Our fortnightly summary of ongoing advocacy initiatives, new research, government developments and useful resources. Contact us if you’d like to get this update directly into your inbox.
Stop Accommodation Centres! Online rally 26 May
Join us for an online rally at 12-1pm tomorrow Thursday 26 May to say ‘no’ to the planned facility in Linton-on-Ouse, and all accommodation centres, and stand together to ensure that the Government gets the message that there is one safe place to house people seeking safety – in communities that are equipped to welcome them. Register here. Please let us know if you would like support with your data costs to attend this event by emailing [email protected] and we can arrange to cover your costs.
Linton-on-Ouse accommodation centre
In North Yorkshire, residents of Linton-on-Ouse continue to fight Government proposals to soon place up to 1500 people in unsuitable conditions in an ex-RAF base in the village. With a concerted local campaign underway, the District Council has sought legal advice, a motion of no confidence in the Home Office’s handling of the proposal has been passed by North Yorkshire County Council, and local Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake last night secured an adjournment debate in Parliament, calling plans for the facility ‘half-baked’ and for them to be stopped.
Campaigners have continued to point out the total lack of proper consultation of local residents by the Home Office and the complete unsuitability of sites like these for people seeking safety. There has been widespread media coverage (in the Yorkshire Post, Sky News, the Times, The Guardian amongst others), protest and creative campaigning targeting the Chancellor, as well as the Home Secretary and Prime Minister.
Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws
Further updates and a new action on the pledge will be shared imminently.
You can also continue to share #AntiRefugeeLaws pledge resources, including:
draft social media posts to use or adapt;
a short video to download featuring people with lived experience of the asylum system on what the new laws mean to them;
images and quote cards supporting the pledge.
The UK Government has detained all those people it intends to transfer to Rwanda, with around 100 people seeking asylum thought to have been issued with notices of intent so far. The Guardian has profiled one of those affected, who is seeking asylum after fleeing from Sudan, who states ‘I thought the UK was a good country with a lot of humanity…I’m shocked that the Home Office is not treating me like a human being.’
Rainbow Migration is among the groups to highlight that the Government’s own recently published equality impact assessment makes clear that LGBTQI+ people who come to the UK seeking safety will be sent to Rwanda, despite the evidence it has found of ill treatment and abuse in the country.
Solidarity Knows No Borders Week of Action 13-19 June
10 years on from the launch of the Hostile Environment policy, the Solidarity Knows No Borders network are calling holding a Week of Action 13-19 June to #EndTheHostileEnvironment. They are holding an online launch rally Wednesday 25th May at 6pm where you can find out how to take part.
2. Home Office and Government developments
Nationality and Borders Act: Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules
The Home Office has made a number of changes to the Immigration Rules, including the introduction of differentiated treatment for refugees from 28th June. This useful thread from Jon Featonby at British Red Cross summarises key changes, as does this update from Free Movement.
Changes to homelessness laws
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has made changes to homelessness laws for people who arrived in the UK in the past two years and who did not have settled accommodation in the UK in the three years prior to their arrival. The changes remove the six-week limit homeless families can spend in B&B accommodation. LAs will also be able to place families out of area without taking into account disruption to employment and education and access to medical facilities or other support.
ICIBI report of inspection of contingency accommodation
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders (ICIBI) has published the report of its inspection of contingency accommodation. The Home Office has accepted all seven recommendations.
ICIBI to review Rwanda policy
The ICIBI has ordered a rapid review of the Government’s Rwanda policy, inviting tenders for a country expert to review four detailed publications on the asylum and human rights situation in Rwanda. The review is due by 8th July. Meanwhile, the Telegraph has reported that the Home Secretary is seeking an independent reviewer to cover the work of the ICIBI itself.
The seven local authorities in the West Midlands who were challenging the Government’s dispersal policy have withdrawn their legal case following the Government’s announcement of a new system of ‘assumed dispersal’, which the local authorities say has addressed their concerns.
3. Research and reports
Children’s Society scoping legal guardianship scheme in Wales
The Children’s Society is seeking to speak with organisations in Wales about the possibility of a legal guardianship scheme to be offered to all unaccompanied and separated young people in Wales, which would support young people to navigate the asylum process and help them with their day-to-day lives. If you would like to learn more about the campaign for the scheme, contact Tom Davies on [email protected]
University of Huddersfield ‘Refugee Housing Pathways’ research project
Researchers at Huddersfield Uni, as part of a larger project led by Migration Yorkshire called Refugee Integration Yorkshire & Humber, are looking into the experiences of people who claimed asylum and were granted refugee status a number of years ago. They are hoping to speak to people who received refugee status via the asylum route between approximately 1990-2010. You can read more about the research here or contact Phil Brown at [email protected] for more information. All participants will be reimbursed £20 for their time.
4. Resources, events, jobs & training
Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund
The Community Foundation Wales’ new Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund is now open to applications from groups working with people seeking sanctuary in Wales. Grants of up to £50,000 per annum for up to 3 years are available, with a focus on work providing emotional/trauma support and community support to help with developing and improving a sense of belonging. Further information on the grant and how to apply here.
Waging Peace is recruiting two new trustees, closing date 30 May.
Amna is recruiting an Executive Director. Closing date 20 June.
AVID is recruiting a Member Development Coordinator, with the role ringfenced for someone with lived experience of immigration detention or the hostile environment. Closing date 22 June.
5. What we’ve been reading
This Border Criminologies blog post analysing the UK and Rwanda Governments’ Memorandum of Understanding from the perspective of human trafficking.
This powerful blog post in the Big Issue by William Gomes who details his inspiring journey overcoming many barriers to graduate from the University of Essex.