As the costs of assisting asylum seekers in Europe have risen, the UK and Germany have both attempted to manage the problem through the regional dispersal of asylum seekers. This study examines how far this form of burden-sharing has met its objectives, and what its impact has been on asylum seekers. It finds that while dispersal has had some success in redistributing the costs of receiving asylum seekers (particularly in Germany), in many cases it has also exacerbated inter-ethnic tensions and racial violence in many new receiving areas. The paper considers the reasons for the relative success or failure of the two dispersal systems in meeting these goals, and draws some general conclusions about the conditions under which dispersal can be effective and humane. In conclusion, it applies the analysis to the EU level, considering how feasible and desirable such a system would be for burden-sharing between EU states.