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.
- Ongoing advocacy
Fight the anti-refugee laws
As all candidates in the Conservative leadership election have declared their intention to continue with the Rwanda plan, it’s clear that we need as many people as possible to speak up for a different approach. Write to your MP to ask them to add their voice to the Fight The Anti-Refugee Laws pledge.
The pledge has now been signed by more than 30 MPs and over 400 organisations across the UK, and remains open to signature for organisations and individuals. Please continue to share the social media content, and if you’d like to order resources please get in touch or use the print-ready materials.
Fly With Me
A new project from the Good Chance Theatre, Fly With Me, will bring together Afghan artists in locations across the UK and Europe to present a festival of Afghan kite-flying, storytelling, music, poetry and dance to mark the one year since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban on 20 August. Good Chance Theatre, the group behind The Walk With Amal, have included the Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws pledge as the key campaign action for the project.
Stop accommodation centres
Linton Action Group have called on the next Prime Minister to drop the plans for the accommodation centre in Linton-on-Ouse and others like it, and local MP Kevin Hollinrake has shared that he asked all leadership candidates ‘whether they would review/revoke the flawed policy of large asylum reception centres in small rural villages like Linton-on-Ouse’, and all candidates have confirmed that they would.
Residents of the village have also spoken out about the impact that far right targeting has had on them, with campaigners against the centre having to take extra safety precautions.
The Birmingham Mail recently published this profile of Alomari, who was interviewed for our report In a place like prison, looking at the reality of living in hotels and demonstrating once again the harm caused by unsuitable large scale asylum accommodation.
Write to your MP using our template letter to call on them to oppose accommodation centres — it takes just two minutes! If you prefer, you can download and adapt the letter as a document from our website, where we have also shared an FAQ on accommodation centres.
Lift the Ban
Carol Monaghan MP, who has tabled a private members’ bill on right to work, has drawn attention to how the ban on working makes people seeking asylum more vulnerable to exploitation.
Meanwhile, BBC Look North broadcast an interview with Yorkshire farmer Anthony Bradley, who supports lifting the ban, in an item with Williams and Fabrice, two people seeking asylum who want to use their experience in agriculture, and our Yorkshire & Humberside Campaigns Manager Mary Brandon. Watch the full item here (6:30 minutes in) or share our clip on Twitter.
Freedom from Torture has created a petition you can sign calling on all Conservative leadership candidates to scrap the Rwanda scheme, and City of Sanctuary has suggested tweets and social media resources you can use to contact the candidates on social media.
As the plan is paused until the full legal challenge is heard in September, Care 4 Calais has a round-up on its website of the latest news about the challenge and the ways you can support the campaign.
2. Home Office and Government developments
Asylum support rates
The Home Office has launched its annual review of asylum support rates, and has asked voluntary sector organisations to contribute their views through the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum (NASF) support subgroup. Last year’s review resulted in the support rate increasing by £1.22 (or 3.1%) a week to £39.63.
We are happy to share Asylum Matters’ written submission to the review with partners for your information. If you wish to see a copy, or require any support in drafting your own response, please contact Emma Birks at [email protected]
HASC report on Channel crossings, migration and asylum
The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has published a report on Channel crossings, migration and asylum. The report finds that there is a ‘worrying trend’ of the Home Office making policy announcements before ideas have been worked through or tested, such as the Rwanda plan. It states that such policies are unlikely to tackle unsafe crossings in the Channel, and finds failings across the Home Office’s handling of asylum and migration, including the record backlog, long stays in asylum accommodation and the safety of unaccompanied children. It concludes:
‘While we agree with the Home Secretary that the asylum system is broken, we invite her to make it clear, given the long-term and growing pressures on the system, that it was not migrants crossing the Channel who broke it.’
3. Reports and research
NACCOM and Homeless Link research on homelessness
NACCOM and Homeless Link have published a new report, Unlocking the door, which outlines practical steps that local authorities can take to support non-UK nationals and ensure safe accommodation for everyone. Homeless Link shared some of the key findings in a thread and NACCOM’s Community Researchers shared their reflections in this blog.
Poverty Strategy Commission
Legatum Institute has launched a Poverty Strategy Commission to develop consensus around a strategy for tackling poverty in the UK. The Commission have published a call for evidence (deadline 31 July) to help inform the development of the strategy.
Commentary on Rwanda country policy
Asylos has published a new commentary report on the UK Government’s country policy and information notes on Rwanda, updated in May 2022. The commentary highlights key gaps, omissions and inconsistencies in the Government’s stance for use by legal practitioners.
4. Resources, events, jobs & training
NEON event on the Conservative leadership race
NEON are holding an in-person social event in London on 26 July, with a panel discussing the implications of the Conservative leadership race for progressive campaigners.
- JCORE-HIAS UK is recruiting a Chief Executive. Closing date 31 July.
- BID is recruiting two immigration lawyers/caseworker roles. Closing date 31 July.
- FLEX is recruiting a Research Manager. Closing date 1 August.
- ATLEU is recruiting an Immigration and Public Lawyer (maternity cover). Closing date 1 August.
- RAMFEL is recruiting a Coordinator for its Experts by Experience Taskforce. Closing date 1 August.
- Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network is recruiting a Campaigns and Communications Officer, Admin Assistant and Migrant Hub Coordinator. Details here.
- KRAN is recruiting a Learning and Policy Manager and Activities and Wellbeing Coordinator. Details here.
- JCWI is recruiting a Legal Director and Deputy Chief Executive (closing date 7 August), Policy and Advocacy Manager and Crossborder Forum Coordinator (closing date 10 August).
- DPIA is recruiting a Finance and Administration Officer. Closing date 22 August.
- Voices in Exile is recruiting an Immigration Caseworker. Closing date 30 August.
5. What we’ve been reading and watching
- This piece in the Birmingham Mail on the experiences of people seeking asylum living in hotels on £8.60 a week, with a quote from our West Midlands Campaigns Manager Emma
- This short film by SHADO about Comfort Angels, the football team in Liverpool supporting women seeking asylum
- Mo Farah’s heart-breaking documentary about having been trafficked to the UK as a child.