposium. Paper presented at Keele University, UK.
  • Machin, H. E. (2016c). Social Work and Undocumented Migrant Children and Young People: A Systematic Review The International Social Work and Society Academy. Paper presented at Ghent University, Belgium.
  • Machin, H. E. (2016d). Undocumented Young People, Transitions and Family Life. Postgraduate Research Forum. Paper presented at Keele University, UK.
  • Machin, H. E. (2016e). Undocumented Young People, Transitions and Family Life. Sussex Migration Graduate Conference. Paper presented at University of Sussex, UK.