Drawing on a human security approach, this paper highlights the way the administration and governance of asylum policy in Ireland has failed to prioritise well-being through a dehumanising and oppressive approach, which has failed to prioritise the dignity, respect and inclusion of asylum seekers. It has done this through imposing state sanctioned policies of exclusion and a focus on punitive rather than protective measures in the accommodation and reception of those seeking refuge and safety in Ireland. This has presented a politically challenging environment for migrant NGOs who often find their organisations co-opted into state practices through systems of compliance and restrictive funding mechanisms that have compromised both their advocacy and political mobilisation capacity. Drawing on the Scottish and Portuguese models of integration and reception, the paper highlights how a more human-centred approach can act as a means to break down barriers to inclusion and integration and create alliances between state and non-state actors that give way to a more coherent and collective response to addressing asylum issues. In drawing attention to alternative models, the paper highlights some of the missed opportunities in the practices of migrant NGOs through the underlying premise of state political processes of control in their representation of asylum seekers. While acknowledging significant factors relating to power differentials and the disconnect that can often exists between state institutions and migrant NGOs, the paper raises questions that elucidate the need to promote more participative and collective strategies of engagement which in turn enhance the capacity of migrant NGOs to act as drivers of change in the area of asylum policy formation.