Asylum Matters Advocacy Update – 8 November 2021

Advocacy Update

1. Ongoing advocacy

Anti Refugee Bill
The Committee stage of the Nationality and Borders Bill has come to an end; and following this week’s recess, the Bill will return to the floor of the House of Commons for its Third Reading. The latest version of the Bill following the Committee stage can be viewed here

Children’s charities have called on the Home Office to drop the “regressive and unethical” plans introduced into the Bill to age assess asylum seeking children through methods such as X-Rays. Members of the Refugee Children’s Consortium, including Coram, say that the provisions will remove powers from local authorities and instead grant powers to the Home Office to enact as routine harmful and ultimately ineffective measures on children. 

In her appearance before the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee, the Home Secretary said the use of hotels for asylum accommodation was acting as a “pull factor” and characterised people crossing the channel as economic migrants – a claim strongly refuted by other parliamentarians. The Home Secretary was also challenged by peers on a further range of themes, including the proposed arrangements to return ‘inadmissIble’ applicants; the creation of a discriminatory two tier asylum system; Home Office culture; arrangements for legal aid; and costs for the Government’s proposed accommodation centres. She also stated “We don’t want to see people dying at sea” and insisted that the pushback operations in the Channel would not risk lives

Yet over the past fortnight as many as six people are understood to have died attempting to cross the Channel in three separate incidents. The loss of each of these six lives was entirely preventable, and we believe the proposals within the UK Government’s anti-refugee bill will only serve to force more people into dangerous journeys and put more lives at risk 

Among the options available to register your opposition to  the Bill:

Further Bill  resources
AIUK has launched a ‘fact checker’, on eight key facts around the Anti Refugee Bill. Meanwhile, JRS and the St Vincent de Paul Society have jointly published a new resource on the key things to know about the Bill and actions to take to oppose it.   

The eyes of the world are on Glasgow and the UN climate change conference, where UK and international campaigners are calling on world leaders to take urgent action to prevent further catastrophic impacts of global warming. The New Statesman is among the media outlets to challenge the Prime Minister’s claims about uncontrolled migration on the eve of the summit. Others have provided reflection and comment on the links between climate change and the forced displacement of people, including: 

  • this from the team at IMIX offering reflections on messaging around refugees and climate, and links to further reading on the topic.  

  • Reading Refugee Support Group sent this powerful message to Alok Sharma, their local MP and COP26 President.

  • JCWI is organising a free online event from 7pm on 11 November, to bring together campaigners working on migrant, racial and climate justice. Register for ‘Climate Justice is Migrant Justice – Together we Win’ to hear more about how these themes interconnect, and how we can work together for a better world for all. 

2. Research and reports 

Labour exploitation during Covid-19
New research on the experiences of migrant workers in low-paid and insecure work during the Covid-19 pandemic has found a high risk of labour exploitation, including not being paid wages owed, and being asked to work in ways that felt dangerous. No viable alternatives: Social (in)security and the risk of labour exploitation during Covid-19 is the result of a partnership between Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and United Voices of the World (UVW). 

3. Home Office and Government developments

Call for evidence: Progress on Windrush Lessons Learned Review
Wendy Williams, the advisor to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, has returned to the Home Office 18 months on to launch a call for evidence aiming to gather insights to help assess progress in implementing the 30 recommendations in the original report. The call is open until 21 November.

4. Resources, events, jobs and training  

SMK survey
The Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) annual campaigner survey is now live. The survey seeks views from campaigners across Britain on how their organisations approach campaigning in the current context. The survey is open until 12 November and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Answers will be treated completely anonymously.

Border forum
A one day online conference on Wednesday 10 November organised by the Crossborder Forum will examine migration and the UK-France-Belgium border. For further information and to book a place see the eventbrite page.

People & Planet Resource for UK Universities

People & Planet has released a resource about how UK universities can resist the ‘duty to conduct immigration control’ as part of the hostile environment policies. The resource details what universities must do under Home Office rules, but more importantly what universities can do to defend their students and the right to education for all.


  • Asylum Matters is recruiting a Campaigns Manager for Wales. The deadline is 1 December and you can find more details here.

  • Asylos is recruiting a Programme Manager to work on Country of Origin Information. Deadline 14 November details here

  • City of Sanctuary is looking for a Website and Database Officer – part-time and home-based, deadline 15 November.

  • The Race Equality Foundation is looking for volunteer Chair of Trustees (deadline 12 Nov); and comms and fundraising volunteers. Details for all posts here.

  • Young Roots is recruiting for a number of vacancies in London – see here 

5. What we’ve been reading and viewing

  • We’ve continued to enjoy the splendid images and reports from across the UK of Little Amal’s journey, drawing to a close last week in Manchester; and a few of us in the Asylum Matters team have been fortunate enough to attend events in person. However, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown provides a sobering reality check in the i, pointing out that Amal “used irregular means to get into the UK” and what this would mean for her under the current Home Secretary. 

  • Daniel Trilling writes in The Guardian about recent examples of how countries are policing their borders, from the UK to Poland, as if in preparation for climate displacement.

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