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.
Linton-on-Ouse accommodation centre scrapped
The Home Office has confirmed that the planned asylum accommodation centre on the RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse will not go ahead, after the Ministry of Defence withdrew permission for use of the site. This is a significant victory and follows months of hard work by campaigners and sustained local opposition including tireless campaigning by residents, Hambleton District Council challenging the Home Office’s plans, and lobbying by the constituency MP Kevin Hollinrake. This resulted in both final candidates for the Conservative leadership confirming that they would scrap the plan if elected.
Local residents’ campaign group Linton Action Group reacted to the news, and continued to emphasise their argument that not only was Linton-on-Ouse the ‘wrong place’ for the centre, but that this was the ‘wrong plan’ for any community, and for the people who would be warehoused in these centres.
The Home Office has stated its intention to continue to pursue accommodation centres, and identify ‘appropriate alternative sites’. We will continue to campaign with others against these plans, and call on the Government to house people seeking asylum in communities, not camps. Join us by writing to your MP, or by getting in touch with us if you’d like to be involved in the campaign.
Afghanistan and the anti-refugee laws
As yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, we were pleased to join others in signing this letter calling on the UK Government to keep its promises to Afghan refugees in the UK, and ensure that other Afghans can reach safety. Safe Passage has also launched a petition calling on the next Prime Minister to fix the and expand the resettlement schemes.
This Saturday, 20 August, Fly With Me will bring together Afghan artists in locations across the UK and Europe to mark the anniversary and encourage people to sign the pledge to Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws. Find your local event and promote the events and actions using these social media assets.
The Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws pledge 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. Write to your MP to ask them to add their voice to the pledge.
Together with Refugees has announced a Day of Action against the Rwanda scheme on 23 September, calling on the new Prime Minister to abandon the policy. They are asking local groups to join others across the country to Fill the Skies with Hope, making and sending orange heart-shaped paper planes, with their messages to the new Prime Minister. Sign up to the campaign to hear more.
Women for Refugee Women has produced four videos on the Rwanda scheme for social media for organisations to use. The videos are unbranded and open ended with a ‘take action’ prompt so organisations can link to their own specific actions against the Rwanda plan. Anyone can use the videos and they can be downloaded here.
Right to Remain has published a useful blog explaining the Rwanda legal challenges and the link between the Rwanda policy and inadmissibility. And Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has launched a new Rwanda project dedicated to challenging the immigration detention of people seeking asylum who are being held for the purposes of removal to Rwanda. Full details including how to refer to the project here.
Home Office and Government developments
Provisions in the Immigration Rules for family reunion have been expanded to include adult dependent child applicants. The Families Together Coalition have summarised the changes – and the campaigning it took to get here – in this useful thread.
Home Office compensation and legal costs
It has been revealed that the Home office paid out the highest amount in compensation and legal costs in a single year for at least a decade.
Bill of Rights and immigration
Free Movement has published an analysis of the impact of the new ‘Bill of Rights’ on immigration cases; and JCWI, FLEX, BID, Liberty, Hope for Justice and other organisations are holding a drop-in session at 2-3:15pm on Wednesday 24 August to discuss the Bill’s implications for refugees and migrants’ rights.
Reports and research
UNHCR and British Red Cross Report: ‘At risk: Exploitation and the UK asylum system’
A new joint report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the British Red Cross found that critical gaps in the UK asylum system mean people seeking safety are at risk of exploitation. It cites examples of people forced into modern slavery, including domestic servitude, sexual and labour exploitation and forced criminality. Find the recommendations here and read the full report here.
Generation Rent and Migrants Organise research on accommodation
Generation Rent and Migrants Organise are working together on a project to better understand the experiences of migrants who have lived in temporary accommodation and/or in the private rental sector. You can access and share the survey here.
Corporate Watch report on Migrant Help
Corporate Watch has published an in-depth report on the operation of the AIRE contract under Migrant Help, in the first of a series of reports examining the corporate interests behind organisations working with refugees and people seeking asylum.
Resources, events, jobs & training
Leadership programme for young refugees and asylum seekers
The Future Leaders Programme, a leadership programme run by The One to One Children’s Fund for young refugees and people seeking asylum aged between 18-27, is now open to applications. Applications for the Autumn cohort open until 31 August and the application form can be found here.
Refugee Women Connect Maternity Care Resources
Refugee Women Connect has shared new maternity care resources developed by women with experience of giving birth in the UK asylum system. The two videos, aimed at pregnant women and the professionals providing their care, are accompanied by digital resources with further information.
Safe Passage Young Leaders programme
The Safe Passage Young Leaders programme is now recruiting new members. The programme is for young people aged 16-25 from a refugee background, based anywhere in the UK, who would be keen to join other young people to make a positive change.
- GARAS is looking for a Refugee Resettlement Support Officer. Closing date 12 September.
- The Bike Project is recruiting a CEO. Closing date 21 August.
- JRS is recruiting an Accommodation Manager. Closing date 22 August.
- JCORE is recruiting two project coordinators for its JUMP befriending scheme. Closing date 22 August.
- London Migration Film Festival is recruiting a Digital Marketing Coordinator. Closing date 19 August.
- JCWI is recruiting members for its Lived Experience Advisory Board. Closing date 22 August.
JCWI has published a useful list of volunteering opportunities across the refugee and migration sector.
What we’ve been reading, watching and listening to
- This piece by Open Democracy on the impact of being stuck in hotels for months on end
- Rhidian Brook talking about the meaning of ‘Home’ in the context of seeking sanctuary on BBC Radio 4’s Thought For The Day
- A short video by the Centre for the Study of Law and Emotion at Royal Holloway, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Life Seekers Aid and Unbound on ‘Advice for asylum seekers in the UK’ by those with experience of the system